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

Gaucho’s Argentinian Restaurant, Gouger Street

20150820_183706Disclaimer: I was a guest at the dinner to launch the new menu

Like many people – I knew of Gaucho’s but had never actually been. I’m not entirely sure why – it has a solid and long lived reputation and I love steak. But the allure of the shiny and new always gets in the way, I guess.

So when I received an invitation to the new menu launch, I was there – like the proverbial rat up a pump.

The executive summary (TLDR) is that YOU SHOULD GO. If you haven’t been before – go.

If you haven’t been for a while – go. If you went last week – maybe give it a month or so before heading back.

As is probably quite evident, I go to a fair few blogger/media events and quite often how well they work depends a lot on the venue ‘getting it right’. This is rather broad (and vague and may be the subject of a future post) but on this occasion, Gaucho’s got everything bang on. I guess that’s 30 years of experience in the business for you.

Our group of around 20 (ish – I didn’t do an exact head count) was seated in Gaucho’s back room stretching across one wall. We had a short introduction before moving on to the serious business of both food and wine. Food wise we were treated to a spread of dishes that covered new and old on the menu.

Now – a word of warning. You may be aware that Argentina is a big beef producing (and eating) country. That would be correct and it is very fair to say that Gaucho’s menu reflects this. It is meat, meat and more meat. And then some fish and shellfish. If you’re a vegetarian be prepared for an extremely limited choice. As in – two dishes. 20150820_183407

We started with bread and olives. Gaucho’s olives are finished off in-house and marinated in chilli, paprika, lime and tequila. They are served warm. And they are delicious. You get the warmth and spiciness of the tequila softened by the richness of the olives. Good stuff.

Then the dishes really started coming. Picada con berenjenas en escabeche is a charcuterie platter, including ox tongue, prepared in house, along with pickled eggplant and pickles. I loved that this included the delicious house pressed ox tongue (in my opinion there is not enough offal on menus in Adelaide). We also had the empanadas (a vegetarian option is available) as well as the baked provolone cheese and some chorizo.


Of course, being essentially a steak house the star of the meal was the bife de chorizo. From Riverine in NSW (hats off to Gaucho’s for including the provenance of so many of its meats) and aged for 42 days, this is described on the menu as a ‘New York strip steak’. You can see from the photo that it is a dead ringer for a sirloin (porterhouse) and when I had a google, it appears that New York strip and sirloin are indeed the same thing. It was beautifully cooked and served, as you can see, with just a wedge of lemon. As this is a mere (!) 450g you might find it a bit much to demolish on your own, but something I’d definitely recommend sharing. You can order additional sauces for your steak but it’s so good you don’t really need anything (except maybe a touch of the chimichurri that’s on the table …). 20150820_185834

We were also treated to Gaucho’s new paella. Gaucho’s is famous for its oysters and Beerenberg has now partnered with Gaucho’s so you can buy both the Diablo sauce (used for the signature ostras del diablo) and Chimichurri sauce in supermarkets around Adelaide. The paella came with plenty of oysters, squid and other seafood and did a fantastic job of showcasing that Gaucho’s does something other than a mean steak.


It’s not surprising that all of this did a solid job of filling us up so we didn’t really need dessert. But after a little pause, out of the kitchen came churros to share. You can never go wrong with deep fried batter served with salted caramel sauce!

For me – the meats were the absolute stand out of this meal. I have recommended Gaucho’s several times since and I am planning to head back as soon as one particular friend visits from interstate. The food was great, the staff were efficient and friendly and the whole dinner just worked.

Gaucho’s might not be the newest, trendiest kid on the block but its years of experience really shows. A definite thumbs up!

91 Gouger Street
Adelaide SA 5000
phone: 08 8231 2299

Ryo’s Noodles, Gouger Street

20150317_185607a rather massive bowl of spicy noodles

Disclaimer: I was a guest at a blogger dinner at Ryo’s Noodles

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a dinner at Ryo’s Noodles on Gouger Street. Being a die-hard carb junkie I had no choice but to attend. However, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve been to Japan but once. And that ‘once’ was a lay-over at Narita Airport. I was really lucky in that I was travelling with a friend with a strong command of Japanese and we spent an excellent night out in Narita eating eel and drinking beer. But that is where my experience of Japanese food as cooked in Japan starts and ends. I love soba noodles (on that journey I flew JAL and cold soba noodles were offered at every meal – I was in heaven), I’m less keen on udon and ramen tread a happy middle ground.

Now we have my non-existent Japanese food critiquing credentials out of the way …

Ryo’s is a small restaurant on Gouger Street and while you might miss it if you were on the look out for it, you’ll find it easily enough. It is set up with both normal tables and tall benches, which run down the centre. It’s quite smart inside, although it is very snug and I imagine that if there are large groups in (such as we were!) they end up rather dominating the vibe. But you don’t head here for a romantic date night or intimacy … this is much more somewhere where you grab a big hearty bowl of noodles on your way from A to B.

Judging by the enormous bowls of noodles that were heading out of the kitchen, I decided I didn’t need an entrée. As a bonus, plenty of other people thought they did and so I was able to try the takoyaki (battered balls of octopus which I found a little bland) and the kara-age (fried chicken – which was fine but again didn’t really pack a lot of flavour).

20150317_185354kara-age – deep fried chicken with mayonnaise … not too much wrong with that …

For my noodles, I chose the one spicy option on the menu. Having done a bit of online research before heading out I knew that a lot of people find the soups at Ryo’s too salty and so I asked for no salt (I’m usually reasonably sensitive to salt and I’d had a salty lunch!). The food all came out very quickly and I was impressed that my spicy noodles were actually spicy (enough to make my nose run!) and my request for no salt had been honoured.

It was a ridiculously large bowl of soup and I ate/drank more of it than I strictly needed to. Most of the noodle dishes hovered around the $13-14 mark which is not bad considering you will not need anything else (and, if we’re talking lunch time, you can easily pay $10 for a boring old sandwich). Given how huge it was, I think that if I were to return to Ryo’s, I would be opting for a combination of entrées (because they do have gyoza!) or perhaps trying out one of the cold noodle dishes.

Ryo’s is not licensed – I was more than happy to drink the bottomless matcha green tea on offer but I know plenty of people for whom the lack of a beer with their noodles could well be a deal breaker.

My overall impression is that Ryo’s is really much more of a lunch venue – service is quick and it’s not the type of venue where you linger over several courses. If you order noodles you won’t fit in dessert! With winter approaching, it will be the perfect spot to head for a bowl of Friday lunch ramen which will warm you up and keep you full all afternoon.

Ryo’s Noodles
80 Gouger Street
Adelaide SA 5000
phone: (08) 8410 0752
(no website or menu on line)

Ryo's Noodles on Urbanspoon