The first thing that catches your eye, even before walking in, is the bright blue sign with a single drumstick image plastered on it – what an inviting image it was. Could there be anything better than a crunchy piece of chicken?
Ban Ban on Franklin Street Adelaide isn’t what you’d expect, other than what you hope it would be; delicious Korean food. As soon as I walked in the door I was met with the most beautiful powder blue tiles – handmade in the Netherlands no less! – making the entire space connect as it covered benches, table tops and room dividers. Picking up a business card from the bar I flipped it over to read the words “Ban Ban Famous Restaurant” and I don’t think it was wrong.
Working on the Korean love of a noisy and connected meal the bench seats are made to be shared along with the serves of food. The idea of shoulder-to-shoulder dining is something the owner hopes to bring to the Adelaide community; bringing us closer together at meal time with a gathering spot that promotes a new and exciting way to share. The colours are eye-catching from the blue of the tiles, the muted green of the bench cushions and the tableware in different variations of bright pink shades. I was in love with the minimal yet funky décor immediately. The lighting perfectly complements the mood they are building, with a mixture of dim downlights and bright, playful neon’s; their fitting trademark image of a person eating chicken hanging pride of place above the bar.
Ban Ban, or half-half, is exactly what’s on offer in this happy place serving up large plates of their signature crispy chicken pieces with your choice of two sauces. The portions are ample, with the option to go boneless, and you can get half-half or just once sauce all over. Surprisingly the amount of sauce takes nothing away from the crunch of each tender bite; all the sauce selections are delicious. It’s cooked through to perfection, either way you have it. A perfect moment to forget your manners and dig in with both hands; but don’t worry about the sticky fingers! With great attention to detail every table is provided with individual hand wipes. One of the choices on offer is Sweet and Spicy; a perfect of blend of sticky sweetness with a lick of heat, the two elements complimenting each other while standing out as their own flavours. Another is Soy Garlic; with just enough garlic to give you that hit without leaving you holding your breath. On the bone or off, this chicken is a perfect base to highlight each sauce on offer and is sure to delight the tastebuds on its own merit.
Other items on the menu include a punchy serve of Topokki – stir-fried rice cake with gochujang. The gochujang giving it the savoury, sweet spice that lingers on the lips without being too much heat.
Umami Fries will have you coming back for more as this loaded savoury dish is topped with a perfect amount of salt and sauces; you’ll never want to eat fast-food fries again.
A cheeky Corn Casserole adds another comforting dish and one with a sweeter taste coming from the corn, not to mention the glorious amount of melted cheese.
And lastly an array of seamlessly complimenting sides including spam fries, salads, soups, pancakes, adding a little bowl of refreshing radish that brings all these individually delicious meals together to make one perfect table to share with family or friends.
On the other side of food, we find the bar; and what goes better with chicken than a nice cold beer – a selection Korean bottled beers, along with other imports, and even Coopers on tap! If beer isn’t your thing, there is a selection of non-alcoholic beverages along with wines and cocktails.
Opening this Wednesday, the fun and eye-catching restaurant will invite you to dinner Monday to Saturday, with the option of lunch on a Friday too! Giving you half-and-half (feeling full and wanting to eat more) Ban Ban is sure to become the famous restaurant it claims to be and a favourite place to share.
Words by Tess Todd
WHERE: 145 Franklin St, Adelaide