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Newly opened Bib N Hops in Wan Chai: Alvin Leung does casual Korean with a few twists

“Demon Chef” Alvin Leung might be onto something with Bib N Hops, which occupies the spot where Bo Innovation used to be. In the meantime, the Michelin three-starred restaurant has relocated to a nearby space that previously housed Madame Sixty Ate.

Bib N Hops is a casual Korean restaurant with exposed brick walls, funky lighting and two large paintings on the walls, one with the Korean characters for “alcohol”, the other “brotherhood”.

As chief culinary director, Leung created the menu. While it’s not traditional Korean, it has some interesting ingredient combinations that are worth trying.

The Bib N Hops salad (HK$98) is a refreshing and easy to eat combination of greens, cherry tomatoes, shaved beetroot, toasted pine nuts and slightly spicy daikon in a sesame dressing.

Next, the signature bibimbap with Peruvian spiced pork belly (HK$148), which came sizzling hot in a stone bowl with jalapeno aioli sauce on the side. This rice dish came with nori, fragrant pork slices, pickled carrots and cucumbers, and cubes of avocado. It’s large enough for two to three people to share.

Korean fried chicken (HK$198) was disappointing. The boneless chicken was deep-fried in a thick batter and so we tasted more of the crisp coating than the meat. The chicken was dressed in a sweet, mild curry sauce and came with a side dish of pickled daikon.

Korean fried chicken in Hong Kong – just add beer and friends

A highly recommended dish was mulhoe (chilled fish soup, HK$128), featuring buckwheat noodles with a variety of ingredients such as maple-smoked salmon, sliced pears and strawberries, vegetables, half a boiled egg and a cold anchovy broth that was poured from a teapot. The large bowl arrived with ice cubes to ensure the dish was consumed cold. Before we mixed the ingredients together, we scooped out a lot of the chilli paste and fresh chillies, otherwise it would have been too spicy for us to eat. It as a refreshing dish – ideal for warm temperatures, and was large enough for several people to share.

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For dessert, we chose one that is similar to tiramisu, but made with makkoli (sweet Korean rice spirit). The dessert arrived in a round glass with layers of creaminess, and topped with crunchy cereal flakes. It was quite bland, and needed a stronger dose of the makkoli.

We visited shortly after the restaurant opened, and it was quite empty, but once word gets out about the relaxed vibe and interesting dishes, it should fill up quickly.

Bib N Hops, Shop 13, 2/F, J Residence, 60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2882 9128