Joo Bar: NEW Dinner Menu || not your average Korean food.

The last time I dined in at Joo Bar, I was smitten (read here); this time, the wild promises of mangalitsa pork and other delightful Korean inspired bar snacks that I couldn't even begin to fathom, made my return such an easy decision to make. 

There's a lot going on at Joo Bar, push your way past the pint-lifting crowd in the front of the shop and make your way upstairs to the more convivial dining room or perhaps the secret dining booth at the back of the first floor where you'll admittedly receive better service due to the closer proximity to both the kitchen and the bar! Here at Joo Bar, it's a curious mishmash of upscale and casual decor, in the food, which meanders between being wildly inventive and somewhat confusing at certain junctures. 
We begin with the Seafood Ceviche and Tofu Chips ($20); be prepared to be wooed before taking your first bite; the chilled glass parading over crushed ice contains a medley of shrimp, black mussel, clam and squid mixed in with lime, crushed pepper and kimchi jus. The overall concoction tasting mildly similar to a pimped up bloody mary of sorts; perfectly cooked seafood adding to the pageantry of the experience.

The Tuna Tartare ($18) is a hexagonal mix of fresh tuna chunks, cucumber, horseradish, lime, cilantro, onion and chilli over smashed avocado. It's shape, a clever anecdote to the brand representation of Joo Bar. Dig into the hearty composition with the accompanying shards of fried tortilla shells to get a true release of flavors. Another excellent dish is the Sizzling Mushroom Trio ($15); Enoki, shitake and king oysters mushrooms are tossed in a homemade garlic butter and served in a hot stone pot which imbues a slight char to the exterior of the fungi. It's inherent potent flavors crucial in standing up to the more domineering aromas presented in the other dishes later.

Get your mouth busy with the Honey Butter Chick ($18) and the spicier rendition, the Dak Kang Jung ($18). The former is a veritable garden in the mouth, the honey butter glazed chicken tenders enraptured in this sticky coating; the miraculous presence of deep fried rice cakes in the mix adding textural contrast to the dish. If you're not a sucker for sweet, then turn your attention instead to the Dak Kang Jung, a friskier version spiced up with gochujang. It's flavor profile similar to most Korean fried chicken seasoning you've had before.

The playful dish, Kimchi and Mushroom Roulade ($16) demonstrates a certain ambitious compulsion to blend and fuse. The neat rolls of chicken breast containing a homemade kimchi and shitake mushrooms blend and surrounded by a moat of thick tomato confit certainly resembles a typical medieval Italian dish. But in Korean retrospect thats dae bak i ya (awesome). I too, was pleasantly surprised by the amalgamation of flavors, its hearty flavors denying the presence of chicken breast in the winning formula. 

On a separate note, festive season calls for some special concoctions and we've got Frosty's Kiss ($22) pounding on our doors with its alleged romanticism of creme de cacao, peppermint and showers of shaved chocolate in a martini glass. Great for those who have a love affair with after-8s. I loathe the confectionery, hence, have a much stronger affiliation for the Apple Pie cocktail ($18), a bubbly booze mix of apple, cinnamon, soju and prosecco served with vanilla ice cream on the side. 

The substantials arrive in true show and tell fashion, Seafood Rapokki ($22) in a smoking hot claypot covered with a layer of caramelised mozzarella cheese. Dive in and you'll find a tangle of ramyeon, toppokki, shrimp, clam, black mussel and squid. Not my favourite given its rather weird proportion of ingredients thrown into the mix; the attempt looking a little haphazard on the kitchen's part. All faith was restored with the Kimchi Cheese Dog ($14) which vanished a little too quickly. Joo Bar's infamous mangalitsa pork belly makes a debut here with its handchopped mangalitsa pork sausages, honey soy marinade, kimchi wagyu chilli and melted mozzarella in a brioche bun. The sausages, melting almost instantly in the mouth. If nothing else, brave the crowds of rowdy drinkers for this, the definite standout to the new additions on the dinner menu. Then of course there's the Bangers and Mash ($24), the rather orthodox pub grub item with a twist. Here, those delicious mangalitsa pork sausages makes a final curtain call, backed by a choir of mashed potatoes with chopped kimchi as background sirens. I can't say I'm in love.

Joo Bar
5 Tan Quee Lan Street

Operating Hours:
Daily: 5 30pm - 12am

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