Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Meal in Brief: Hansik 한식

We came here because we were in the vicinity of Victoria Park Market, and Hansik was the newest kid on the block. Also, despite the beautiful brickwork and classy decor (betrayed by the hand-written blackboard sign at the entrance announcing "Oriental food & drinks"), the prices looked reasonable.

Sign for Hansik at entrance.

The menu was large, with the usual Korean dishes like bibimbap and soft tofu spicy soup (both $18), as well as more fusion offerings like kimchi tacos and salmon tartar (both $15).

The menu had embossed Korean writing on the cover.

The setting was cool and spacious, with exposed brick walls and a smooth concrete floor, as you may remember from the days when this was the Caribbean restaurant Atico Cocina. It still has the large bar area in the middle of the room, but with some more Korean decorations scattered around. From the balcony, you can see the works above the Victoria Park Market carpark, where they are building apartments.

The service was friendly but a bit uncertain, as you might expect from a restaurant that is only two weeks old. A waitress (wearing a badge of "Trainee") tried to tell us which dishes could be made vegetarian, but wasn't too sure. She checked that the vegetarian could eat egg though. When we had food left over, they packed it for us in the kitchen, with some expensive-looking dark-coloured bamboo disposable chopsticks. The music was non-existent, then suddenly too loud (and not really fitting with the venue).

What we ate included:
  • Complimentary side dishes, or banchan (반찬) - this included japchae (잡채, glass noodles stir-fried in sesame oil with vegetables), two types of kimchi (one with Chinese cabbage and one with daikon), a Korean potato salad (감자샐러드) with apple and mayonnaise, and marinated boiled eggs called jangjolim (장조림). All were delicious.
Complimentary side dishes.
  • Hansik's 17 herbs and spices beef spare ribs ($18) - this was served with a side of rice (cooked with potato and sprinkled with black sesame seeds), and was hot and flavourful. We wondered whether the raw onions and spring onions at the bottom of the dish were supposed to keep cooking, but liked it anyway.
Hansik's 17 herbs and spices beef spare ribs.
  • Spicy pork kimchi tacos ($15) - we didn't know what to expect with this, but it was indeed tacos, with soft tortillas topped with a mix of vegetables and segments of boiled eggs in addition to the meat. We didn't see any kimchi, so it must have been mixed into the sauce. Not a combination we are used to, but it worked.
Spicy pork kimchi tacos.
  •  Kimchi fried rice ($15) - the vegetarian asked for this without bacon, and it came served with an omelette instead, which was still moist on the inside. The fried rice itself was cooked with various pickled vegetables, which made it taste fragrant and quite different from the kimchi in the side dishes.
Kimchi fried rice.

Overall, we greatly enjoyed our lunch at Hansik. The food was beautifully presented, fresh and vibrant, skilfully cooked, and filling (despite looking like small portions on the large plates, there was a reasonable amount of food, not to mention the side dishes). We would be keen to return to try more from their varied menu!

Restaurant Details

19 Drake Street, Auckland Central
(09) 930 0055

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