Bib n Hops
Alvin Leung’s newest restaurant polishes popular Korean favourites with surprising twists
Taking over the former Bo Innovation space, Bib n Hops has transformed the modern Chinese fine dining restaurant into an energetic and casual Korean restaurant, complete with al fresco seating.The kitchen bar on one side of the dining area remains untouched, equipped with bar set up adjacent to it.
The exposed brick walls with large wall paintings give the space a homely touch, while individual hanging lightbulbs match with the wall-hanging light fixtures on the far end of the dining room, giving it an industrial finish. Tables are evenly spaced, and there’s a long table setting available for larger parties both indoors and in the al fresco area.
A new venture between Alvin Leung and the Liberty Group, Bib n Hops takes casual Korean offerings and gives it a new twist. The new Korean restaurant features a simple menu of small plate starters as well as bigger mains and grilled items to share.
We began with a mung bean seafood pancake, served in a small cast iron pan, which helps to develop the crusty exterior. Chopped seafood is tender and thoroughly mixed through the thick creamy pancake.
The yukhoe, or Korean steak tartare, is a tower of Korean beef, cut into matchsticks, embellished with jicama, pear sorbet and a parmesan crisp with cured egg yolk. The truffled aioli is a nice touch, and we enjoyed the slightly frozen texture of the beef, allowing the dish to stay cool throughout. Bulgogi beef skewers are well marinated and tender, although the perilla pesto was almost undetectable.
Bibimbap is a Korean staple, and here at Bib n Hops there are a number of variations. The Peruvian spiced pork belly rice bowl features a heaping portion of cubed pork belly, pickled daikon, kimchi and rice, topped with a raw egg. We suggest waiting a minute or two before tossing the rice, allowing the residual heat from the stone bowl to build a crispy rice crust that contrasts with the steamed rice. The jalapeno aioli is a refreshing touch with heat that lingers on the palate.
The signature Korean fried chicken is a welcoming portion of boneless chicken, crisp on the crust with a sweet curry sauce. The chicken pieces remain tender and the spring onions and pickled radish on the side make a refreshing salad.
Desserts are not on the menu and change in variety regularly. Our order of rice flour donut with vanilla ice cream turned out to be much more than the name suggests. Rice flour gives the donut a chewy, almost mochi-like structure, while black sesame adds a nutty sweetness to it. Topping the ice cream are cinnamon-laced jujube compote and a chocolate Campari sauce that matches well with the tender jujube pieces.
While the restaurant excels in the selection of Korean liquors, soju infusions and cocktails, the list of beer varieties available to choose from is on the generic side. The cocktails, ranging from HK$120 to HK$140 apiece are creatively concocted by the mixology team.
The Nongju mixes dry gin with makgeolli, or Korean fermented rice wine, with citrus and soy milk, and is a sweet beverage, with creaminess thanks to the soy milk and the makgeolli. The egg white foam at the top helps with the smooth texture as well. Frontier Cooler is a fruity addition to the selection. Berries and citrus are muddled and mixed with malted honey and ginseng-infused bourbon, adding depth and light but pleasant bitter edge to the sweet cocktail, which is a great match to most dishes from the menu.
Service at Bib n Hops is attentive and energetic, as all guests are greeted and introduced to the beverages to start, followed by the restaurant’s concept and menu signatures. The staff are well-versed with menu selection, together with matching guests’ preferences with their suggestions. Portion control is also on point.
A dinner for two including one cocktail each amounts to slightly over HK$1,000. We feel the pricing is a little high for casual Korean but the service and creative touches that go into the offerings make up for it.
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