Rating: ★★★★☆

Address: 18/F, The L. Place, 139 Queen’s Road, Central 中環皇后大道中139號The L. Place 18 樓

Telephone: 2412 0002

http://www.jangrestaurant.com/#xhome

雖然中環有數之不盡的餐廳,但不知為甚麼就是沒有韓國餐廳。幸好,最近在 L Place開了一家叫 Jang的高級韓國餐廳,而且不供應韓式燒烤,所以不怕吃完身上會有燒烤味。

When I was studying in the UK and the weather became mercilessly cold, my friends and I would always go for a Korean meal and then we would feel much better. Even though temperatures in Hong Kong are much less harsh than in the UK, my tendency to find comfort in Korean food in winter has not changed. There are numerous restaurants in Central, but for some reason the choices for Korean food in the area are very limited (you will find many more Korean restaurants in, for example, Causeway Bay or Tsim Sha Tsui). Therefore, I was very glad when Jang, a new Korean restaurant in L Place, opened, as it meant that I could get my Korean fix during the week and wouldn’t have to wait till the weekend!

Jang is the first Korean restaurant in Hong Kong that aims to serve high quality, modern Korean cuisine. The restaurant owners believe that Korean food in Hong Kong has become synonymous with Korean barbecue, and want to change our impression of Korean cuisine by offering fine Korean food, without the barbecue and the smell. The interior of Jang is simple but sophisticated, and even though I have not been to Jang for dinner yet, the lunch menu is extensive, with over 20 items to choose from. Set lunch ranges from $128 to $208 – prices are perhaps not as cheap as other Korean restaurants in town, but taking into account Jang’s high quality ingredients, they are completely justified. There is also a Mad Monday discount, when you can get 1 set lunch free for every 3 set lunches you order.

We started off with some Korean side dishes (“Banchan”), including kimchi and some marinated gourd and eggplants. I particularly adored the gourd, which has retained a nice crunch and was marinated in a slightly sweet sauce. The marinated eggplant was a tad oily, but it was tangy and delicious.

(1) Even though I wasn’t too hungry at lunch, I decided to order the JANG Special Set A ($208), which comprised of a salad, braised short-ribs, a bowl of rice and a soup. I normally don’t eat much salad in winter as they are not substantial enough to keep me full, but the Pan-fried Scallop, Prawn and Pear with Bean Paste Salad was surprisingly filling and satisfying. The prawns were semi-transparent and bouncy, and the scallops were tender and were definitely not overcooked. There was a perfect amount of salad leaves to go with the seafood and the whole dish was very balanced.

The sweet soy sauce in the Braised Short-Rib in Sweet Soy Sauce was sweet and alluring, and the short ribs were decadently tender and smooth. The thick metal bowl kept the food hot for a long time, and this dish was great to go with the rice. Besides the rice, each set lunch also came with a bowl of soup. The vegetable soup was light and healthy, with lots of chopped vegetables in it.

(2) The Sizzling Beef Stone Pot Rice ($148) is many people’s favourite, and I could not leave Jang without trying out this classic dish! The stone pot rice was indeed “sizzling” in the stone bowl (which unfortunately fogged up my camera when I tried to take a photo!) The beef and the vegetables were fresh and gave a beautiful melange of colours, and the rice lining the bowl became crispy thanks to the high temperature of the pot.

(3) Next, we tried the Boneless BBQ Galbi ($148), which was pork marinated in a sweet, thick sauce. “Galbi” usually refers to grilled Korean dishes, and the pork in this dish was juicy and delicious! I happened to have eaten a piece of pork which had a lot of fat and not much meat in it, but in general I still considered the meats at Jang to be fresh and prime.

(4) The Korean bulgogi Hotpot ($148) followed, and this was yet another comforting winter dish. The vermicelli was springy and scrumptious, having soaked up the flavoursome soup in the bowl, and the meats, eggs and onions added a variety of tastes to this hotpot.

(5) Having tried their beef and pork, it was time that we tried their chicken too. We ordered a portion of the Grilled Spicy Chicken ($148), and it was really tasty. The chicken had a gorgeous flavour and a firm, chewy texture. The sauce was spicy, but not so spicy that it would burn, and the hint of sweetness in the sauce made it really moreish.

 

(6) Our last course was the Grilled Barbecue Pork ($148). I really liked how the pork was sliced thinly so it was very easy to eat, and the marinade was sweet and light.

 

Each of us got a Daily dessert for our set lunch, and it was a taro mochi ice cream. The sticky, glutinous mochi had a fragrant taro ice cream filling, and it was topped with some whipped cream and red beans. It was a lovely dessert to end an enjoyable meal.

It was cute how the bill at Jang came in a little pouch, but the downside of it was that everyone thought it was a present for us when it turned out just to be the bill!

Conclusion: The food at Jang was refined and delicious, and I support the fact that it doesn’t offer Korean barbecue, as there are too many other Korean restaurants in Hong Kong that offer it anyway. However, one thing to note is that even though the restaurant technically should not smell of barbecue, as most of the food was served in metal bowls or on metal plates, I still came out of the restaurant smelling a tiny bit of barbecued meats (or maybe I was just being paranoid!) That said, when you think about the fantastic food that Jang has to offer, who cares about the smell?