GU:UM: Modern Korean Grill Restaurant In Chinatown |
Korean Restaurant Reviews

GU:UM Review: Modern Korean Grill Restaurant By Michelin-Starred NAE:UM

19th June 2024

GUːUM is a modern Korean restaurant by NAE:UM in the CBD 


As a Korean native living in Singapore, I constantly receive countless questions about where to get the best jjajangmyeon or find the best Korean restaurants in Singapore. And so, to live up to these foodies’ expectations and give the best recommendations, I’m always on the lookout for new Korean restaurants to try.


Recently, there’s one restaurant in Maxwell that grabbed my attention: GU:UM. The colon in its name reminded me of NAE:UM, a one-Michelin-starred Korean restaurant with an impressive 4.6-star rating on Google at the point of writing. True enough, GU:UM is also helmed by Chef Han Seok Hyun, the mastermind behind NAE:UM. This reason alone gave me high hopes for my upcoming experience at the newly opened contemporary Korean restaurant. 

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Food at GUːUM


At GU:UM, you can’t expect your regular Korean BBQ or tteokbokki fare on the menu. Instead, Chef Han masterfully weaves traditional Korean dishes with his creative touch and years of culinary experience, resulting in unique dishes that taste somewhat familiar. Fun fact: GU:UM means “to grill” or “to cook over fire”, which is an accurate reflection of what this place has to offer!


I was off to a great start with Yukhwae Jeon ($32++), a potato pancake topped with hand-chopped beef tartare, pickled onions, and egg yolk jam. Everyone on the dining table adored this dish as the medley of ingredients—soy sauce, sesame oil, Korean pear, shallots, chives, and finely diced house-pickled garlic shoots—was oh-so-delicious.


The egg yolk jam was a key ingredient in giving the beef tartare an extra smooth texture, and a lovely pop of colour to the otherwise dull appearance.


Forget Korean fried chicken and try their KFC (Korean Fried Cauliflower) instead, priced at $26++. This starter features deep-fried cauliflower, spam, and rice cakes evenly coated in a house-made yangnyeom sauce. I appreciated the sweet-spicy flavours of the gochujang and ketchup in the sauce, which was made tastier with the addition of vinegar and onions. If you’re not a fan of raw beef, I recommend getting the KFC instead of the tartare.


Moving on to the scene stealer of the night, the massive and impressive Tajima Wagyu Ribeye MBS 8 ($188++ for 280g) and Iberico Pluma ($118++ for 300g), which made everyone’s jaw drop—mine included.

We enjoyed the Tajima Wagyu Ribeye, which was salted and grilled, and the Iberico Pluma, which was marinated with fermented fish sauce and then grilled. FYI, there are four marinades you can choose from: galbi, chilli gochujang, fermented fish sauce, and salted


The grilled meat was served with a fresh salad tossed in house-made vinaigrette, ssam AKA leafy vegetables to wrap your meat with, and assorted pickles made in-house. Here’s a trick to enjoying more meat: pair it with the veggies as the ssam helps to cut down on the greasiness!


In terms of texture, both the Tajima Wagyu Ribeye and Iberico Pluma were melt-in-the-mouth tender. Since the former was simply salted while the latter was marinated with fermented fish sauce, the pork leaned more intense in terms of flavour. If you plan to get two cuts of meat, I recommend having one salted and the other marinated in your preferred sauce, so you get to alternate between the simple and clean flavours of the salt-grilled meat with the richer-tasting, marinated option. 


Meat aside, seafood lovers will fancy the Atlantic Red Prawns ($56++ for five pieces). These red prawns are first marinated with gochujang, and then grilled to achieve a smoky, charred shell. But to my surprise, the prawn meat remained juicy and sweet, almost resembling shrimp sashimi. If not for the hefty price tag, I’ll urge you to give this dish a try.


I rounded my meal off with the Sot Bibimbap ($32++), served in a traditional cast iron pot of Korean short-grain rice topped with seasonal ingredients. During my visit, the seasonal toppings comprised pork belly, shimeji mushrooms, and assorted veggies, which I personally think is the best combination in a good bowl of bibimbap. It was finished with a house-made sauce that tasted sweet and mildly spicy, complementing well with the generous ingredients. 

My favourite part, though, was the short-grain rice as it soaked up the flavours of pork belly incredibly well, and was chewy and slightly sticky, reminding me of glutinous rice. Their Sot Bibimbap is ideal for sharing between two or three diners, so I recommend getting a pot to dig in with your friends. 

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And now, time for the grand finale: desserts. I heard a tiny squeal when the Hotteok ($18++) was served, and understandably so as it was the prettiest hotteok I’ve ever seen. This pan-fried rice flour pancake was brimming with cinnamon and brown sugar, then topped with burnt honey ice cream and mixed nuts.


Otherwise, for something more suitable for the weather here, try their Yuzu Makgeolli ($16++): house-made yuzu makgeolli sorbet served with Korean pear and garnished with edible flowers. You don’t really get the bitter flavours of makgeolli in this dessert thanks to the sweetness of the pear, which made it a lot easier to enjoy.


My favourite was the Koguma ($16++), starring roasted sweet potato with smoked vanilla ice cream and sweet potato chips on the side. This held complex flavours for a dessert; the sweet potato was first roasted over charcoal to make it all warm and toasty, and then the flesh was mixed with cream, creating a velvety smooth mousse. Thereafter, the mousse was piped back onto the sweet potato, along with torched sugar on top, so I enjoyed it like a creme brulee!

Ambience at GUːUM 


The first word that came to mind when I entered the restaurant was “vibey”. The dark-lit space was exactly what I imagined—modern, yet minimalist. I also liked that there was a row of seats by the bar as a couple of solo diners were having dinner at their own pace without having to face other groups of customers.


As I sat across the open kitchen concept, I enjoyed watching the head chef and his team collaborate to work fast and efficiently. You’ll hear multiple shouts of “Yes, Chef!” now and then, which adds to the fun and lively atmosphere at GU:UM.

For easy access, GU:UM is a quick four-minute walk from Maxwell MRT Station and a six-minute walk from Chinatown MRT Station.

The verdict


While I’m a tad hesitant to revisit them given that prices are steep, GU:UM is nevertheless an incredible space for special occasions. If you’re a fan of Korean food done a little differently and served in an elegant setting, I recommend you give the up-and-coming restaurant a shot.

For more food places to check out in the area, read our Lavi Taco review. Alternatively, read our D’RIM Korean Steak House review.

Address: 29 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089136
Opening hours: Tue-Thurs 5:30pm to 10:30pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am to 2:30pm, 5:30pm to 10:30pm
GU:UM is not a halal-certified eatery.

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Photos taken by Yoo Kyung and edited by Melvin Mak.
This was a media tasting at GU:UM.

GU:UM Review: Modern Korean Grill Restaurant By Michelin-Starred NAE:UM In Chinatown
  • 8/10
    GU:UM Review: Modern Korean Grill Restaurant By Michelin-Starred NAE:UM In Chinatown - 8/10


– Cosy, vibey ambience for date nights
– Food was generally delicious and of great quality
– Convenient location

– Prices are on the higher end
– A tad noisy when the crowd thickens

Recommended dish: Yukhwae Jeon ($32++), Tajima Wagyu Ribeye MBS 8 ($188++ for 280g), Sot Bibimbap ($32++), Koguma ($16++)

Address: 29 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089136

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