The dream team behind Paris’ classy and cocktail-forward Le Mary Celeste, Candelaria, and Glass hits a high note with the greatly anticipated opening of Hero, a three-story Korean canteen and bar. The small menu revisits traditional Korean street food, artfully prepared by Haan Palcu-Chang, former chef at Le Mary Celeste and inventor of the restaurant’s beloved deviled eggs.
A stone’s throw from Porte Saint-Denis, Hero welcomes a constant flow of thirsty Parisians who assemble around the ground-floor bar. Colorful cocktails, champagne flutes, and shots of soju slide across a pink marble countertop. Cocktail enthusiasts will appreciate creations like the refreshing mezcal, citrus, and soju-based slushy Thug Life (12€) and the creamy Bubble Trouble (10€), combining almond milk, orgeat, absinthe, bekseju, and tapioca pearls.
Designed by Swede Jeanette Dalrot and New York agency Safari Sundays, Hero’s interior is original and playful. Diners can climb the staircase lined with potted plants, graffiti, and neon hearts to the restaurant on the second floor, where a quirky arrangement of elevated tables and wooden stools wraps around the walls of the dining room. A quick glance around the small space shows Chinese lanterns made of yarn and fabric, and a multicolored flashing projection on the far wall. The ambiance veers towards new-age club meets Korean spa. In the center of the room is a pretty marble sink, perfect for cleaning up after devouring an order of fried chicken with your bare hands.
Haan wows diners with his variation of yangnyeom, crispy Korean fried chicken covered in sesame seeds and a good dose of garlic sweet and sour glaze or (for the courageous) a spicy gochujang sauce. A half chicken (19-23€) is just right for two people and a whole chicken (36-43€) works well for groups of three or more.
Not to be missed are the flavorful pork buns with ssamjang (7€) and homemade kimchi (3€). Fresh salads (7-9.5€) help to cut the spice and Haan’s seared rice cakes with shiitake ragout, Chinese salted radish, gochujang, and tofu purée (8€) is a personal favorite. The desserts are fun and original, combining ingredients like roasted sweet potatoes, meringue, and maple syrup (7€) or rice krispie treats with matcha and yakult mousse (6€).
Visit Hero with two or three friends (so you can order everything on the menu) but not with a first date. Korean fried chicken is a messy business and after two cocktails and an order of yangnyeom, you can expect to be covered in hot sauce.
Hero – 289 rue Saint-Denis, 75002. No tel.
Written by Emma Stencil for the HiP Paris Blog. All photos by Emma Stencil. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.