Gunbae Chicken and Beer
If you’re going to be gun-shy about anything, don’t let it be garlic. That’s a principle Yunji Kim and partner Hayden Smith live by at their new restaurant, Gunbae Chicken & Beer, which opened on Union Street last month (replacing Jekyll & Hyde).
The menu at Gunbae Chicken & Beer is blissfully simple: order your chicken with or without bones, then choose a sauce: soy and garlic, double-brushed sticky soy, or yangnyeom (a spicy sauce). Yunji Kim – who owns Gunbae with her partner Hayden Smith – was inspired by her childhood memories of Korea when developing the concept for the restaurant.
Kim made trips back to Korea to perfect her fried chicken recipe, including a visit to the famous “chicken street” in Suwon. Kim brines the meat for more than 12 hours and makes the batter from scratch. The resulting chicken is light, tender and crunchy in equal measure.
Sides include kimchi pancakes, mandoo, salad with yuzu dressing and joomuk bap, a rice ball with crunchy seaweed, cucumber and carrot. There’s a focus on lighter beers to complement the chicken, including both Korean lagers and local brews. There’s also patbingsu (a Korean shaved ice dessert) and a range of cocktails.
The couple themselves are behind the fit-out. They’ve paired the heritage-listed building’s exposed brick with dark green booths and plenty of wood, as well as long tables intended for large groups.