Popular K-dramas and K-pop have created a surge of Korean restaurants in Hong Kong. Danji, in quiet Sun Street, serves unpretentious and authentic Korean fare in modern surroundings and is a welcome newcomer to the scene.
A Review of Danji
Despite its Korean roots, Danji does have a bit of modern French bistro vibe with its simple design and decorations; this posits its focus more on being a convivial meeting place for friends who enjoy having a few drinks before a good dinner. It’s not a big space, seating 24 to 26, which includes high seats at the open windows.
For a small bistro, Danji’s menu is impressively large. Besides 13 appetisers, salads and snacks to choose from, there are also four to five choices for each different meat and all the perennial carb favourites like bibimbap, tteokbokki, japchae and spicy stews. We started with the dotori salad ($168), Korean acorn jelly and seasonal greens tossed in a vinegar dressing, its acid tanginess bringing on immediate hunger pangs. This was followed by the Pollack fish pancake ($168), not common on Hong Kong menus. It is described as being cod-like and perhaps the soft texture isn’t ideal as a pancake ($168) as it felt too pasty.
What the pollack fish pancake lacked, the buckwheat kimchi crepe ($78) made up for. The latter was a delightful surprise; the warm, crispy outer buckwheat wrapping gave way to a savoury centre lightly fried with the kimchi giving it a spicy kick. It was a perfect combination of flavours and reminded me a little of the Chinese vegetarian goose.
A Korean meal would not be complete without fried or grilled chicken and we were hard put to choose between oven chicken ($238) and the fried chicken ($188 for eight pieces), so we ordered both. Even after tasting them it was hard to say which was the better choice: the oven chicken was perfectly baked while retaining its juicy moisture while the fried deboned chicken was crispy, a perfect accompaniment to a few beers.
In contrast the grilled giant Korean galbi rib ($328), served on a bed of chive salad and pomegranate, was grilled to near perfection. However, the meat could probably have benefitted from marinating a little longer. We tried to resist the soy sauce marinated crab ($258) – and failed. The marinade was sweet and tangy and the crabs very fresh – and there was the fun factor of scooping the seaweed rice into the crab shell and mixing it with the roe to get the full flavour in the rice.
The meal ended on an incredible high with the 1++ Hanwoo kimchi fried rice ($298) and the soft tofu seafood stew ($148). The fried rice was soft and fluffy, and it was amazing that despite having kimchi as an ingredient in more than half the dishes, the taste never overpowers. The seafood stew was a personal favourite, chockfull of seafood and brimming with unapologetically zesty soup. Undoubtedly, it was the perfect conclusion to a undeniably indulgent meal.
Keeping to the restaurant’s intent to provide an authentic Korean experience, all the drinks are Korean-based, from Jeju ale ($80) and cocktails and mocktails ($90) to bottled soju, sake, makgeolli (rice wine), and even Korean wine.
Dotori salad ($168)
Oven chicken ($238), soy sauce marinated crab ($258)
1++ Hanwoo kimchi fried rice ($298), soft tofu seafood stew ($148)
Danji soju punch ($90), makgeorita ($108
Danji has a modern French bistro vibe with its simple design and decorations – the work of Kitty Shan of Atelier Shan – which posits its focus more on being a convivial meeting place for friends who enjoy having a few drinks before a good dinner. The large window and door lets in lots of natural light in the day. It’s a good place to pop by while walking the dog; there are a few seats at the outer side of the window or you can just get some beer and fried chicken and sit on the long benches on the pedestrian street.
Price for two
$400 – $500, without drinks
G/F, 7 Sun Street, Wan Chai. Tel. 2623 9983
3pm – 11pm