Great River Korean BBQ Restaurant, Gouger Street

kim chi fried rice
kim chi fried rice – no one was allowed to touch Master 6’s egg!

date of visit: Thursday 12 October 2017

School holidays might have been wrapping up but the onslaught of activities certainly wasn’t. Master 6 had a Come’n’Try Kung Fu session in the late afternoon in the city. A perfect opportunity to meet Andy after work and head for an early meal.

As an aside – if you have school-age children, the Come’n’Try program, which runs most holidays, is excellent. There’s a range of sports on offer for children to try out and the sessions usually cost around $5.

Anyway, during the afternoon, I asked Master 6 what he’d like for dinner (and frankly, if he’d answered sushi I probably would have gone crazy!). He had a little think and came up with Korean. This did rather surprise me, but as I love Korean I was going to roll with it.

A bit of research suggested that Great River would provide us with Korean BBQ but not force us into a buffet (quite possibly my single most loathed way of serving food). I scored a fantastic park on Gouger Street and we headed in.

As Great River is Korean BBQ, the tables are set up with the tabletop grills and above every one, an extractor fan. This gives the restaurant a slightly odd look – as you have the brown wooden tables and generally muted decor, with the silver tubing of the extractor fans and the bright individual table lights.

There is an √† la carte menu at Great River but there are also ‘sets’, which serve various numbers of people. We opted for ‘Set A’ which comes in at $60. Our waiter tried to up-sell us to ‘Set B’ which she said served 3-4 people but I’m glad we went for the smaller set as we had a TON of food (and given that Master 6 can more than hold his own, I’d be recommending you err on the side of caution).

Set A came with pork belly, chicken and two types of beef, as well as a green salad, Korean fried chicken and cos lettuce for wrapping the meats in. We also ordered the kim chi fried rice (a very generous portion, topped with a fried egg) and, of course, we were served a range of pickles.

Drink ordering was a bit of a farce. Andy wisely chose a Boags, whereas I went for the Korean beer. I started by ordering a Hite. Our waiter came back – sorry, they are out of Hite. So I asked for an OB. Our waiter came back … and I ended up with a Cass. Maybe I’m unreasonable, but this is a Korean restaurant – if you’re going to list Korean beers on your drinks menu then expect that people might order them and either have them in stock or know your stock levels.

Korean BBQ grill
cook your own – an opportunity to incinerate some food!

My grizzle over and our grill plate heating up, food started arriving. Our waiter started us off with our BBQing before leaving us to it. We weren’t as expert as we might have been and a couple of the thinner pieces of beef in particular we rather overcooked (but burnt crispy edges are good!). The pork was my favourite, while Andy’s was the chicken. Although initially a bit scared of the fire from the BBQ, Master 6 quickly got into the spirit of the meal and ploughed his way through egg and rice, the cucumber pickle, and at least his fair share of the meats.

The green salad was lovely – quite simple and with a sweetish dressing but at least it wasn’t drowned in it. The highlight for me was the Korean fried chicken – small drumsticks that were a combination of sweet, salty, spicy, crispy and saucy. Despite eschewing the beef that had bone it (‘ewww, no bones!’) Master 6 enthusiastically chomped his way through the chicken, stripping the bones bare of meat … so if you have a child in tow, take baby wipes!

We thought that value for money wise, Great River wasn’t too bad. We had a ton of food, doggy-bagged our leftover rice and came out spending under $100. You can easily spend a similar amount of money on a pub dinner. The service is friendly but not particularly professional or efficient. Cooking your own food does make for a much slower meal than usual, so if you are in a rush, this is probably not the venue for you.

Also – the toilets are not the most glamorous in the neighbourhood … just keep that in mind!

Would we go again? Hmmm, not sure. I think I’d be making the effort to try out some of Adelaide’s other Korean BBQ.

Great River Korean BBQ Restaurant
103 Gouger Street
Adelaide SA 5000
phone: 08 8221 6866

Great River Korean BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chef Kim, Hazelwood Park

20151104_130356kim chi pancake – food of the gods

date of visit: Wednesday 4 November 2015

I read about Chef Kim about six months ago and even though I love Korean food (well, kimchi …) the fact that it is in Hazelwood Park meant it never made the list.

Still, it’s obviously been sitting¬†in the back of my mind percolating away, as last Wednesday it turned out I had a couple of chores to run at various ends of town and Andy suggested meeting for lunch.

He is constantly on about how poor the lunch selection in Dulwich (the suburb in which he works) is so it was a stroke of genius that saw me remember Chef Kim and float it as a contender.

