Having read many excellent reviews here about this new Korean BBQ, we decided to give it a try.
Located just opposite Thapae Gate in the Old City, there is no parking outside or nearby, so it is best to park in Thapae Road and walk the short distance around the corner.
The small restaurant is nicely decorated, lit and furnished, and has a relaxing atmosphere. There were only two other diners on the Saturday evening we visited.
We were welcomed by the Korean owner, who is quite charming and explains the concept of their menu, and where the meat is sourced from.
There are really only three choices available. Pork BBQ, Beef BBQ or Pork & Beef BBQ. Each come with "unlimited" Korean side dishes, and extra vegetables and other items can be ordered for a surcharge.
We opted for the Pork & Beef BBQ, at Bt425 per person. A large bottle of Beer Leo to share was Bt100. House wine is Bt100 a glass. Extra side orders around Bt100.
The hot stone powered by gas in the centre of the table was lit, and the four side dishes were brought. These were all cold dishes, a broccoli in paprika, pickled cucumber and onion, a potato salad and the ubiquitous Korean kimchee. Rice or noodles are apparently not served with this type of meal.
Two plates of meat were brought out, with some sliced onions, mushrooms and garlic. They were then placed whole on the grill by the waitress, and after a minute or two she proceeded to cut everything up in front of us with scissors!
We had a brief and patronising explanation of rudimentary cooking techniques ("pork takes longer to cook than beef") , and then were left to try. It was also explained that, when cooked, it is traditional to wrap the meat in a lettuce leaf provided, put on some dipping sauces, roll and eat.
After a minute or two we tried the first samples, and apart from the taste of the oil the meat had been covered in, there was frankly no taste to the dish at all.
I then requested some soy sauce and chilli sauce, to try and add a little flavour. The soy sauce was poured onto the hot stone, which did enhance the taste of the rest of the meat. The chilli paste was too stiff to do anything with, and is actually a paste for curry rather than dipping.
From the first batch of meat, the pork belly was too fatty to eat, and even after leaving to cook and crisp on the hot stone for over 15 minutes, was still not crisp. The beef was very tough and chewy.
Then, we tried the second batch of meat. This time the beef was much more tender, and I cooked it together with some soy sauce, and salt and black pepper. The pork had been marinated in a rather sweet sauce, so not at all to our taste.
Finally, I asked for just a piece of beef with no oil on it, as the oil they use tastes greasy and is obviously not a good olive oil, but a cheaper vegetable or sunflower oil. This time, the beef was much better, but still, without any accompanying things to add flavour, was a rather tasteless experience.
Throughout the meal, the staff were coming back and forth to the table to regulate the hot stone, which was quite annoying.
I suggested to the owner that it would be better to provide the meat sliced, on a platter, and let people put it on the stone in small pieces to cook as they wished. She answered that, with the cuts of meat they buy, it would not look attractive if cut up and put on a plate. It certainly did not look attractive in one slice, being cut up in front of us with kitchen scissors!
Finally, a complimentary Korean "desert" was presented, which was a sweet ginger tea, and quite pleasant.
For this type of food, in this location, the price is too high. If the price comes down to Bt325 per person, and the presentation, flavourings and side dishes are enhanced, then there may be a chance to build up a decent business.
We will not return.
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