Maru Japanese and Korean Restaurant

takeaway gyoza

date of visit: Saturday 26 November 2011

We actually had dinner more or less all lined up and at the last moment we decided we just couldn’t be stuffed cooking. What to do, what to do … pizza? fish and chips? Neither of those options was really taking our fancy but then I remembered seeing Maru from the bus one afternoon.

Maru (no website, but you can see the menu on UrbanSpoon) is a relatively new Japanese and Korean restaurant in the small group of shops just outside Flinders Hospital. It’s tiny which is worth bearing in mind if you’re planning a visit. In our case, we were planning on takeaway, which was very fortunate because if we’d turned up at 7pm on a Saturday night there’s a good chance we would have been turned away.

The menu does a good job of covering the Japanese and Korean classics: sushi and sashimi, tempura, bento boxes, noodles and (most importantly if you’re me!) bibimbap. We ordered steamed gyoza, bibimbap and the spicy pork stone pot – obviously not served in a stone pot for takeaway purposes! This came to the princely sum of $34.

Having been pleased with the cheerful phone manner of whoever took my order, it was great to arrive at the restaurant and receive the same level of service. Our food was ready (always a plus!) and off I trotted, my stomach rumbling away as I drove home.

The gyoza, which we scoffed quite quickly, were good. They look rather anaemic in the photo (blame that on being steamed, but we really didn’t think that fried would survive the take away journey) but they were tasty, with plenty of spring onion.

Main course wise, I ploughed through my bibimbap like a woman possessed. It was great – all the vegetables were fresh and crunchy, and the supplied chilli sauce (gochujang) was really hot. Of course, not being in a hot stone pot did mean the rice lacked its crispy base but if you’re too lazy to go to the restaurant to eat you can hardly complain!

Andy’s spicy pork stone pot was also good (I did try some but it was after I’d started slathering my bibimbap in gochujang so my taste buds might have been a little fried …). While nowhere near as spicy as my chilli sauce laced bibimbap it did have some heat to it and it was such a massive portion that he had the remainder for lunch the next day.

Hopefully you can tell that we really enjoyed our takeaway and actually eating in at the restaurant is definitely on the cards.

Maru Japanese and Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

3/4 Rupert Avenue (at the entrance to Flinders Medical Centre)
Bedford Park SA 5042
phone 08 8374 3668

Ga Bin Korean Restaurant

Chilli Pork Set

date of visit: Friday 29 April

Adelaide seems to be a bit awash with Korean restaurants at the moment. I’m not spending as much time in town so I’m reliant on my partner to report on the rapidly changing restaurant scene (which means I get to hear about the restaurants he wants to visit). We’re both big fans of Korean food so it’s hardly surprising that Ga Bin rated an early mention.

The restaurant is in an old furniture sales room on the corner of Morphett and Grote streets. The location and the large building make for an imposing space and it’s really lovely to see that the owners haven’t been tempted to cram in tables. The restaurant is, however, choc full of hard surfaces and right angles and I suspect if it were full it would be hard to hear yourself think.

Fortunately for me, grumpy old lady that I am, Friday lunch time is a quiet time for Ga Bin and our table of three was just one of a handful so things were quiet and we could have a civilised conversation.

The main menu is actually a mix of Chinese and Korean dishes. I’m never sure if this is a good or bad thing. Personally, I like to see restaurants have a short menu that makes sense and is cooked well. A menu that offers “garlic flavored [sic] fried chicken”, “garlic flavored [sic] fried king prawns” and “garlic flavored [sic] fried pork” is just a bit disturbing. But I guess that a broad menu offering some Korean and some Chinese dishes is one that might have wider appeal. There’s no Korean BBQ, so no danger of having to cook your dinner yourself!

We all ended up ordering from the lunch specials menu: I chose the chilli pork set, Andy the bulgogi set and the third party chose the shrimp fried rice (all under $10). We shared dumplings to start. The dumplings came with individual portions of dipping sauce which was a good touch. There was a complaint that the shrimp fried rice could have contained more prawns. However, the two lunch sets hit the mark. I thought I won with the chilli pork but Andy disagreed and was happy with his bulgogi. The lunch sets come with all manner of tasty sides: various pickles (of course), rice, soup, tofu, omelette. I found it all perfectly proportioned.

Our visit was swift. The restaurant wasn’t busy so we were served extremely promptly and the food came out quickly. As it was lunch and there were other things to do (people to see and so on) the fact that we were in and out in about an hour can be seen as a positive. Anyone who works nearby can nip in for lunch without worrying about stern looks on their return to the office.

I’d definitely return for lunch and I’d be happy to check out the main menu over a casual dinner. Ga Bin fits in with much of the food scene around Gouger and Grote Streets but it doesn’t strike me as being a venue for a slow, intimate meal. Ga Bin is definitely a venue where you need to make up your own mind: if you like Korean food you had best check it out while it is not too busy.

Ga Bin
144 Grote Street
Adelaide SA 5000
phone: 08 8231 9996

Ga Bin on Urbanspoon



date of visit:  Tues 1 March 2011
most recent visit:  Friday 7 September 2012

We’ve been enthusiastic in the past about Grote Street’s Dumpling King. You get a huge pile of dumplings for not a lot of cash.

However, Andy and I are also keen on Korean food (in particular, I’m a big fan of kim chi) so Mandoo, on Bank Street, has been on our radar for quite a while.

Mandoo are Korean dumplings and this tiny restaurant focuses almost exclusively on just that (there’s bibimbap available, if you’re not in a dumpling frame of mind).

We arrived at 6pm and this early start made our booking somewhat redundant, but if you want to go at a later time or on a more popular night of the week, booking could well be prudent. The restaurant also seems to do a pretty sharp takeaway trade.

It didn’t take long for me to decide on the steamed kim chi dumplings, and Andy followed suit. Our dining companion ordered the beef bibimbap. Pretty much all the main courses are priced at $9.99, and the dumplings all come in serves of eight, accompanied by pickles, sauce, salad and cold mash (which tastes a lot better than it sounds).

The dumplings are made in front of you, while the bibimbap appears from a kitchen at the rear of the restaurant. I was impressed by my dumplings on several fronts. Although steamed they are well enough stuffed and sealed so that biting in to them does not risk a mouthful of too hot water (something I do find a problem at Dumpling King). Also, the filling is finely chopped but has not turned in to a paste so there’s plenty of texture. The heat of the kim chi dumplings was good – especially when dipped in the sauce. Additional sauces are available (including gochujang, if the food isn’t spicy enough for you). I found the eight dumplings a good size portion – far more manageable than portions at Dumpling King.

Both Andy and I were agreed that while the food is more expensive, and portions smaller, than at Dumpling King, Mandoo is a better experience – from the tables and service, through to the food.

I only wish I lived in the city because I suspect I’d be having takeaway from Mandoo quite a lot …

Shop 3, 23 Bank St
Adelaide, 5000
phone 08 8231 3303

Mandoo Korean Dumplings on Urbanspoon