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Thursday, 15 August 2013

Dae Jang Kum

Friday's with Mrs Foodblogger are reserved as movie night, we ran late (our very own running joke) and had to skip dinner to make the session. We watched "Now you see me" which finished at 11:30pm, well worth the time spent, a great movie, but we were famished. 

Late night eateries are hard to come by, but the one area in Sydney bustling late at night is Chinatown in the Haymarket area. Most establishments stay open to the wee hours of the night each weekend, Goulburn street happens to be common haunt for us, having several eateries in close vicinity, we walked around and decided to chose an old favourite, Dae Jang Kum.

Korean Barbecue has spread throughout the world and with Sydney having a large Korean population its not surprising the number of restaurants that have popped up. Korean BBQ eateries generally grill various meats such as beef, pork, chicken and seafood. The guests have a grill built into the table or a portable grill placed on their table where they can cook their own meat.

This is a very social activity, barbecuing without having to clean up afterwards, not a bad concept. So we walked in late on Friday night, to a packed restaurant, awake and busy and bustling with sounds, smells and atmosphere.

As you walk in

Aloe Drink $4 ,  Coke - $4
We settled into a back corner of the restaurant peering over the menu and ordered two drinks whilst debating tonights delicacy's. Aloe drink is very common place in most asian restaurants, for anyone who hasn't tried, you're really missing out!! Its a sugar water blend with small pieces of Aloe floating in the mix, some of the Aloe flavour is infused in the drink, they have a very subtle taste, best way to describe the taste is to get a kleenex that's infused with aloe and have a sniff, I guarantee you'll love it.

We took our time and 20 minutes later we finally decided on a combination to satisfy both of our cravings.

Whilst waiting on the mains and the BBQ plate to warm up we were given the "Banchan", this literally translates to side dishes, with our order we received 5 sides and also sauces.

Banchan - complimentary with BBQ
This included several dishes, unfortunately the menu nor our waiter could fully communicate what each was, but we managed to eat our way to discovery. Our favourites were the pasta with coleslaw, on the the bottom right side and next to it the seaweed was also very good, there was also a tofu and kimchi dish, and a few others.

Grilled cheese oysters - $16 for 6 pieces

We ordered oysters to start the meal. A simple dish, Oysters + Cheese + Grill, and viola, Grilled cheese oysters. The cheese helped take away the initial saltiness oysters have, but I still really can't stand it! Mrs Foodblogger gave me a handy tip at that point, if engaged in something distracting, like an interesting conversation or a crying baby, you unconsciously forget about the saltiness.
Grudgingly I admitted it, it actually worked. When talking to her and eating, the oysters really did taste better. A insight she picked up watching Masterchef.

Combination A - $49, includes beef, pork, and chicken
Duck - $18,  10 non marinated pieces
Our main course were the two BBQ platters. We initially chose Combination C, at $59 it included several seafood items to grill, but at the recommendation of our waiter we chose Combination A $49, this included marinated chicken, thin slices of Wagyu beef, boneless beef rib fillet, beef sirloin (3 large pieces joined together) pork belly and some carrot slices. Our favourite dish though was also ordered, a platter of Duck, we've had this in the past, and it was delectable.

Mrs Foodblogger cooking our midnight feast

Try turn occasionally, not to often so the meat gets a chance to get slightly charred
Just like a traditional BBQ you place your meat on the grill and cook to your liking. Some Korean restaurants provide wood chips to place under the meat to smoke, this would give it a smoky flavour but the grills at Dae Jang Kum are gas based so don't give off any smoke, this is to keep the inside clean and avoid having ventilation above each table.

Mrs Foodblogger and I prefer our meat a little rare, but the meats generally take 5 to 10 minutes each, depending on the thickness.

Cutting into bite size pieces

Making my lettuce and beef sandwich :)

Once the meat is cooked to your liking, the 'Banchan' (sides) can be used to enhance the flavour of the meat. You can use any of the dipping sauces or as above, wrap around the meat itself. Its recommended though to cut the meat into bite size pieces, as to make it more eater friendly.
There were several options, seaweed was great with the chicken but my favorite was  the lettuce, wrapping the chicken or beef in the lettuce cut out the oiliness of the meat and allows you to enjoy it without the taste of fat lingering on your tongue.

Dae Jang Kim has a good level of service, the waiters were attentive and offered a helping hand, the ambience was also suited to the restaurant, alive but not loud, bright but not distracting, the perfect balance.
The secret of a good Korean BBQ is the meat, some places do offer cheaper prices or fancier gadgets, but at the end of the day the food isn't going to taste better due to lighting and ambience, Dae Jang Kim has some of the best cuts of meat I've tasted in Sydney for a while, it made me think that I was the Master Chef of BBQ. The cause though was the high quality of the meat, the price for the platter is well justified in my opinion. Between the two of us we still couldn't finish the meat, there was large quantities of beef and also a few oysters that remained untouched.

We walked out at about 330am in the morning, three solid hours of quality time with the Mrs and food, couldn't ask for a better way to wrap up a week!

Happy Eating

S & S

Phone:  02 9211 0890

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