About Hwaro Korean Steakhouse and Raw Bar
Hwaro Korean Steak and Raw Bar was founded by Ray Lee, who is also an executive chef. The restaurant is located at the commercial center named Henderson mall, Coquitlam, which is very close to Lincoln Station, about 5 minutes walking. The restaurant has approximately 25 tables. It can be seen as a small family-style restaurant. Diners will sit around the table and enjoy the food together.
Hwaro Korean Steakhouse and Raw Bar is open seven days a week, Monday – Sunday from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM. There are two ways for reservation, such as call the restaurant number 604-944-4570 or booking online on https://www.hwarokoreancuisine.com/
Hwaro uses its website as the primary channel to update information and events. Moreover, they also have a Facebook page, Instagram, and yelp. On the Facebook page, there are frequently updated promotions and up to date events, such as family day. Also, they provide pictures and videos of their dishes. Customers rate 4.4 out of 5 stars on Hwaro Facebook page.
On their Instagram page (@HWARO2048), they have more than 900 followers. There are several pictures, and videos of dishes are played to attract customers.
However, on Yelp there is only 21 reviews and rated 3.5 stars.
We ordered two sets of Dine Out menu, which included the most well-known Korean traditional foods, and it has been around for thousands of years.
The first dish of appetizers is Daily Congee: This basic version is made with white rice and water, so we did not expect much. Surprisingly, it’s really good! Came out piping hot and fresh. It went great with the side dishes.
Secondly, the Green salad was served with homemade assorted fruit dressing: The Salad contains greens, bell peppers, tomatoes, radishes and homemade fruit dressing. We found it to have a great mix of flavour thanks to the sauce and fresh vegetables.
One of the bonus points of eating at Hwaro Restaurant is the complementary side dishes that they gave you. There were three of them which were given as share plates that consisted of kimchi, marinated tofu and daikon pickles. They were all pretty okay with the pickles slightly better than the rest.
Followed by Shrimp cocktail with Gochujang cocktail sauce: This dish does not have many ingredients. Only a few shrimps, one slice of lemon, and one slice of red radish. The highlight of this dish is its special cocktail sauce, which is a little spicy and slightly salty, combined writing the sourness of lemon melted in your mouth forces you to have another bite. However, the dish will taste better if the shrimp are bigger and fresher.
The entrees include three dishes. Wild mushroom japchae: a colorful plate of japchae made of a stir-fry of glass noodles made from sweet potato starch are stir-fried in sesame oil. There are so many ingredients, but for us, the noodles itself are a star, its satisfyingly springy, chewy texture, and it helps them to stand up to the surrounding ingredients.
The second main dish is Bulgogi, which is the combination of marinated and thinly sliced beef tossed on a grill until it crisps and caramelizes with peeled & thinly sliced onions, green onions, mushrooms, cabbages, and carrots. In my mind, bulgogi sauce is the whole reason why this dish is so addictively delicious; it is mildly sweet, savory, smoky, juicy, and tender at the same time.
The third one is Fermented soybean paste soup with rice: This soup is a combination of fermented soybean paste, cubed tofu, and any mix of cubed squash, potato, onion, and other vegetables. This soup has strong garlic and fermented soybean paste, so it has a strong smell, not recommended for people who are not familiar with Asian Food. However, this soup is quite a hot, clean and refreshing broth, and it is even tasted better with white rice.
Last but not least, we did have Miso creme brulee as a dessert, which is not a standout dish but it is pretty good. The flavour combination was the perfect balance between sweet and salty with the crispy top layer of sugar. The berries on top help to balance that flavour and make it a fantastic ending.
Overall, it costs $15 for one set, which we believed is a reasonable price and value for customers because we did have a variety of dishes with perfect presentation, flavour, and even creativity.
Atmosphere, Decoration and Service
The first time we stepped into the restaurant, we were greeted by a smiling server who asked us politely if we had made any reservation. As a group of four, we were then guided by her to our table which was next to a large window and there was a bar in front of us. We were then given a menu ( à la carte ) to order. The format of the menu was decent-looking. It contains a few pictures next to a lot of Korean names of various dishes.
The time of the day that we entered, moreover, was during the day around 11:30 am and since it opened up around that time, we also noticed that we were the only customers in the room. So, it wasn’t very crowded and busy. Hence, it was fairly quiet with the exception of the music broadcasted to create a more relaxed atmosphere.
While we were waiting for our meals, we looked around for a while. The decoration of the restaurant is very neat and pretty yet simple. The architecture style is mainly based like this: large wooden tables were located at the side of the large windows where there is a view of landscape probably reserved for large groups of people. The smaller wooden tables are at the center of the restaurant, surrounded by a wooden/bamboo “fence.” It looks like it is purposely located there to create a more intimate atmosphere for couples. These smaller wooden tables have only two to four chairs, yet there is still sufficient space at the center to walk around comfortably.
