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.
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