Photos by Florence of Make Your Calories Count
THERE SEEMS to be no lack of F&B ideas budding up in Singapore and I'm excited that the two Singaporean aficionados of Korean culture and food, Jamie and Kristin Lim created this three-month old brand new makgeolli bar and restaurant concept in Singapore.
Joo Bar is a new after-work-chill-out place located not too far from the CBD area, along Tan Quee Lan Street right opposite Bugis Junction. Translated to 'alcohol' in Korean, it is a three-storey shophouse set to bring us creative drinks complementing with top notch modern Korean bites in a sleek and casual dining setting.
There's a smoking area outside the washroom on second floor facing a wall of green and behind is a wall with hand-painted illustrations of Korean drinking culture.
I figured out that Koreans can never fill their own glasses in Korean drama, but I never noticed that there are a lot more etiquettes that they have to follow. Thanks to the thoughtful owners, now we know what to do whilst drinking with our Korean friends or at a Korean bar!
Joo distinguishes itself by being the first in Singapore to house-brew Korean rice wine and serve it on tap. Known as Makgeolli, the cloudy and light-bodied alcoholic beverage is 6-8% alcohol by volume (ABV) and best served cold.
The owners are particular in making preservative-free makgeolli with organic rice and purified water, which fermentation and filtering process usually take two to three weeks.
Newbies who have yet to try their flavoured creations can order a sampler which showcases the home brew and four in-house selections blended with varied ingredients such as yucha/citron, peach, strawberry and lychee.
Of all five options, the sweet, tangy yucha was my favourite and on my next visit, I know just what I would order!
Those looking for a more traditional taste can try Bar's range of soju (distilled Korean rice wine) tipples such as the above soju mojitos made with fresh lime juice and grapes.
At 16.6% to 45% ABV, Soju contains relatively higher alcohol content compared to makgeolli. I loved both flavours as they tasted refreshing, and had clearer aftertaste than the milky makgeolli.
A fun and gimmicky alternative is this big glass of frozen soju-yucha-Cointreau-lemon-juice mix with an overturned 330ml Hite beer. The frozen mix was luscious, refreshing and went perfectly well with the delicate beer, sharing amongst your friends could create bonding as well.
Customers can be assured of authentic flavours from the quality food options, as the kitchen is helmed by Head Chef Kim Chang Heon who is the second Korean graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and proficient in both Korean and Western styles of cooking.
I'm more of a fan of Korean drama rather than Korean cuisine but this would be a great experience to explore his contemporary Korean delicacies with emphasis on home-made ingredients.