#aucklandeats: New Korean Bar Alert in Ponsonby!

Banziha | 4 Williamson Avenue, Grey Lynn, Auckland 1021

Isabel Bang

After a long week, I deserved a good drink night out and this new Korean bar ‘Banziha’ caught my attention. First of all, the aesthetics of their Instagram feed was telling me how pretty this place was going to be. While my friends and I decided to give them a go, I was still a little unsure about how good their food was going to taste. As we mentioned in a few TMI articles priorly, when Koreans drink, the food (“anju”) that goes with the drinks is pretty important. This is my personal opinion, but I tend to find neat and modern Korean restaurants in Ponsonby likes to alter authentic recipes to fit the Kiwi palate. More often than not, those restaurants aren’t as loved by Koreans - you know what they say, if you want good Asian food you go somewhere shabby 🙃

Isabel Bang

The first thing that caught our attention was the projected Seoul walking tour video of Minos Travel - this got us feeling like we’re in the Korean streets haha. The bar had a clean look with minimal neon signs and lights, with a line of empty soju bottles on the windowsill. Since the place was still early in their word-of-mouth game, we didn’t hear much about their food before we went. Hence, we started ordering everything on the menu and the waitress had to inform us about the sizes of each dish 😂

Isabel Bang

So we started with two main dishes, the Volcanic Korean Chicken (Cheese Buldak) and the Charcoaled Porkbelly with Stir-Fried Kimchi (Tong-Samgyeob). I think the so-called “volcanic” chicken was supposed to be super-spicy, but for someone who is confident with spice, it was rather pretty sweet. Nonetheless, it didn’t mean the dish wasn’t pleasant to have! It reminded me of sweet and spicy kung pao chicken than the buldak (grilled spicy chicken) I was used to - but a VERY delicious one. The cheese, of course, made everything better with the added flavour and chewy texture. The grilled sweet corn that was sprinkled on top also gave the dish an interesting texture to not bore us out.

Isabel Bang

But I must say, the highlight of the day was the pork belly. It was one of the top 3 steamed pork bellies (“bossam”) I’ve ever had in Auckland! The amount of juiciness was perfect, and the meat had ZERO gamey odours that you get at times when steamed pork. The synergy that the stir-fried kimchi had with the pork was heavenly, giving the rich meat a tangy and spicy kick to it. If you can’t decide on which big dish to have at Banziha, I would 100% recommend that you have the pork.

Isabel Bang

The small bites too, were a definite delight - we ended up ordering more of each! We got the Braised Beef Short Ribs (So-Galbi-Jjim) and the Spicy Pork Back Ribs (Mae-Un-Deung-Galbi-Jjim), which were pretty similar in how the beef was extremely soft and tender. Their sauces were both rich, thick and meaty, the So-Galbi-Jjim having soy sauce-based smokey and sweet taste, while the spicy one was (obviously) scrumptiously sweet and spicy. After endless orders for both food and drinks, the waiter offered us the Butter Glazed Tofu on the house! Its flavour didn't necessarily surprise me, but you really can’t go wrong with soft tofu and soy-butter sauce… This, was also so good, that we ended ordering another - surprising how much five small people could eat in one sitting 🫠

Isabel Bang

For those who aren’t a fan of straight soju or so-maek, Banziha also has cocktails and housemade slushie-like soju. For the sweet tooths on the table, we got the Mango and Peach soju which were VERY sweet for my taste - mind me, I even find Coca-Cola too sweet to drink. All of us we agreed that if we had to choose from the two, it would be the mango flavour for us.

My advice? Visit Banziha before it gets too popular and filled with people! If the Ponsonby-lovers find out how good their food is, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t mind the five-minute walk from the central to visit this new bar. It looks like they have tap wine, which I never tried before, so I’ll probably be there again soon to give them a taste 😛 (p.s. They’re a cafe during the daytime for those non-drinkers to casually drop by!)

 

DAY

MON - FRI

7:30am - 3pm

NIGHT

TUE - THUR

 5:30pm - 10pm

FRI - SAY

5:30pm - 11pm

SUN

5:30pm - 10pm

 

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Shop now