Just a few months ago I made my biggest expenditure yet by purchasing my very first townhouse at Yonge and Sheppard, and within this time I have been trying to explore my new neighbourhood looking into the local grub and restaurants I have easy access to now. When Han Ba Tang contacted me just a couple of months after I purchased my first home, I was not only excited that I was going to be able to try some Korean fusion tapas but also that it is literally a 10 minute walk away from my new home! The timing was perfect for this blogger media preview and it was a sign of great things to come.
In Korean, Han Ba Tang means “one full round.“ Whether it’s one full round of beer or one full round of laughter, Han Ba Tang is sure to provide the guest with one full round of fun and unique food. They pride themselves on serving modern tapas style food but using traditional Korean ingredients. For instance, have you ever ordered pizza before at a Korean restaurant? Or how about cheese fondue? No? How about squid ink pasta? If you are already intrigued by this please keep on reading because that is exactly what Han Ba Tang offers on their new menu. This is not your average Korean restaurant.
With its concept of old meets new, the Han Ban Tang interior has preserved a bit of history by keeping the original interior design from before World War II. From the bare exposed brick walls to the chalk boards that change on a monthly basis and the worn tiled floors, the owner wanted to keep the rustic yet industrial feel of the restaurant from the old times yet still create a new warm and welcoming environment for the new generation.
I could tell that a lot of time and work had gone to prepare for this event. My friend and I were immediately greeted at the door when we arrived and taken to our table that was reserved specifically for "The Everyday Foodie,” sign and all! The one thing I did not know what to expect was the food itself as we were not told beforehand the dishes we would be previewing. I fully expected to only preview a few samples of some of the dishes Han Ba Tang offered, but to my pleasant surprise a menu consisting of 10 full size dishes were being cooked in the kitchen for just our two hungry stomachs. Fortunately I came prepared by eating a small lunch beforehand.
Below begins the Korean feast from start to finish, 10 dishes in all!
Sweet Potato Chips
Sweet Potato Fries served with Wasabi Mayo
Lightly battered Shrimp, dipped in Sweet Chilli sauce
Kalbi Tacos & Spicy Pork Tacos
Grilled Kalbi or Spicy Pork on a bed of Shredded Cabbage with Red Onions and a light House Aoli
Kimchi Fries with Bulgogi
Extra Crispy Fries topped with Kimchi, Aioli Gravy, Sizzling Bulgogi & Green Onions
Steamed Lobster with a House Sauce
Black Squid Ink Pasta
Squid Ink Pasta, Mussels with a house made Gochujang Cream Sauce topped with Korean Beef Cake, Ricotta Cheese
Spicy Chicken with Fondue
Grilled Chicken in a sizzling plate with a mix of Rice Cakes, Onions, Carrots, with a side of Creamy Cheese Fondue
Mashed Sweet Potato Crust with Vegetables, Tomato Sauce topped with Cheese, and Bacon or Kimchi
Spicy Seafood Soup
Shrimp, Mussels, Crab with Korean Ramyun
Dried Korean Persimmon
Lightly battered and deep fried with a house made Cinnamon Whipped Cream
With so much food, Han Ba Tang was even nice enough to doggy bag anything that was left over for me to take back home. For anyone who will be coming to Han Ba Tang in the future, out of the 10 dishes I tried my favourites and the ones I would definitely recommend to get would be the Sweet Potato Chips, Kimchi Fries with Bulgogi, Black Squid Ink Pasta, and the Spoon Pizza (definitely get the Spoon Pizza).
Not only does Han Ba Tang put all their love into making their Korean tapas, they also serve a wide variety of cocktails. The waitress recommended me their “Live to 1000” cocktail and my friend got the Sona Colada. Both were very refreshing and they both had a Korean twist with the added Soju in the mix.
Live to 1000 - Ginseng Soju, Honey, Hennessy
Sona Colada - Pineapple Soju, Rum, Coconut Liqueur, Pineapple Juice
As if this alcohol wasn’t enough during our tasting, Han Ba Tang also provided us with their “Flights” which are shots of their Infused Soju that comes in a variety of flavours. We got to try 4 of them pictured below (Strawberry, Apple Cinnamon, Pineapple, Citrus).
I was so impressed with the event that Han Ba Tang put together and as I said before you really could tell how much time and effort the team worked at this to make it run as smoothly as it did. We were introduced to the entire staff from the front of the house to the cooks in the kitchen who worked tirelessly throughout the night to feed us all. The owner and manager both spent some time during the event to explain their journey to open up this new restaurant just this past fall and as most people in Toronto know, competition for Korean restaurants is monstrous in this area of Yonge and Sheppard all the way up to Finch. If the food and service maintains at this high level from what I experienced through this preview though, I am confident that Han Ba Tang will stand out from the crowd. If you are ever in the mood for some Korean food or just in the area I strongly recommend you to come try this restaurant out! Did I mention the Spoon Pizza?