Andy is not quite as enthusiastic about kimchi as I am (apparently, the idea of kimchi and rice for breakfast is not up there with the all-time great breakfasts … sooooo wrong) but he loves Korean food so we headed off to check it out.

We arrived just before one and there were a couple of biggish tables just finishing up and another table of two – so things were quiet. Wednesday lunch – who’d have thought it?

20151104_130405dumplings

At lunch the menu is a bit shorter than dinner with the grilled dishes and ‘mains’ not available, but as compensation there is a ‘lunch box’ menu. Andy opted for the spicy pork lunchbox (spicy pork, miso, rice, pickles) and I had the kimchi pancake and dumplings. We paired these with a beer for Andy and the brown rice green tea for me.

The food came out reasonably quickly (but not suspiciously so!) and the kimchi pancake got the thumbs up. Apparently, the kimchi at Chef Kim is house-made: it’s crunchy, spicy and vinegar-y so all good there. The dumplings were really tasty but they weren’t a patch on those you’ll find at Mandoo, which remains my all time dumpling favourite.

20151104_130402spicy pork lunch box

Andy’s spicy pork was, indeed spicy and also really good. I got to hoover up the miso and, for $13.80, it was a solid lunch.

The icing on the cake for us was that Chef Kim is in the Entertainment Book and our lunch set us back just $32 (it would have been about $42 otherwise).

While they were hardly under the pump, the service was attentive, efficient and friendly (that’s kind of my holy trinity), without being in your face.

If you have only a half hour for lunch, you might be a bit pressed for time to dine in at Chef Kim but … they do takeaway, so you are sorted.

I loved it there. OK – they served me a kimchi pancake. But I loved it and I have no doubt we’ll make the trip across town again to try out some dishes from the full menu.

Which means – if you live in any of the inner suburbs you should be heading to Chef Kim immediately!

Chef Kim
4 Linden Avenue
Hazelwood Park SA 5066
phone: 8338 7831

Chef Kim Korean Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mandoo

Untitled

date of visit: Friday 7 September 2012

Our last visit to Mandoo, still tucked away on Bank Street, was over a year ago and it’s been quite remiss of us to leave it such a long time between visits.

When we catch the train into work we see the chef at work first thing in the morning (and I mean about 8am) and on Friday night, come 9pm, he was still busy shaping dumplings. Clearly, the dumpling business means hard work and long hours. However, the people of Adelaide are grateful for his efforts because the teensy tiny restaurant was packed.

We had no reservation – this was a last minute dining decision (on my part, Andy claimed he wasn’t hungry). And so there we were, on a Friday night around 8pm, peering in the window and seeing just one table for two clear … but topped by a ‘reserved’ sign.

Fortunately, our mournful faces were spotted, we were beckoned inside and seated at the reserved table. Around us, there was table shuffling as more faces appeared at the window – even if you turn up without a reservation, it seems like the staff at Mandoo will bend over backwards to accommodate you. The restaurant is tiny so it’s a cosy, convivial and bustling dining experience.

No hanging around ordering – I was ready for steamed kim chi dumplings while Andy opted for fried pork dumplings. On our last visit, I noted that most dishes were priced at $9.99. Prices have gone up: our dinner came in at $25, and the dumpling dishes are now around the $12-13 mark. Hardly a lot of money – especially when the food is not only tasty but also beautifully presented.

Eight dumplings (a sane portion size that will fill hungry tummies without leaving you overwhelmed) are served with a spicy dipping sauce, a salad, cold mashed potato (this appears to be a Korean thing) and pickles. The dumplings are still well stuffed so you need not fear a burst of hot water and a burnt mouth. The kim chi dumplings have plenty of texture and flavour (OK – they have kim chi in them, it’d be very hard for them to NOT have flavour). That texture is a big part of what I really rate about these dumplings. So many dumplings are filled with a smooth, pappy mixture.

Service at Mandoo is efficient – and the dumplings come out very quickly (they are all sitting in large steamers, ready to go!), which makes it ideal if you need a quick feed on your way from A to B. I believe the restaurant is not licensed and while there are both drink fridges and tea, water is brought to the table as a matter of course, and this is good enough for me. The staff are helpful too – when I ordered the kim chi dumplings the waitress did check that I knew what I was getting myself into!

I was so pleased to return to Mandoo after a year and find it popular and busy. I was even more pleased to find the dumplings remain top notch.

If you like Korean food and would like a slower pace and a wider menu, I suggest you check out Ga Bin on Grote Street. Make sure you try the kim chi pancake there.

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