Sarang has revamped their menu as well as their interior decoration.
The change was inspired by a trip made by the Sarang team in December 2012 where they surveyed areas like Hongdae and Gangnam, one of the more affluent, dynamic and trendy areas of Seoul. The latter, especially, is lined with upmarket restaurants, alfresco bistros and cafes that portray a welcoming ambience that is calming, relaxing and ideal. Due to the this up and rising trend of contemporary bistros in Korea, Sarang has transformed themselves into a trendy Korean bistro, and is actually introduces the first Korean Tapas concept to Singapore.
Stepping away from your typical Korean BBQ, Sarang aims to dish out a more updated concept on authentic Korean food. Additionally, only at Sarang can you find Korean cocktails (for example, Lemon Soju or Makgeolli Mojito, which are made up of two of Korea’s famous alcohols – Soju and Makgeolli), which are aptly pair with Sarang’s tapas menu – both classic and modern.
The Executive Chef, Jung Yun Yur (better known as Chef YY), has been working in Singapore for the past 4 and a half years. With experience working in big kitchens like that of Lotte Hotel in Seoul as well as inspirations from Japanese and Western cultures, Chef YY fully conceptualized the new menu while keeping classic favourites such as the Army Stew and Oxtail Soup. Contemporary options, like tapas and cocktails, have been adjusted to suit the Singaporean palate and are created to reflect modern taste buds while still retaining the traditional elements.
SG K-Wave was fortunate enough to have been invited to one of the food tasting sessions where we managed to sample a number of their dishes.
For the starters, we were given a cucumber soda, which was a refreshing and cooling non-alcoholic drink.
This was followed by 4 Classic Tapas.
1. Sarang Japchae
The noodles were delightfully light and chewy. Definitely a must try for all japchae-fans out there. An interesting note about the Sarang Japchae is that instead of the normal cooking method of boiling the noodles and then cooking them with the other typical Japchae ingredients, Chef YY has cooked them altogether, to infuse more flavours into the noodles and make it a more flavorful dish all around.
2. Folded Egg
With the expertise needed to make your traditional folded egg, Chef YY takes it one step further and puts a Japanese spin on this dish. Egg roe on top of the folded egg and some tomato ketchup, yum!
3. Kimchi Pancake
Definitely a modern spin on this very traditional Korean dish, with great presentation! But not to worry, the classic Korean flavours are definitely retained.
4. Spicy Chewy Rice Cake
With an enjoyable amount of spice (warning to those who can’t take spiciness well though), the correct amount of chewiness and your fish cake in there as well, this dish is definitely a great representation of typical Korean street food served in a trendy manner.
These classic tapas were paired with 2 alcoholic drinks.
1. Soju Bomb
As you can see, there are markings on the glass. This drink simply compromises of a bit of soju and the rest of the glass is filled with beer. Definitely not for the faint hearted but an interesting take especially for beer lovers out there.
2. Makgeolli Sprite
This paired really well with the whole set of classic tapas! It wasn’t too strong but still had that fizz that we all love from the Sprite.
Next up, we tried 5 Modern Tapas.
1. Ginseng Chicken Terrine
This terrine is made up of spring chicken, dates, ginseng, garlic and ginseng broth. The taste of your traditional Ginseng Chicken Soup packed into one terrine! Definitely a very interesting dish!
2. Okonomiyaki-Style Scallion Pancake
For those who love takoyaki balls, this Scallion Pancake (also filled with seafood and bacon) which originates from a Korean recipe, is topped with the toppings you can find on your normal takoyaki balls (teriyaki sauce, mayonnaise and fish flakes).
3. Crispy Tofu with Kimchi Cream Sauce
Another Japanese inspired dish, this is quite like an agedashi tofu but the sauce is made up of Kimchi and cream! The sauce is still kept light and is fantastic when paired with the tofu.
4. Sarang Nachos
To be honest, I was quite hesitant about this dish at first, because what’s so great about nachos right? Wrong! This dish is said to be one of the favourites at Sarang and I can definitely see why after having tried it. With a more Mexican touch on this dish, homemade bulgogi sauce is used to keep it to its Korean roots.
5. Spoon Pizza
The story behind this interesting and unique dish is that Chef YY actually realized that most people, especially women, tended not to eat the bread of the pizza, and instead just picked the toppings of the pizza. Hence, the creation of this spoon pizza arose. With just a very thin layer of bread, it is essentially the toppings of pizza (such as mozzarella cheese and chicken) in a pot.
These modern tapas were paired with 2 more alcoholic drinks.
1. Makgeolli Mojito
This was definitely my favourite cocktail of those that I was given to try. As its name describes, it is your typical mojito you find at bars but with a Korean twist by adding in Makgeolli.
2. Lemon Soju
This was another favourite. With a very refreshing taste due to the lemon in it, this cocktail went great with the modern tapas due to their heavy flavours. A sip of this and you feel cool and your palate is ready for more!
Then came the mains!
1. Sarang Meat Lover’s Platter
Attention all meat lovers, this meat packed dish is calling out your name! With a ribeye steak topped with that Kimchi Cream sauce previously mentioned in the modern tapas, youzu chicken and wine marinated pork belly, you are sure to be left satisfied.
2. BBBB (Big Bang Bulgogi Burger)
No, this dish has nothing to do with the boy group Big Bang, but has everything to do with a modernized bulgogi burger. For those who are craving burgers and Korean food at the same time, this is definitely for you!
These were accompanied by a kiwi soju and red wine. As we all know, red wine is famous for going well with meats, especially steaks, and the kiwi soju had a more fruity flavour and went well with the hearty mains.
To end of the scrumptious tasting session, was dessert! It came in the form of a famous Korean street snack, Hotteok, which was served with ice cream. With the warm homemade cinnamon sugar filling inside the flour, paired with the cold ice cream, it was heaven in a bite!
Overall, good food coupled with good ambience, I would say it was a very pleasant experience dining at Sarang! And for all who are looking for reasonably priced Korean food, it is definitely a place to check out! If you’re interested, head down to Orchard Central #07-01. (Take note that not everything on the menu has been mentioned in our article.)
We would like to once again thank Sarang, SPRG and Gusttimo World for inviting us for this tasting session.