Late-night Korean drinking and dining at ANJU
When we arrived at Cafe Deco Group’s new modern Korean bar and restaurant ANJU (anju is the Korean word for food that’s typically consumed with alcohol), the late-night vibe was in full swing, despite it being just 7pm. The eatery stays open till midnight even on a Sunday, stretching till 2am on Thursdays and Fridays. We were immediately drawn to the spot’s colourful, eye-catching decor featuring playful graphic murals and neon lights.
It would be sacrilegious to go to ANJU and not order a tipple or two. The drink menu is varied and extensive, boasting a wide range of premium and flavoured soju, makgeolli (cloudy, slightly sparkling rice wine), yakju (clear rice wine that’s also known as cheongju,), soju cocktails and mocktails.
We opted for the yuzu soju mojito and Berry Berry (HK$128 each), both on the potent yet still refreshing side. Be warned that the Melona cocktails are extremely filling as they’re made with Korea’s famous Melona ice-cream pops.
To start, the heirloom tomato, kimchi, burrata (HK$168) is a interesting medley of East-meets-West flavours, with the oozing, creamy burrata a surprisingly successful pairing with the sour, spicy kimchi. The idea is to use the accompanying crispy tempura seaweed to scoop up a bit of the burrata, a bit of the tomato and a bit of the kimchi – and it works.
These saucy bulgogi sliders (HK$98) are mini flavour bombs of beef brisket, pickled cucumber, kimchi, lettuce and kimichi mayo. We urge ANJU to consider adding on at least two more of these beauties per order – they were gone in a flash, but we still craved more.
Nearly every table had an order of the yangnyeom chicken (HK$198), which showcases local three-yellow chicken that’s double-fried and coated in an addictive sticky, sweet and spicy glaze made with gochujang, garlic and sugar. We think this is the ultimate dish with drinks, and we advise getting stuck right in (worry about the mess afterwards).
Of the trio of desserts on offer at ANJU (there’s also a boozy affogato with a shot of makgeolli or soju and a poached pear with ginger ice cream), we rate the oat-milk panna cotta (HK$78) for its silky texture and comforting milky flavour, which is not overpowering. The panna cotta is surrounded by crispy rice cereal, honeycomb chunks and slivers of persimmon, and we enjoyed the variety of textures and contrasting flavours offered by these embellisments.
More a bar than a restaurant, ANJU is a good choice for those looking for a large selection of soju, makgeolli and soju cocktails. The Korean-with-a-Western-twist food comes second for us, but you could do much worse than the eatery’s finger-licking-good fried chicken, which is the classic food pairing with alcohol in Korea. The vibe is lively and the drinks are strong – what many consider to be the winning combination for a successful night out.
Where: Shop R004, Civic Square, ELEMENTS, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon
For reservations: phone 2196 8733 or book online
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.