When you find yourself drafting a blog post about a meal on the train home from that meal you have to worry. Was the meal really that good, or are you becoming obsessive about your hobbies? It’s time to get to the library and borrow a novel to read on the train. With only a laptop and no reading material there’s a serious danger of becoming a dull boy.
The meal in question was at Le Grand Chef Korean Barbequeue in Marrickville. We didn’t have bbq, instead choosing our meals from the mains category. The bbq options were interesting though, straying from pure Korean to include some options like American style ribs and lamb shish kebabs. There was also a poster about a special deal for a seafood bbq for $50 (oysters, prawns, octopus, calamari and eel). There were none of the more bizarre options you see in Strathfield like real intestine sausages, but the menu included cold noodles, bi bim bap and kim chi soup.
We were very pleased to be provided with moist towels when we arrived. These are a great tradition which I wish was practised more widely. I was once given them flying with the Korean airline Asiana and it felt like such a luxury. One of the attractions of the restaurant was that it offered free sides and dessert with meals priced around $10-15. The sides were kim chi (pickled cabbage with chilli), potatoes and cucumber which arrived soon after our moist towels and tea. The tea was served in a really tiny pot. I should have asked for a refill.
We tucked into our sides right away. The potatoes were an unexpected delight, slightly sweet as if with maple syrup.
The cucumber was served with carrot and onion in a chilli and sesame sauce. Even though both it and the kim chi were flavoured with chilli they were different, perhaps because the kim chi was pickled. We had gobbled up all the sides before our meal arrived and the waiter kindly gave us a top up.
I’ve always loved kim chi soup for its spicy broth and the slippery tofu that melts in your mouth. The soup arrived still boiling. Previously I’d never had a kim chi soup that featured much pork beyond the odd piece of fatty meat. The soup at Le Grand Chef had a lot of pork fat in it with little bits of meat attached. They were a bit fiddly and I fished most of them out. Aside from that the soup was good with lots of kim chi, vegetables and the silky tofu I was hoping for. It was served with a bowl of rice, so it made a good meal.
James had the beef Dolsot Bi Bim Bap. The waiter let him have the chilli paste once he’d passed the test of knowing to stir his dish around the hot stone bowl. This was less urgent than normal since the egg on top was fried rather than raw, so it didn’t need to cook against the bowl. We were a bit disappointed the egg was already fried. It’s more fun to cook it on the sizzling hot bowl.
The dessert was a fruit skewer each. Quite refreshing after the chilli.
Le Grand Chef Korean BBQ is a smart new restaurant with very reasonable prices and good service. The food is good, although if you’re after a wider range of Korean food you should go to Strathfield or Campsie.
Ratings (out of 5 snorts)