Categories
Korean

Stoneage Korean BBQ – West Ryde NSW Restaurant Review

My partner and I have a lot of Korean BBQ, but it is rare for us to do it with actual Koreans. Recognising the experience of our senior Korean colleagues HWJ and CJP (both PGY8 medically and PGY30-ish Koreanly), we put our faith in them to lead the meal.

We started off with some pork belly. During this encounter I learned about the difference between the two main types of cooking surfaces used in Korean BBQ. The above pictured grill plate, contrasted with the mesh-type grill plate pictured below, is used preferentially for high-fat cuts like pork belly. The reason for this is that it has far fewer holes for fat to escape into the fire through, reducing the frequency of flare-ups. How did I sleepwalk through life not knowing this until now?

The second part of our highly-focused Korean BBQ experience was the rib eye. The meat was fresh and highly marbled – generally a delight to eat. Our friends knew exactly what they wanted meat-wise, and stuck with it. One pork option and one beef option, and both were very good.

The marinated baby octopus was cooked on the other type of grill – the same type as the beef – that allowed greater direct contact with the heat and more evaporation. I wasn’t a big fan of this octopus, despite it having been ordered at my request. They were large babies.

I just generally love steamed egg. (But I think BBQ Biwon‘s was softer and better)

This soft tofu chilli pot ($10) was cheap (commensurate with its lack of animal protein) but otherwise not much to write home about.

I enjoyed this cold noodle soup ($10) but wonder if in Korean culture these are not meant to be shared. One of my colleagues certainly acted like it was the personal order of the other colleague, but in the end no one stopped me from taking some. Actually very good value.

Other Feelings
The banchan was good, plentiful, and quickly resupplied. The grilles were swapped out meticulously, so as not to leave too much burnt char on them for too long. Service can therefore be considered to be quite good. We paid a total of $55 per person for a very big feed for four humans.

Would I come back? Why not. The nearby Juwon Butchery is also a great place to pick up some wagyu Korean BBQ cuts to take home for a repeat meal a few days down the track.

Stoneage Korean BBQ
1B Chatham Rd, West Ryde NSW 2114
0401 167 688

Categories
Korean

BBQ Biwon – Strathfield NSW Korean Restaurant Review

There was neither rhyme nor reason behind our choice to eat at BBQ Biwon amongst the 50 other Korean restaurants in Strathfield earlier this week. We just happened to luck into a good one with good prices.

Banchan selection was extensive. I was today years old when I discovered that I am allergic to all forms of raw crustacean – I ended up cooking the Yangnyeom Gejang on the grill instead.

The steamed egg was something I was keen to spend a few dollars on, but surprisingly came free with the BBQ meats. It was light and fluffy on the top, with the internal components just a little bit more textured. It felt warming and wholesome and reminded me of the steamed egg that I would make as a Asian child in Western Sydney.

While I’m told that BBQ Biwon’s BBQ sets are quite good value, we found that no set had a range that encompassed all three main animals – beef, pork, and chicken. As such we decided to order our portions individually. We had the Wagyu Rib Fingers ($27), Pork Belly (6 pieces for $21) and Soy Marinated Chicken Thigh ($22). Our first three slices of pork belly were placed onto our grill and following that we were essentially left to our own devices. The meat was of a normal quality for the price – the fact that the rib finger came from an alleged Wagyu cow made no difference to its taste. The pork belly was served with leaves, garlic, and green chilli pepper for wrapping.

The Beef Rib and Cabbage Stew ($18) was very large and filling. There was a huge amount of meat that we weren’t even able to finish. The flavour of the soup was good, and it was very nice and warming. It made me think of the difference between what Korean kids and non-Korean kids must think when their parents tell them they’re having soup for dinner. Korean soup is just four steps above a standard soup. I could totally recommend this soup alone as a quick and cheap and very filling meal.

VERDICT
4/5. I can recommend BBQ Biwon . We had a good and reasonably priced meal.

BBQ Biwon
42 The Boulevarde, Strathfield NSW 2135
(02) 8068 1221

Categories
Korean

Hanok Korean BBQ – Wollongong NSW Restaurant Review

The state opening up hospitality and businesses to COVID-19 vaccinated patrons only really makes sense if these venues are doing their due diligence in checking that their patrons are indeed vaccinaed. It always makes me feel uncomfortable a venue, which has reopened under strict legal conditions to minimise the spread and harm of COVID-19 within the community fails to check my vaccine status on entry. It’s not that checking would affect whether or not I myself would be let it, it’s that it introduces the possibility that those dining around me might have slipped in unvaccinated. The imaginary bubble of safety has burst.

