Korean newbie Joha spices up Ari with the flavors of Busan
The concept is simple. Joha, derived from the Korean word “jo-ah,” which means good, wants to serve good food prepared with good ingredients. Tucked in quirky Ari, this shophouse-turned-restaurant is a casual and fun place to enjoy flavorful Busan-style Korean delicacies. Devoid of Hangul calligraphy, colorful masks and paper lanterns, this small six-table eatery takes a step away from the traditional décor that characterizes many Korean restaurants in the city (like those in Korea Town on Sukhumvit), and instead celebrates Ari’s hip, cool spirit and youth culture with modern industrial black and white interiors. The restaurant also features an open kitchen where diners can watch Busan-born head chef, Kay Cho, and his younger brother, Junhee, perform their culinary magic.
Expect usual Korean classics with unexpected results. The extensive menu features the strong and spicy tastes of Busan—perfect for the heat-friendly local palate. We recommend the succulent barbecued beef, grilled medium-rare and served on hot stones from the Busan seaside (B350). The bibimbap (B200), here served in a stone bowl, is cooked with Korean veggie gosari (wild edible greens) and delicious red pepper paste, while the soft rice cake or tteokbokki (B180) is expertly lathered in flavorful and luscious red sauce. Also not to be missed are the kimchi fried rice with cheese (B350) and spicy soft tofu stew with pork (B200).
The drinks menu, meant to lift up dinners, includes soju shots and Makgeolli rice wine. Opt for the Menola Ju cocktail, a combination of soju and Sprite topped with melon ice cream (B190). For health enthusiasts, the pomegranate-flavored hongcho (B60) is said to do wonders for the skin.
The place is small and, this being the hottest newcomer in Ari, expect to queue up to 20 minutes for lunch and dinner.