Introduction by Amanda Low:
OK! I do have a small confession to make before we dive into reviewing the food at Kimchi Korean Restaurant. We had heard and read so much about this restaurant (or rather the owner’s good looks) from fellow food blogger friends and blogs beforehand.
“Handsome, Korean Celebrity like boss” says DanielFoodDiary. “Kpop boybank material (swoon factor – high) says PinkyPiggu. “Devastatingly handsome owner” says Nat from RubbishEatRubbishGrow.
So you kinda get the picture now right? I must say I was secretly, probably an open secret by now, so looking forward to this food tasting.
When we asked Haden Hee the owner of Kimchi restaurant to describe his eatery in 15 or less words; he says this – “KimChi Korean Restaurant serves authentic hometown Korean dishes in posh settings at very affordable prices.”
Here’s our 15 words description – KimChi restaurant is a surprisingly refined yet inexpensive place serving authentic and delicious Korean cuisine. Now back to Sally on describing the food.
Ma Sam-Gae-Tang ($18.90++). A steaming ginseng chicken broth complete with half a black spring chicken, Chinese chive, pine nuts and jujube red dates. For a seemingly straight forward broth it really packed a punch thanks to the earthy goodness of the ginseng- it certainly wasn’t lacking in depth of flavour and held it’s own against the signature Korean spiciness we experienced in many of the other dishes sampled.
It is clear why Koreans view this as a ‘cure-all’ medicinal dish, I could feel myself perking up after the very first mouthful. A humble yet comforting way to start and certainly one of my favourites.
Ya Chae Dolsot Bap ($12.90++). Upon arrival at our table this vegetable bibimbap looked bright and appetising and I was looking forward to the salty heat that a traditional bibimbap offers. Whilst it was pleasing to the eye, it lacked the flavour I associate with this most famous of Korean dishes and the rice was also a little too soft for my personal taste.
Kimchi Jeon ($11.90++). As a huge kimchi fan I was looking forward to it’s appearance in the form of a pancake, though by the time it did reach the table we had presumably eaten so much chilli the flavour of this particular one fell a little flat.
That said, it had a surprisingly satisfying crunch around the edges and was beautifully soft in the middle. Dipping it in yang yeom sauce almost brought it back to life, though next time I will definitely be eating this first to ensure it’s not overpowered.
Wagyu Beef Short Rib ($34.00++). Perhaps our most indulgent order of the night were these beef short ribs, though they were plentiful and presented beautifully. The sweetness of the kalbi (Korean bbq sauce) marinade balanced out and complimented the rich fattiness of the meat perfectly.
The beef itself whilst tender was also a little chewy, that aside this dish is a definite crowd pleaser.
Jap Chae ($8.80++). A simple yet satisfying dish of glass noodles stir fried with vegetables. I found this version to be quite sweet and wet, pleasant enough but not what I would typically expect of the dish. The vegetables offered a crunchy and colourful contrast to the noodles, which I enjoyed, but overall I think this dish works best with less sauce.
Gun Mandu ($3.00++). Quite frankly, if something is fried, in my book you can’t really go wrong. These pork dumplings were cooked perfectly and satiated my fried food craving for another day. If there was a little bit more pork filling to really fatten up these bad boys I could eat them all day long. Delicious by themselves or dipped in Yang Yeom sauce.
Nakji Seafood Dduk Bokgi ($49.50++ serves 2-4 people). This dish forms part of the new menu at Kimchi and is one of several Dduk Bokgi’s available. It’s really a Budae jjigae and Dduk Bokgi all in one. Originating from the period just after the end of the Korean war, Budae Jjigae is also affectionately referred to as ‘army stew’. The story goes that American soldiers left surplus food at army bases that locals utilised and incorporated with more familiar ingredients to create a hearty meal.
The result? An unusual combination of, amongst other things, spam, chilli and kimchi. Reminiscent of a Chinese steamboat, this dish is presented in two parts. A spicy broth that is left to boil over a gas burner on our table, and a selection of ingredients including vegetables, noodles, spam and, in our case, seafood to add to the broth manually when ready.
This spicy seafood stew is robust in flavour and filling, a real feast for up to four people and therefore excellent value for money.
We wrapped up our Korean feast with two of the softest scoops of handmade ice cream ($9.00++) I’ve tasted. The Yuzu scoop was fresh, tangy and a perfect palate cleanser. Whilst the black sesame scoop was milky with a subtle nutty finish. Both were served with dehydrated fruits and a scattering of seeds and flaked almonds. A triumphant way to end our meal.
Conclusion by Amanda Low:
So we left the best to the last simply cos we want all of you to read our article till the end. Or perhaps you had already scrolled down to read this conclusion haha? Kimchi restaurant is now on our favourite Korean restaurants list simply because the food is hearty yet delicious, good quality ingredients yet value for money and you get to enjoy the food in a comfortable setting without the overbearing oily smell of a typical BBQ restaurant.
Last but not least, Ladies, please take note! The owner, Haden ( with heart pounding factor of 9/10) is single & available! We say quickly head over to Kimchi Restaurant for some Korean fare soon #MaiTuLiao!
Expected Damage : $30-$50 per pax