Hanjan’s Instagram feed is an enticing photo compilation of softly lit wood and caramel-hued cups of coffee.
Every few frames, a bowl of jewel-toned fruit or beautifully plated food breaks up the stream of creamy lattes and other caffeinated concoctions.
One photo, a mound of glistening, crispy Korean fried chicken, seduced me with a siren sizzle so powerful, I could feel the heat through the screen of my laptop. A brunch of chicken, waffles and Korean-style coffee? Yes, please.
Hanjan’s interior is cozy coffee shop meets midsummer night’s patio with faux trees, light posts and umbrella-topped tables.
Semi-private booths on the perimeter offer as much privacy as one needs or wants in an out-of- the-way restaurant in a strip mall.
Woodland fairies, or the Lumineers singing Ho Hey would both be at home here. Diners, it seems, may be the oddest participants.
You can get lost in coffee or sochu, depending on your mood. You can also eat; you can drink; you can come for brunch on weekends, dinner on weeknights, or karaoke on weekdays. You can come for chicken and waffles, or galbi (ribs) and bibimbap (rice bowl).
At Hanjan, there is nothing you cannot do, or eat, or drink.
Food lacking identity
According to the website, you can have an algae latte, although once ensconced in a semi-private booth for brunch, we were informed special lattes don’t really exist.
Hanjan needs some time to figure out who they are, and what, exactly, they are offering.
It seems, too, the food is suffering from a lack of identity, or presence of any note.
The bibimbap is flavourless, heavy on mung bean sprouts, and light on bulgogi.
Thankfully, the egg — the crowning glory of any bibimbap — was expertly cooked with a…