Technically speaking, I only got to know of Hyang-To-Gol Korean Restaurant, located on the 2nd level of Amara Hotel, about a year ago. Considering that I have returned to the restaurant no less than five times with different groups of people only goes to show how much I love this restaurant. I wouldn’t go as far to declare that it is the best Korean restaurant in Singapore simply because I have not visited all (or even for that matter, many) Korean restaurants in Singapore. However I have visited enough for me to decide that Hyang-To-Gol is worth revisiting based on ease of finding parking, ease of making reservations, restaurant ambience, taste of food and price tag.
So, when the regular Friday dinner party needed dining venue suggestions, I immediately thought of my favourite Korean restaurant. Just so happened too, that the only person in the party who doesn’t fancy Korean cusine is unable to turn up for that particular dinner appointment. It was perfect opportunity to introduce my girl pals to this place.
[Side Dishes or Banchan, Sauces and Greens for the evening]
One singular signature of all Korean restaurants is probably the free and refillable side dishes, or Banchan. Hyang-To-Gol’s Banchan are quite delicious and varied. Free, and refillable. So we could eat to our hearts’ content. I have heard of new Korean restaurants that charge for Banchan, and/or limit the number of refills. These restaurants are not qualified to call themselves Korean restaurants. Just my two cents’ worth.
Obviously Hyang-To-Gol is not one of them.
I love Korean cuisine, including their BBQ. But I’m not a huge meat-eater, if given a choice. Comparatively I love the other foods Korean cuisine can offer, more. So I have to admit I usually leave the ordering of meat cuts to H when I’m dining with him, or to my other dining partners who are more enthusiastic about meats. I don’t like pork belly meats or Samgyupsal much (that’s the meat in the top four squares) because I find it too fatty for my liking. The beef ribs were nice though. So nice we ordered it a second time because the ‘carnivore’ of our party A didn’t feel like she has had enough of it.
Personally, excluding the meat cuts, I feel that the best dishes from Hyang-To-Gol are their Ddubokki, Bibimbap, Sundubu Jjigae, Kimchi Pancake (Pajeon) and Seafood Soup Noodles (Jambong). We ordered the first four dishes that evening, but not the last because we had to save some space in our stomachs for a birthday cake. Thank goodness I was dining with a group of friends who are generally not picky about food so I manage to have a bit of everything I like. Unlike dining with boring H.
And the cake of the evening? Rose Chiffon Cake from Dulcet & Studio, a lifestyle cafe by Tampopo. This chiffon cake was recommended by E and it was such a good choice! The chiffon was fluffy and airy, but in general I found the cake a tad too sweet for my palate. The rest of my dining party found it alright though, and enjoyed the light cake. I would really want to try out the scoop cake though. One day I will…
If there is any grouse I have of Hyang-To-Gol, it is how noisy (to the extent of rowdy!) it can get in the main hall when they are operating at their full capacity. And how difficult it is sometimes to get the attention of the service staff. So I tried my luck by asking for one of their private rooms when I called to made a reservation for a party of five. To my surprise, the receptionist told me that she could allocate a private room to us. And with no minimum spendings requirement to boot!
That night, we had no difficulty whatsoever gaining the attention of the service staff whenever we required. And we got to chat without needing to shout at one another. It was a good experience; in fact one of the best experiences I’ve had out of the numerous visits to the restaurant.
Hyang-To-Gol Korean Restaurant
165 Tanjong Pagar Road
2F The Amara
Dulcet & Studio
177 River Valley Road
#01-41/42 Liang Court