In the middle, there is a big column that is built within a wooden counter that holds bottles and plants at the top and plates, chopsticks and spoons in boxes on the surface of the counters.
Most importantly, since we are at a Korean meat steak house restaurant, these tables have special grilling metal surfaces with a covered lid and a button to switch on a fan for ventilation of the barbecue meat grilling. So that the guests or customers can enjoy cutting and grilling their meat with the provided scissors and tongs.
Servers will first come with a water kettle to put water in that. They cover it with the grilling surface and switch on the fire heat at a specific temperature before the guests can continue enjoying eating.
Coming back to our table after taking a few pictures of the surroundings, we received our first appetizer and four cups of warm tea. It didn’t take a lot of time; approximately three to five minutes to receive them. The other main dishes took longer to come, an average time of 10-15 minutes. However, it was worth to wait, all the main dishes came one after the other and they were all delicious!
The server that served us was a woman who was wearing a black blouse and black pants as a dress code. She was really polite while taking our orders and had a good posture with refined slow gestures , while serving us and putting one item at a time on the table.
Other additional features of the restaurant are that the walls are painted in a grey colour, not forcibly giving the room a bleak feeling that makes one reluctant to come in because it is contrasted by a yellow lighting that adds a relaxing inviting tone of atmosphere to the overall environment. Some of the walls are decorated with posters. There are some meat posters with prices on them , a large blackboard of a cow drawn in chalk with printed letters on it and other interesting posters like Korean idol pop stars such as IU who is a popular singer in Korea promoting soju or beer on the poster. Speaking of singers, most songs that were being played in the restaurant were melancholic and sometimes upbeat depending on the songs they chose to play but they were all Korean songs probably popular at the moment recently in Korea.
Cleanliness and Sustainability
Concerning cleanliness, the floor appears tidy enough and the tables as well. The only things that aren’t washed very well are the cutlery ware. There can be a few spots that haven’t been washed very well that’s left over sometimes and the server will change the dirty item if we asked for a cleaner one. Another thing that can be noticed is the water that is given to us is not very clean. The water is a bit white instead of clear and transparent. The water might have not been filtered properly and is served to us directly from tap water.
We noticed that Hwaro still uses plastic bags and containers to pack their takeout foods. It is not good practice, because as we know plastic takes a thousand year to biodegradable.
Overall, we have a great lunch meal at Hwaro. Delicious foods and excellent services come with valuable prices. However, there are some areas that Hwaro needs to pay attention to such as menu printing, providing correct operation hours, cleanliness and practicing sustainability.
We suggest that, for next dine out menu, the restaurant should have a proper plan before printing. The menu is different between the website and actual menu which created confusions. On the website, the menu showed that guests only can choose between one of the main dishes. However, the actual was all that dishes were included in the set.
Moreover, operation hours are important information. We found that the operation hours from google are incorrect (open at 10:30 AM – 12:00 AM). However, on the restaurant website it shows that it is open from 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM. We reserved a table at 11:00 AM, but when we were there, they did not open. So we emailed them and they asked to come at 11:30 AM on another day. It is important to provide correct information to customers. Therefore, Hwaro managers need to fix this problem right away.
Cleanliness is another crucial factor, especially in the food and beverage industry. Hwaro kitchen staff should have an extra checking step to make sure utensils are clean. After the utensils were washed by the dishwasher. Kitchen staff need to use a clean cloth to wipe it. Also, it will be better if restaurants use filters for tap water. Even though, Canadians claim that tap water is safe to drink, but a filter will make it even safer and create a positive perspective for customers when consuming outside foods or drinks.
Hwaro should practice sustainability as that is important for the environment nowadays. Using recycled items and saying no to plastic are recommended for any restaurants. Hwaro should provide recycle paper containers instead of plastic containers, using paper bags instead of plastic bags. Moreover, plastic straw should only be provided when asking. In addition, the restaurant should only turn on the light at operation hours only to save electricity. We also suggest that instead of buying new decoration items, the restaurant can reuse their old stuff.
Facebook. (n.d). Hwaro Korean Steak House and Raw Bar. Retrieved
Hwaro Korean Steak House and Raw
Bar. (n.d). About Hwaro. Retrieved from https://www.hwarokoreancuisine.com/
Instargram. (n.d). Hwaro Korean Steak House and Raw Bar. Retrieved
Yelp. (n.d). Hwaro Korean
Steak House and Raw Bar. Retrieved from https://www.yelp.ca/biz/hwaro-korean-steakhouse-and-raw-bar-coquitlam