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13° & CLOUDY ON THURSDAY 20 SEPTEMBER IN AUCKLAND
By Annie Hollister-Jones
November 09, 2017
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Han

Food so fine you'll want to take it home.
By Annie Hollister-Jones
November 09, 2017
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If you're into your mind being blown into a thousand tiny pieces you need to visit Han.

Get off the beaten track that is Parnell Road and do a bit of bush bashing (there is no bush and no need for bashing but you get the idea). It's situated at the back of Winona Forever, but do not confuse this literal description for a metaphor. Han, the king of Korean food, does not hide in anyone's shadow; it can most certainly stand on its own.

Patterson Architect's fit-out at Han is slick. Its barred walls, industrial rawness and plush soft furnishings are the stuff of millennial chic dreams (and the perfect reassurance that you will never achieve design eloquence quite like it in your own dining room). Han is almost so cool it's intimidating, except that it's not, thanks to the staff. They will make you feel like you belong even if you are wearing jandals that should have retired two seasons ago/never existed in the first place.

You will be led to an intimate spot-lit table, decorated by an extractor fan that is not, in fact, purely decorative. Even the menu deserves a mention; it's as simplistic and beautiful as the surrounding setting and the food it offers. If you become stuck between a rock and a side of kimchi, never fear, the wait staff will provide plenty of guidance, minimising all risks of food regret.

As soon as your food touches down be prepared for a fiery kind of love at first sight and bite. Start with Korean fried chicken ($6), so tender to the bite and crisp to the crunch that it will make you question life itself. Next try the venison yughoe (tarare), with cashew, seaweed and crispy anchovy ($19), a dish so delicate it should be seriously savored. Following this should be Han's authentic charcoal barbecue ($37), a feast that you cook yourself, served with fresh salad and delicious sauces. Chase this with one (or two) of two delicious desserts, a true expression of going hard instead of going home.

When the waiter and chef both wish you goodnight as you exit you'll realise that some goodbyes are harder than others. But every dusk has its dawn; Han is open six days a week, ready and willing to satisfy any and all cravings for exceptionally fine Korean food.

Images: Steven H Park

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