Not so long ago, Korean BBQ in Singapore was only restricted to the family style buffet restaurant called Seoul Gardens. My first taste of Hanu (한우, Korean beef) was when I visited Seoul for work. The experience was unforgettable due to the flavour and tenderness. Since then I am a big fan of Korean BBQ.
I’ve been very particular whenever I see a Korean restaurant that claims to serve premium beef. It has to recreate the experience I had back in Korea. Bornga is a leading Korean Barbecue (BBQ) restaurant chain with outlets in Korea, USA, Malaysia and Singapore. The restaurant chain is started by Korean Celebrity Chef Jong Won Paik.
A few minutes after ordering, one of the staff placed hot charcoal into the BBQ stove and pulled the exhaust pipe down. As as you may have guessed, we ordered BBQ meat! We could feel the intense heat from the hot charcoal.
Borgna serves a long tray of fresh raw vegetables for us to wrap the BBQ meats. A selection of the Ban Chan / Side Dish (반찬). More were added subsequently! And they were refillable too! There was also a tray full of fresh and crunchy assorted raw vegetables which will be used for wrapping the BBQ meat.
Their meats either have very light marinade or no marinade at all, so this is where you can taste the real flavours from the meat. Mansinchang Samgyupsal (삼겹살, literally means “three layer flesh”) is tenderised pork belly seasoned with parsley flakes, salt and pepper. You can either eat the meat on its own or dip it in sauce and wrap it with vegetables. Personally, I thought that this was just an average dish – the pork was not tasty and you can vaguely taste the deep freezing texture.
Helmed by Chef Paik Jong Won, his signature dish is the Woo Samgyup (우삼겹) – thinly sliced beef belly dressed with a special marinade. Unlike the typical Korean BBQ Bulgogi which usually appears dull after marinating for at least half a day in a dark-colours sauce, Woo Samgyup is served shortly after being doused in their unique dressing.
The thin slicing also gives a more tender texture and a more succulent flavour. Slightly dip your beef with the sauces provided, wrap it in lettuce or sesame leaf, then dunk it in your ssamjang sauce before eating the whole thing.
Japchae (잡채) is a sweet and savory dish of stir-fried glass noodles and vegetables that is popular in Korean cuisine. Their Jap Chae was good, very chewy though but the subtle flavours of sesame oil and other condiments came through as you chewed through it.
Despite the instruction on how to eat Korean BBQ and some really enthusiastic staff, the meat was subpar. I only liked the fact they did the grilling for you. The banchan was limited, and the overall experience just OK. But thanks to the service staff, I would go again to give support to their wonderful work.
1 Harbourfront Walk, # 02-123 / 124, Singapore 098585
Tel : 6376 8268
Date Visited : Apr 2016
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