Every week I look forward to visiting restaurants to spend a few hours quietly reading menus in a corner. A drizzly night invited me to call my family out on their new-found love for Korean Cuisine, and eat at a tiny kitchen in Kalyan Nagar.
As we sit down to a meal at Thran, we find a curious menu written half in Korean and half in English that plays out a variety of soups, stews and bowls put together to compliment the cosy, 30 seater space. When it comes to the menu, we are noticeably divided over our long standing loyalties and knowledge of the cuisine. Yet as most family meals demand a consensus, we struggle to agree on at least three dishes, that allow us to share a meal together. After a half hour, a pleasant waiter assigned to us, takes charge and begins to instruct us in the nuances of the cuisine. In retrospect his wise counsel quickly ended the feud with a mix of classic favourites and equally satisfying doggie bags to take back home. The menu also offers a limited selection of wine sold by bottle or glass.
As the conversation begins to revolve around daily routines, jobs, bosses and food, our meal begins and we are plied with side dishes known as Banchan (반찬), a loveable tradition of small bowls and plates at Korean restaurants. Kimchi (김치), a traditional dish of fermented cabbage, and spices. Bindaetteok (빈대떡), made from mung beans, a crisp and savoury pancake, served with dipping sauce. Sigeumchi Namul (시금치 나물 반찬), a cold spinach salad seasoned with onions, garlic, sesame seeds and soy sauce. The bowls are replenished and we get more of everything we ask for, like steamed egg rolls, pickled cucumber, plumped up bean sprouts.
Keeping our chopsticks elegant we nibble, knowing Maangchi, the quirky, much loved cook on YouTube would be very pleased.
Our main course includes homely classics from the cuisine like Bulgogi (불고기), thinly sliced meat and vegetables, stir-fried served with sticky rice. Gimbap (김밥), resembles sushi but made with sautéed vegetables, ground beef or chicken sausage, sweet pickled radish and rice, rolled and tightly wrapped in a sheet of gim or seaweed, and sliced into bite-sized circles.
Bibimbap (비빔밥), a simple salad of mixed vegetables and beef, arranged on a serving of rice, seasoned with sesame oil and a dollop of Gochujang((고추장) served in a bowl, cold.
Dol Sot Bibimbap (돌솥 비빔밥), a colourful bowl of shredded vegetables like carrots, shiitake mushrooms, zucchini, bean sprouts arranged clockwise complete with a potion of beef, pork or chicken, topped with a fried egg, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. The meal ends with crisp slices of watermelon and chilled cups of cinnamon tea.
What we loved?
Despite, being partial to the lure of bold, flavourful spices and thinly sliced meat marinated in Gochu-jang, the restaurant itself is frequented by young diners with a frenzied wait of a half an hour on weekends. In conclusion, the homely menu at Thran does not disappoint and leaves one oddly nourished at a restaurant. The meals are wholesome, generous and authentic in flavour, a great introduction to Korean Cuisine to the locals.
How to Get There
Where: 507, Ground Floor, 4th Cross, 2nd Block, CMR Road, HRBR Layout, Kalyan Nagar, Bangalore
Contact: 080 42050685 +91 9880800874
Timings: Sunday Closed | Mon – Sat 12 Noon to 3 PM, 6 PM to 10 PM
Cost: ₹1200 for two people (VAT & service charges extra)