Joo Bar is a sleek yet casual venue within a heritage three-storey shophouse in the heart of Singapore along Tan Quee Lan Street, offering modern Korean bites and creative drinks in a space that exudes a laid-back vibe. They have everything from Bibimbap to Makgeolli on their menu, and trust us, they put the “joo” in soju.
– Gail & Jem
ExteriorG & J: See those hexagonal copper ceiling lights at the entrance? They are all painstakingly handmade by the owners. The second and third levels also boast welcoming outdoor spaces that face an air well bathed with natural light and a wall lined with pretty foliage. In addition, these levels have been designed to convert easily into three private rooms each. Thumbs up for decor.
Makgeolli Slush (Yucha) – $22 (S) / $36 (L)
Current lunch promotion: Design your own bibimbap!
For $10.90, you can pick:
1 x carbohydrate (white rice, purple rice or quinoa)
1 x protein (chicken, pork, beef, saba or argentinian steak)
3 x complements (corn, kimchi, tofu, spam, mushrooms etc)
1 x sauce (spicy or soy)
* If you selected kimchi under “complements” section, we recommend going with spicy sauce, because soy don’t go very well. We also recommend the steak, spam and sautéed mushrooms!
Other dishes include:
Warm Kimchi with Tofu and Spam – $16G & J: We thought the warm kimchi added an innovative touch to the dish. Tip: Eat it like a burger. Spam as the bun, tofu and kimchi as patty. One shot!
Honey Butter Chick – $18G & J: Chicken tenders with honey butter glaze and chopped nuts. While the chicken was crispy and juicy, we are in two minds about the glaze. Unless you really like honey butter on warm food, we think it’s better off as a coat on potato chips.
Slow Roasted Mangalitsa Belly – $32G & J: This roasted belly was slightly better than its grilled counterpart (see below), with a side of spring onion salad. We would say the experience was sinful yet unforgettable, though the price is steep for this one.
Kimcheese Bacon Pancake – $22G & J: While we agree that the amalgamation of kimchi, cheese and bacon is unique, we are probably a stickler for old-school kimchi pancakes. The overall taste did not go very well together, and the base of the pancake was oily as well. We reckon it’s due to the bacon oil fat!
Grilled Mangalitsa Belly – $25G & J: Think fatty grilled pork belly that are chewy with crispy garlic chips and a sprinkle of chives. The meat was a little tough due to the grilling, but have it while it’s fresh out of the kitchen and it should be much more tender.
Tofu Chips with Guacamole and Kimchi Salsa – $14G & J: We have much appreciation for this refreshing snack, made to go with the alcoholic drinks. Crunchy house-made tofu chips with avocado, cucumber and kimchi dip. Addictive!
Overall, the ambience of Joo Bar is one that is suitable if you’re looking to have a good meal or simply just chill with friends. The lighting is pretty dark, so if you’re looking to take insta-worthy photos, we advise you to bring a portable light pack. Once in awhile, it’s okay to splurge. You have to give Joo Bar a try, at least once.
5 Tan Quee Lan Street
Nearest MRT: Bugis
P.S exit from the Downtown line side.
* This is an invited media tasting by Joo Bar.
Average cost per pax: $30-$50
What you should order: Tofu Chips, Warm Kimchi with Tofu & Spam, Bibimbap.