A hip Korean restaurant in Ari.
Just around the corner from our favorite seafood truck, Summer Street, is Ari's newest Korean restaurant, courtesy of former flight attendant and chef Kay Cho. He and his younger brother, Junhee Cho, began their cooking careers back in Sydney and have now set up shop permanently in Bangkok.
Inside the small six-table venue they have you barbecuing your own beef on hot stones brought all the way from Busan (B350). There's also bulgogi (B280), kimchi bap with cheese (B250), dak glabi (stir-fried chicken with cheese, B250) and dolsot bibim bap (six vegetables, beef, egg and rice, B200), each of which are served with kimchi, bean sprouts and Chinese cabbage that the brothers prepare fresh every morning.
There's a pretty funky drinks menu, too, which includes hongcho (concentrated vinegar and pommegranate said to reduce headaches, stop hangovers and increase beauty) which can be had with water (B60) or a soju shot (B50), as well as melona ju (soju, mineral water and melon ice cream that you mix yourself)—surprisingly delicious.
With red bean bingsu and yogurt soju on the way, we know where we'll be eating in Ari for the next few months.
Ari used to have only one Korean kitchen, Kimchi Hour, which is tucked deep in Rama 6 Soi 30. Now two other home-style eateries, Joha and Annyeong, have joined it.
Opened mid 2016, the compact Joha sits in a glass box that can only serve about 20 diners at once, which can cause lengthy queues. Drop by on a Saturday evening and chances are you’ll have to wait for over an hour.
The prerequisite Korean oppa is there, cooking alongside another Thai chef in an open kitchen, where they prepare a small menu of roughly 20 items. Despite there being just two chefs, they manage to send food out so fast you barely spend more time eating than waiting to be seated.
Classics like tteokpokki (stir-fried rice cake and fish cake, B180) and kimchi soup (B220) don’t particularly stand out, but there’s no denying the pleasure of their flavorful kimchi fried rice (B250), served on a skillet surrounded by a ring of melted cheese. The healthier bibimbap (mixed rice, B200) served in a hot bowl is no less tasty thanks to a similar gochujang seasoning.
The tender chicken thigh pieces in the dakgalbi (B250) come soaked in a full-flavor hot, peppery sauce and smothered in melted cheese while the impressive bulgogi (stir-fried marinated beef, B280) features the perfect balance of salty and sweet flavors. We also like the boiled gyoza (B120), in which the perfectly-cooked wraps encase a simple pork filling. You won’t find any Korean fried chicken here, though.
While Kimchi Hour is more pocket-friendly (and makes some nice fried chicken), this compact newcomer more often hits the spot for comfort food. Plus, Joha stores more soju varieties (B40-B220).
This review took place in March 2017 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.
|Address:||Joha, 59 Ari Soi 2, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Price Range:||BB - BBB|
|Open since:||May, 2016|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 11:30am-9pm|
|Nearest train||BTS Ari|
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