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 à 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

Sambal Chicken

Sambal chicken

Straya (that’s ‘Australia’ to most of the English speaking world …) Day is just around the corner and here in Adelaide we’re looking at a cracking long weekend, with temperatures in the mid to high 20s. Perfect for … BBQ.

I found this chicken skewer/kebab recipe relatively recently and as sambal oelek is one of my all time favourite condiments I had to try it out promptly. We had ourselves all planned to BBQ this and then … the heavens opened. And while Andy would have been (mostly) dry while doing the cooking, the hot plate itself was so wet that Andy doubted he’d even get things hot enough to dry it out, let alone cook on it.

And no one wants a wet kebab.

Thank goodness for grills! Even though it was really a bit hot in the house to be turning on the grill, we had no option. There was no incentive to start messing around with skewers – we just cooked the chunks of meat and off we went!

You don’t need to be too fussy over quantities and we didn’t bother following the original recipe’s instructions about boiling up left over marinade and so on. If you are doing BBQ food you want bang for buck, not lots of messing around!

This, along with the Xinjiang lamb skewers, is definitely going to be on our BBQ go-to list!

Sambal Chicken


  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sambal oelek
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely grated
  • approx 500g chicken thigh fillets


  1. Chop the chicken thigh fillets into skewer size chunks.
  2. Mix all the other ingredients together and marinate the chicken for at least an hour - overnight is always best.
  3. Thread chicken on to skewers and cook on a hot BBQ (or grill). Serve with salad.

BBQ Lamb Skewers


Here in Adelaide we’re having something of a ‘hot’ week … today we hit 44.2°C and I spent the morning at a local pool wearing out my small child. It appears to have worked, as he then slept for over a couple of hours, which is the most sensible activity for pretty much anyone at the moment!

It’s actually too hot to contemplate barbecuing (we tried last night and Andy melted into a little puddle …) but by the time Saturday rolls around, this weather will be a distant memory and summer will be back on an even keel with temperatures in the high twenties/low thirties and that is perfect BBQ weather.

I have had this recipe tagged for ages – but wasn’t able to make it because we’ve had something of a time tracking down szechuan pepper. Andy sourced me some for Christmas so you can now expect to see szechuan pepper in almost everything.

The original recipe calls these Xinjiang skewers. On reading the recipe, I thought it sounded remarkably Uyghur like (yes, my whole one Uyghur restaurant experience qualified me to have that thought!) and it turns out that Xinjiang (or, more formally, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) is the province in China in which most Uyghur live.

There you go – recipes and a bit of geography/politics to boot!

Tone down (or dial up) the chilli or szechuan pepper to suit. We found that the quantities given worked well (and weren’t so spicy that our toddler couldn’t make a fair first of things either). And, of course, you can always substitute chicken (or other BBQ friendly meat) for the lamb.

The marinade has the bonus of being extremely quick and easy to make and versatile. It is also great to make ahead to take to BBQs – beats supermarket snags with almost no effort!

We’ve given this recipe a couple of outings already. The first time we made it, we had no skewers (long story) so there was no point in photographing it. It would have been ‘lamb on a plate’. For that – see my interpretation (via Elizabeth David) of the Greek arni souvlaki.

Don’t want to print? Download the lamb skewers recipe as a pdf!

BBQ Lamb Skewers


  • 1 kg lamb shoulder, cut into large bite sized chunks
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper (as freshly ground as possible)
  • 1 tsp ground szechuan pepper
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 tbsp peanut oil (or other neutral flavoured oil)
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely crushed
  • salt to taste


  1. Combine all the ingredients (bar the lamb) to make a marinade, and then mix the lamb through with your hands, ensuring that it's evenly coated with the marinade.
  2. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate for as long as possible - preferably overnight but if you're in a real hurry, half an hour will do.
  3. Heat a grill or BBQ and thread the cubes of lamb onto skewers. If using bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them for at least an hour before using so that they don't splinter and don't catch on fire!
  4. Cook the skewers, turning frequently, until the lamb is done to your liking.
  5. Serve with plenty of salad.