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Monday, February 16, 2015

Joo Bar - Makgeolli and All Things Korean

Joo, which opened in the Bugis area late last year. Is conveniently located within a stones throw from the Bugis MRT exit of the Downtown Line. Aside from being the ONLY bar in Singapore that brews its own Makgeolli*, it also offers a full menu of food that is a mix of Korean and Western cooking styles.

* Makgeolli is a popular alcoholic beverage in Korea made from fermented grain - usually rice or wheat.

We arrived at Joo on a Friday evening at around 645PM. To our amazement, the dining seats were fully booked and we had to settle for a seat at the counters.

The interior was decorated mainly in black, white with wooden furnishing. Although some parts of the bar looked raw and edgy, there was certainly some artistic flair in its design. Bag hooks were conveniently located underneath each bench for the ladies - this is a nice touch for those seated at the counters. With remixed K-Pop beats playing in the background, you can be forgiven for wondering if you have just entered a swanky pub in Gangnam Seoul.

Banchan Appetiser


A trio of fried anchovies, Macaroni & Cheese, and pickled radish.



Organic Home Brewed Makgeolli (Small) ($10*) 


*(Daily Happy Hour Special) from 5:30 - 7:30PM.

Joo, prides itself with its home brewed Makgeolli. Our order of Makgeolli had a hint of sweetness and tasted mildly tart. It was lightly chilled and refreshing to the palette - especially when paired with the heavier tasting stew and pork belly.

We only wished they provided a stirrer to mix the drink, as after a while, the mixture start to settle. This could be overcome by the improvised use of the chopsticks.  

Home Brewed Makgeolli
Home Brewed!

Truffle Fries ($14)


We weren't blown away by the Truffle Fries. Although it was nicely salted with a generous amount of Parmesan shavings, it lacked the oomph - We were expecting a little more of the Truffle infusion.

Our recommendation is to skip these for the Korean dishes!.

Truffle Fries
A Whole Lot of Fries

Beef Bean Paste Stew ($20) 


Bean Paste Stews are one of my favourite Korean dishes ! Perfectly salted, with a generous amount of Spring Onions, Zucchini and Radish, Joo Bar's rendition is one of the best comfort food after a long day's work.

Soybean Paste Beef Stew
Soya Bean Paste Stew


Slow Roasted Mangalitsa Pork Belly ($32)


Aside from their Makgeolli, the Mangalitsa (Hungarian) Pork is another one of their highly recommended items. These slow roasted slices of heaven, garnished with sides of spring onions and Dijon Mustard are simply irresistible. As a result of the slow roasting, the meat is succulent and the fat from each slice readily melts in your mouth! 

I would gladly put my diet plans on hold again - just for this dish.


Slow Roasted Mangalitsa Pork Belly
The Highlight!

Due to the low light environment, the pictures i took with my iPhone simply does not do this place justice ! If you enjoy a nice chill-out place with excellent food, great ambience and authentic korean Makgeolli, Joo Bar is indeed the place to go.

Our recommendations are to skip the regular cafe (E.g: Fries) dishes and go straight for the fusion korean dishes. You wont be disappointed !

Do make a reservation to avoid disappointments, especially on the Weekends (Fri-Sat).


Update:
I was surprised to learn that owners were the same people behind Sticky and E!ght Korean BBQ. It has to be something special about these entrepreneurs that make seem to make everything they touch turn to gold!

Nearest MRT (Bugis - Downtown Line)