Saturday, September 02, 2006

Auntie Kim's Korean Restaurant

Saeng Kalbi

I wasn't expecting much from this place (265 Upper Thomson Road, 6452-2112), but I ended up leaving with the comfort of finding one of the better kalbi offerings in town. Finally did we find a spot that offered meat of enough quality that it was tasty on its own without any marinades, but still came with the essential yet simple sesame oil and salt dipping dish plus the usual chili paste, raw garlic, and lettuce...and much easier-to- manage small leaves at that. Then again, we opted for the saeng kalbi variety, which by its sheer unmarinated nature requires that the beef be of the best quality as there is no marinade to hide the taste (that also explains why it was the most expensive of the four kalbi offerings was kinda like ordering wagyu beef at a yakiniku place, although it still had a distance to go before reaching Aburiya's wagyu ).

DokpogiIndeed, not all here was rosy. The kimchi jige was a bit watered down, and the dokpogi, a cylindrical rice cake thing that I haven't had in ages, was a bit sweeter than I liked, even though it did go down well with beer. More importantly though, the service was frustratingly spotty. They failed to tell me that they were out of OB beer and just tried to slip Hite by me instead as if nothing had happened (admittedly, it's been so long since I've had either that I really wouldn't have noticed the difference had they just poured it themselves in the back without showing me the can...although the Cass mug might have sparked a question). And they hit one of my pet peeves common with Korean places around here: they cooked the meat for you in the back, despite the fact that there were grills at each table. They said that they only use the grills if you order more than one barbeque plate, presumably since the effort to clean each tableside grill is not worth it if one only orders one plate.

Well, despite depriving me of one of the joys of Korean food, they did do a decent job of cooking the meat. In fact, I liked it enough that I am definitely going to order two next time...and more so because of the tastiness (and the fact that the portions are pretty small) than for the chance to grill the meat myself (it would get a bit pricey though, considering that each plate is S$28, or US$16.50). Their clumsy service ironically worked out well in our favor tonight: they forgot to charge us for the dokpogi. They even gave out some official rice cake freebies from their sister bakery. I worry about how the rest of the menu items would stack up, but I'll come back for that saeng kalbi.


D said...

Glad to hear that you liked some of the stuff at Auntie Kim's. Yeah it's hard to get good Korean here and even harder to get good kimchi! The best kimchi i had was North Korean kimchi... damn that was some good stuff.

DownwardDog said...

Ahh, Auntie Kim's is really one of the better Korean ones around here. :)

bornappleT said...

Auntie Kim is quite a Korean gem. Having, their beef bone soup is quite unforgettable experience.