By Jodi Bryant
Hann Sang is no longer the new kid on the block if the constant flow of customers and full tables are anything to go by. After opening its doors before Christmas last year, it was clear from the familiarity, that many who entered the premises were repeat-diners.
Since our last visit, the staff professionalism has improved further, and we were impressed by the prompt service, despite the full house this particular Saturday night.
Looking around, the tables were occupied by a mix of families with young children, couples, work colleagues - all of various nationalities.
The extensive menu here, I find a little perplexing. But the friendly waiter helped decipher it, explaining the items and making recommendations for both popular dishes or for those who prefer a spicy taste.
Appetizers range from $7-$12, starting with the Korean traditional-styled pumpkin soup and including various salads. We opted for the deep-fried prawn skewer glazed with sweet chili sauce and the deep-fried chicken with salad.
Before we knew it, these were in front of us and presented in pristine fashion. They were not too filling and therefore serving as their name indicated: appetizers, and of the delectable variety.
Then there was a page of traditional entrees, much more filling, we were told, and priced from $12.50 with the Kimchi pancake up to $35.00 for the braised short ribs.
Then you've got your Korean table top grill menu where you choose the ingredients yourself and cook them atop your table via the traditional bbq grill plate in the centre. These meals range from the 150g pork scotch fillet and 180g sliced boneless skinless chicken at $22 each, to the 220g marinated prime steer beef short ribs at $29, and they come with a range of side dishes.
Still, we couldn't bring ourselves to cook on a rare night off and opted for one of the $19.50 hot sizzling plate items; the traditional marinated chicken with seasonal vegetables and, from the rice and noodle menu, the 'Bibimbab' - various vegetables, savoury beef, fried egg on steamed rice with chilli paste sauce and sesame oil, at $15.
When the latter arrived, the waiter explained that it can be eaten as-is or mixed together with the paste. I was rather dubious of this suggestion, but, being one of the most popular dishes, as it turned out, he knew what he was talking about; I found myself tucking into a hearty bowlful of goodness.
The marinated chicken and vegetables come with a variety of side dishes and was pleasingly tasteful. Not a morsel was left from both meals.
For dessert we ordered the mango sorbet with Kapiti ice cream – deliciously icy so probably more appreciated on a hot summer's eve; and the rice pancake with ice cream – yum! These were both $9.
If you haven't yet tried Haan Sang Korean Restaurant, you will find it tucked away up the tiny lane alongside the overhead Rust Ave railway track. With its pleasant and tasteful modern décor, and attractive outdoor seating area for the warmer season, it's worth trying the unique menu for a true Korean experience.