Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Korean BBQ @ Bulgogi Brothers, Pavilion KL

Finally, we managed to find time after work to stop by at Pavilion for some Korean BBQ at Bulgogi Brothers before we head to Isetan to do some last-minute CNY shopping.  I am a fan of Korean food and after numerous times staring into Bulgogi Brothers while waiting for my turn at Din Tai Fung, I finally get a chance to experience it myself.

Originating from the Gang-Nam district in Seoul, South Korea, Bulgogi Brothers, as the name suggests, specializes in Korean cuisine and bulgogi - marinated barbecued meat.

The first to greet us is the Oksusu Cha, which is corn tea, a traditional Korean tea made from boiled roasted corn kernels.  Loaded with Vitamin E, this tea is good for those with high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney problems, as well as aids digestion.  This lightly, browned tea is quite mild and slightly sweet, with a soft roasted, corn flavour.  Sometimes, it tasted like roasted brown rice tea and sometimes, it tasted like sweetcorn soup - a bit confusing at first.  Took me a while to get use to the acquired taste of okusu cha, but overall, it is reasonably okay.

As with any Korean cuisine, we are served with 6 different banchan or side dishes.  The presentation of the banchan are quite unique and are very different from the more traditional way of serving.

1.  Spicy spinach, pumpkin mash and sweetened lotus root slices
The cold, spicy spinach, mixed with sesame seeds, were very soft and tasted a bit sweet.  I love the smooth and sweet pumpkin mash the most, maybe because of the texture and the sweetness.  The lotus root slices were a bit too soft for my liking, but KS adored this sweet appetizer (which I happily left it for him to finish).

2.  Cabbage kimchi, cold kangkung with sweet soy sauce and radish kimchi
Among the three, the cold kangkung were our favourite.  This unique appetizer used sweet soy sauce as the base for the vegetable.  The sweetness and the saltiness balanced very well, while the kangkung, which has been cooked until soft, was cut nicely into short strips.  The cabbage kimchi is a bit milder, and judging from the colour, is not very spicy or sour, but defintiely better tasting than those served elsewhere.  I barely touched the radish kimchi, so couldn't comment much.

Bulgogi Brothers also provide some complimentary snacks - sweet potatoes, corn and edamame (soybeans) - to munch while we wait for our mains to be served.  Boy, the sweet potatoes and corn were very fresh and sweet.

Not to forget the refillable basket of vegetables to go along with the BBQ.  The large sticks of cucumber and carrot reminded me of Bugs Bunny - a bit too large for my liking.

For the grill, we ordered the Gwangyangsik Bulgogi (RM 45.90) which is 200 grams of thinly sliced seasoned Australian beef with leeks, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and onions.  All presented nicely on a plate.  In my opinion, this serving is enough for 2 person to share and to go along with other noodles/rice dishes.

Unlike most BBQ, the Gwangyangsik Bulgogi is more like a stir-fried BBQ meat.  The waiter skillfully cooked each ingredient on the hotplate, flipping and stir-frying the meat before finally, using the white-bread to soak up the excess oil.

The meat was tender and was filled with the fragrance of the leeks.  The taste is quite light as there were barely much strong marinate in it, so you can taste the natural sweetness and flavours of the beef.  Very nice. If you want more flavours, just add the seasonings (pepper & salt, sweet soy sauce or spicy bean paste) to the meat before popping into the mouth.

A well-known Korean dish that cannot be missed is the Chicken Bibimbap (RM 26.90), a rice dish mixed with spicy chicken and a variety of vegetables, topped with a raw egg and served on a hot stone bowl.  It also comes with a very nice bowl of soybean sprout soup, which has a lovely sweet taste of the soybean sprouts and flavourful.  It was so good that I was quite reluctant to share with KS :P

Again, the waiter stirred and mixed the rice properly so that the heat from the hot stone bowl is transferred to every inch of the rice.  Then, carefully, he plate it for us.

The bibimbap was generally quite spicy, which I quite enjoyed.  However, it was slightly too wet, maybe from the egg, leaving the rice quite sticky.  Flavour-wise, I think it is okay although I find it a bit mild.

Overall, the meal was satisfying.  The ingredients used were fresh, so it did taste nice.  It was so filling, that we couldn't even ask for seconds to the banchan.

Towards the end of the meal, we had a complimentary cold, sweet peach drink.  This is something different as we used to be given a sweet rice drink in other Korean restaurants.  As you put closer towards the face, you can smell the light fragrance of peaches.  I quite like it as it was not too sweet, and acts as a palate cleanser.

The service at Bulgogi Brothers was tremendously good.  From the start to the end, all we had to do was just sit back like kings and be served, from the pot straight to our plates.  Plus, they were very accommodating.  That could explain why I had a lot of time to take pictures too.

Right after we paid the bill, we were presented with a lovely thank you note from our friendly waiter.  Although it was just a simple note, it was so warm and sweet.  We left with not only a satisfied stomach, but a happy mood too.  Makes us wanna come back for another round.

Bulgogi Brothers
Lot 6.01.03, Level 6
Pavilion KL Shopping Mall
No. 168, Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur

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