Banchan was served with our waitress naming each individual side dish, something I’d not experienced before. Unfortunately no moves were made to refill these, despite them sitting empty for some time.

The marinated beef short rib was rock solid, as were the wagyu intercostals and pork jowl. While I can’t fault the quality of the meat on offer, it was clear looking at the prices that they were charging a bit more than you would expect to pay at the average Korean BBQ restaurant in Sydney.

The steamed egg rated low on my list of previously eaten steamed eggs. I didn’t feel like it was as soft as it could’ve been, but my partner could not pick the difference.

OVERALL VIBE
I think the overall vibe of the place is that the food is fine, but you would expect to either pay less or get more from a comparable restaurant in Sydney. In fact, BBQ Biwon in Strathfield (link will go live in like March 2022, the review is queued) will actually give you your steamed egg on the house if you order enough BBQ. Either way, I’m not pleased about the lack of COVID-19 safety.

Hanok Korean BBQ Wollongong
W119/200 Keira St, Wollongong NSW 2500, Australia
+61 433 962 959

Categories
Korean

678 Korean BBQ – Haymarket Sydney CBD NSW Restaurant Review

We ate at the Haymarket branch of 678 Korean BBQ on a Thursday night after my partner was jealous of me eating Korean BBQ with my colleagues from work the night before.

We thought that it was quite expensive for what you get. The side dishes are quite limited and were never refilled. I have heard that the more money you spend the greater the variety of side dishes but we spent $80 for 2 people and got barely anything.

To add insult to injury, by the time we had arrived they had already run out of many of the beef items.

CLOSING OPINION

Overall quite disappointing and I wouldn’t come back of my own accord.

2/5. EXPENSIVE BUT WHY

678 Korean BBQ Restaurant (Haymarket)
Level 1/396 Pitt St, Haymarket NSW 2000

Categories
Korean

Danjee – Sydney CBD Korean Restaurant Review

I’ve been trying to go to Danjee since July 2020, when one of my Korean colleagues mentioned it as one of the best Korean places east of Strathfield. It took me until December 2020 to get there, at which point Danjee was still serving its very limited COVID-19 menu.

Danjee’s website would not let us make a booking for lunch as it only allows bookings at least four hours in advance, however when we called they told us that we could just walk in. When we arrived we found only one other group at Danjee during our Saturday lunch sitting – probably a bad performance indicator for the business, and probably due to the confusing text on the website.

Access to Danjee is through a little suspicious-looking alleyway off George St. The dining hall we were led to features normal wooden tables with no evidence of BBQ facilities, though this is meant to be a BBQ restaurant. I later discovered that there are two whole other sections of the restaurant – one indoor and one outdoor – that feature BBQ facilities – that had been closed due to the pandemic.

Side dishes

These were our side dishes. They were all pretty good, but they weren’t refilled at all throughout our meal.

Hot stone bibimbap with beef ($20)

The hot stone bibimbap with beef ($20) was good and fresh, but didn’t really come with much beef. The beef it did come with was in t he form of mince, and easily lost when the dish was all mixed up together.

Mul Bi-Naeng Myeon (buckwheat noodles with spicy sauce in chilled soup)

The Mul Bi-Naeng Myeon (buckwheat noodles with spicy sauce in chilled soup – $18) was alright. This was my partner’s first experience with Korean cold noodles, and she was initially taken aback by the floating pieces of ice, although she eventually grew to like it as the ice mielted I really wished that they would’ve provided some scissors for the noodles – without them this dish was quite difficult to eat. As we were settling our bill our waiter asked for our opinion on this dish. He said that he himself wasn’t a big fan, as he didn’t think that the soup tasted like traditional naengmyeon, and asked us to compare the flavour with that of other restaurants. Not being a huge naengmyeon connoisseur myself I gave some awfully unhelpful but honest advice – I told him that I thought the flavour was fine, but I would’ve loved a bit more meat. He looked taken aback. Evidently two slices of meat is the gold standard.

Danjee’s Korean BBQ offerings are unfortunately all cooked in the main kitchen before being brought out to the dining tables. There is currently no option for at-table cooking for lunch, and in fact we had to pay a premium for chef cooked meat. We had the LA Karubi ($21) and the Pork Belly ($220. Both were fine, though I thought the portions were quite small for the price paid. There was no leaf – lettuce, sesame, or otherwise – that was offered and it really felt like quite a barebones and negative BBQ experience.

VERDICT
Danjee bills itself as “Korean Fine Dining”, though I find it hard to appreciate any “fine” elements to it. What I found at Danjee was quite middling food, poor service, and a disappointing stinginess on meaty goods. I would hesitate to come back to Danjee as is.

3/5

Danjee
1-7 Albion Pl, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 8084 9041

Danjee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato