Winter = Hot pot time. I don't think there is another equation in the world that is easier than that one.
A couple of weeks ago AL, VH and I decided to check out a new place on our radar tucked away on Pitt Street prior to attending a friend's farewell. The place is rather hard to find, but I'm happy to say that Han Cook was definitely a hidden gem in the bustling city.
I say hidden because when I say the place is on Pitt Street, right opposite The Galeries Victoria, most people would think of the random discount shop or the Takeaway Sushi shop (or perhaps even Hungry Jacks or something of the sort. Not many people would seek to venture behind the set of stairs blocking the view to the entrance of Han Cook.
We were there on a Friday night, and as we walked in most of the tables were relatively empty. Empty tables in a restaurants often makes me nervous, but I reasoned with myself that we were there fairly early in the evening, so it was perfectly normal for a restaurant to be quiet.
As we walked in, we were seated straight away and before long, we had already finished ordering and our complimentary side dishes arrived, much to everyone's delight. I love these Korean side dishes. My mother once joked that she would choose a Korean restaurant based on the quality of the side dishes they provide.
We ordered a serving of gyoza to start off. As you can probably tell from the photos, they were rather deep fried than pan fried, so possibly not so great for your body. I couldn't care less as they tasted great and were so generous in portions.
On a side note, we noticed that the place was filling up pretty quickly and there were a few people waiting outside for tables. What a difference a couple of minutes makes.
Kimchi Hot Pot - $39
Then our main arrived. We had chosen the Kimchi Hotpot to share and needless to say, we were absolutely delighted at the sight of it coming to our table. Slices of sweet pork belly laid between spring onions, kimchi and Korean rice cakes.
AL was the first to comment as I had been too busy entertaining myself with the kimchi from the side dishes.
"Hey guys, this is really good stock! You gotta try it!"
I spooned a little soup into my bowl and honest to God, I say this with little exaggeration, but it was definitely one of the tastiest hot pot stocks I've tried so far. Mind you, I've tried a lot of duds, but this one here was definitely a stand-out. At $39 a serve, it was such great value as it fed the 3 of us quite comfortably- we couldn't even finish the entire thing.
I have to say it was a really pleasant surprise to start off a great night out in the city. I'm definitely coming back for more.
Han Cook Korean Restaurant
238-242 Pitt Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9267 6500