Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Swish by Han

My friend from Ottawa, Tiana, was visiting Toronto a month or so ago and we had lunch at Swish by Han on Wellington. I remember how we were trying to figure out where to go for lunch near my work. When she suggested Swish by Han I immediately said "yes" since it would be a nice change to have some Korean food, which is a rarity around where I work (Yonge & Adelaide). 

Without fail, every time I walk by Swish I will look through those large windows to see what people were eating inside. Well, no more of that! I was finally on the other side of those windows that day =D

I guess you can tell from these pictures that Swish is not a big place. It basically has three sections for seating; a section against each wall, and a section in the middle with three 2-person tables (I was sitting in the middle table in the middle section). 

I turned around to take the shot below. The kitchen is straight to the back. A big chandelier hangs right above the bar. I love the brick wall. 

This is to my left. Not sure if there is seating inside that "enclosure".

Aside from the utensils, the random cherry blossoms and Asian style panels, you will not be able to tell from the decor that you're in a Korean restaurant.

I really wanted to try the "Kimchi tuna melt with red cabbage slaw" but it wasn't available =( so our server gave us some suggestions. We also asked her questions about portion sizes. She was quite helpful.

Nool Mandoo - Steamed dumplings stuffed with shrimp & spinach ($7). This was not very good at all. There were six dumplings and each was sooo small and dainty, which means that the filling was insufficient. I could probably eat all 6 of these in two minutes tops, not only because they were small, but also because they weren't hot either, just room temperature. I also wasn't crazy about the sauce, which merely tasted like a combination of soy sauce and hot sesame oil. Disappointing dish as I've probably had way better dumplings at a Chinese food court.

Ssam Baap - Lettuce wrap platter: choice of beef, chicken, or pork ($15). We chose pork for this platter since our next dish is a beef dish. Anyway, I love the presentation. The ssam baap took up most of our table space.

If the dumplings weren't hot enough, the ssam baap certainly made up for it. I had to wait for at least 10-15 seconds before taking this picture because there was so much steam. The pork was really flavourful, a bit sweet and spicy, it was also moist and sliced to a good size for wrapping. The veggies were also delicious.

The lettuce leaves were perfect: big, fresh, and crunchy. The server told us that the rice can be put on the leaf first, then the other ingredients on top. This dish was fun and I will definitely order it again. One complaint I have is that that the hot sauce wasn't very hot at all.

Dolsot Bi Bim Bap - Crispy "bi bim bap" in a hot clay pot with Kimchi & Bulgolgi ($14). This was good, theres nothing bad about this at all but it was nothing special either. I have had bibimbaps that are just as good or even better, but for a lot cheaper. Despite that, I did really like the crispy rice at the bottom of the clay pot which I haven't had in a long time. 

My favorite that day was no doubt the lettuce wrap. The bibimbap was average and the dumplings were terrible. In my opinion, Swish is waaaay too expensive, which I know is partly due to the high rent given its location. If you have a sudden craving for Korean food and you're in the area, then yes, go to Swish because their food is not bad. But otherwise, you do not need to pay so much for Korean food, especially for the dishes I ordered which I do not find to be different nor better than places in Korean town or North York for example. 

Too bad about the Kimchi tuna melt though, if they actually had it that day and I ordered it AND liked it, at least I can recommend Swish not for their typical Korean dishes, but for their fusion items. They did have the "spicy pork on a bun" and "kimchied apple salad" on their menu but for some reason, those two items did not appeal to me so I did not order it (who knows, they may not be available like the tuna melt). I heard that they had "spicy pork neck tacos" before but I did not see that on the menu either; now THAT is something I would totally order.

Once again, if you're looking for your typical Korean non-fusion dishes, I will say skip Swish.

Swish by Han on Urbanspoon