Joo is a new makegeolli bar and restaurant setting a whole new trend in Singapore food and beverage scene with inspiring modern Korean fare and tipples. Joo which means alcohol in Korean, is located in a three storey heritage shophouses along Tan Quee Lan Street, spotting a sleek, casual and inviting venue.
Hong Dae Tripping 4/5
Makegeolli cocktail could be the next trendsetting drinks using the oldest alcoholic beverage native to Korea. I had the Hong Dae Tripping ($24) which is made from Joo's house brew organic makegeolli (also known as Joo Brew). The cocktail is a mixture of Joo Brew, Grey Goose, Apricot Brandy, Cherry Blossom, Lemon and Rosemary. A light, refreshing and zesty drink.
A trio of Korean banchan welcomes diners as being our diner experience at Joo.
Tofu Chips with Guacamole & Kimchi Salsa 4.2/5
Kick starting the evening we started with the Anju which is similar to bar food that goes well with alcohol. First is the Tofu Chips with Guacamole & Kimchi Salsa ($14). The house made tofu chips is so what like the nachos. I preferred the kimchi salsa but both is as well. It's really addictive and I could not stop going back for more.
Baby Eel Paper 3/5
The Deep Fried Baby Eel Paper ($14) imported from Korean is an interesting snack bite but I don't quite know how to appreciate it.
Warm Kimchi with Tofu & Spam 4.5/5
Many bars have introduced spam fries as a trend for bar snack however I find it too salty to have it on its own. The Warm Kimchi with Tofu & Spam ($16) was an excellent idea to pair house made kimichi, mangalitsa pork belly, tofu, onion and scallion with the luncheon meat. It may sounds complex but the flavours actually work harmoniously.
Makgeolli Sampler 4/5
Being a makegeolli specialized bar and restaurant, I am sure it can be a bit overwhelming with the different selections not knowing where to start with. Worry not as Joo offers a Makgeolli Sampler ($35 for 5). Among the samplers, my favourite is the Yuzu infused makegeolli which is sweet and easy to drink.
Kimchi Chicken Pot Pie 4/5
A nice twist is the Kimchi Chicken Pot Pie ($14) covered by a golden flaky pastry dome. Inside it is a rosy kimchi bechamel gravy studded with chicken tenderloin, celery, carrot, mushrooms, onion and corn. The additional of kimchi gave it good lift in flavour from the somewhat boring traditional taste.
Joo Bossam 4.5/5
Joo uses Mangalitsa for it's pork dishes which is a domestic breed developed in the 19th century by cross breeding the traditional Hungarian Bakonyi an Szalontal breeds with imported Sumadia pigs from Serbia. I thought the Joo Bossam ($28) showcases the sweetness the flavour of the mangalitsa pork belly excellent. Take a piece of the boiled mangalitsa pork belly, white yucha kimchi and a bit of the spicy radish salad and eat it all together.
Slow Roasted Mangalitsa Pork Belly 4.2/5
Another version showcasing the mangalitsa pork is the Slow Roasted Mangalitsa Pork Belly ($32). The thick cut mangalitsa pork belly is eaten together with spring onion salad and Dijon mustard. Have a bit of everything together to get a nice concoction of flavours in the mouth.
Hand Chopped Korean Minced Rib Steak 4.2/5
Beautifully marinated, the Hand Chopped Korean Minced Rib Steak ($20) literally melted in the mouth. Topped with garlic flakes, chopped nuts and spring onions to give it another layer of texture and flavour, lifting the whole enjoyment.
Perfect for chilling out with friends is the Sojurita ($28) which a good for 2 to 4 pax. The easy to drink alcohol, making up of soju and beer will be tough to just stop at one.
Seafood Gochujang Risotto 4.5/5
Last but not least, if you need something substantial then a must try is the Seaffod Gochujang Risotto ($24). The red pepper paste cream sauce risotto comes with an Asian influenced flavour served with shrimp, black mussel, clam and squid. Korean can cook their risotto too!
I left Joo Bar and Restaurant having a better appreciation of makegeolli, especially their preservative free makegeolli with organic rice and purified water which is brew in Singapore locally. The modern take of Korean fare also impressed me a lot. It modernizes the way we appreciate classic Korean cuisine while retaining the traditional flavours.
Joo Bar and Restaurant
5 Tan Quee Lan Street
Tel: +65 81381628
Nearest MRT: Bugis (DT Line, EW Line)
Daily: 530pm - 12midnight
1) Alight at Bugis MRT station. Take Exit D. Walk straight to Tan Quee Lan Street. Turn left and walk to destination. [Map]