By The Lucas Group, Kong BBQ the Korean relative of Chin Chin has set up shop on Church St in Richmond. And they’ve settled in quite nicely. Following the same no reservation policy like its CBD brother, Kong BBQ is a walk in only restaurant. With a party of 8 people on Sunday night, with people running late and no reservation it was no surprise that we are in for a long wait. Having arrived at 6pm a table was available but only half our party was here and Kong BBQ true to their policy could not hold the spot for us unless we all were present. But they kindly directed us over to The Prince Hotel just at the end of the block for some pre dinner drinks while we were waiting for the others. We didn’t eat until 8pm but when we did manage to get around to the eating part, it was all worth it.
It is safe to say that we managed to try all the main things from their menu and although everything was starting to taste the same after a while, I would definitely still come back to Kong BBQ for more.
Seared yellow fin tuna with horseradish ponzu and edamane salsa $23.00
Soft shell crab with salted duck egg relish and coriander
Peanut butter salt and pepper tofu with burnt chilli mayo
Spiced pork belly with picked cucumber and kong crazy horse chilli
Among the 8 of us, there were only three girls and all of us mind you loved our food. We ended up ordering for the whole crew and made sure that there was enough to eat. In fact it may have been a bit too much.
For starters, the steamed buns were delicious. I tried three of the four available spiced pork belly, soft shell crab and peanut butter and pepper tofu. All of which were really tasty in their own ways. The pork belly tasted very much like Chinese crispy roast pork belly you can get at Chinese restaurants. I did question how Korean these steam buns were though. In terms of size they are probably only 3/4 the size of Wonderbao’s buns and although quite nice in their own right, does not compare to Wonderbao. The buns were soft and slightly sweet but not has light and fluffy as wonderbao’s buns. The dough is thicker and more chewier
Beef Tatare with nashi pear, smoked dashi salt and soy egg $18.00
Nasu miso – miso caramelized eggplant with iceberg lettuce, sesame, chervil and yuzu (4 pcs) $12.00
Wood grilled scallops with tobanjan & mirin picked radish (2 pcs) $16.00
The next round of starters included the beef tartare (which is personally not my thing), caramelized eggplant in lettuce leaves which were delicious and some scallops (also delicious). They were just the right portion, full of flavour and tasty.
Korean fried chicken wings with honey, garlic and sesame (6 pcs) $12.00
How can you ever go wrong with sticky fried chicken wings? You can’t.
Kong Bossam BBQ Tray $28.00
Pulled chicken & pork, pork belly and beef brisket with lettuce, pickles, kimchi and walnut ssamjang
It was no surprise that the BBQ meat tray was a bit hit with the guys.
BBQ Chicken with lemon, gochujang and kimchi SSam Roti Roll (4 pcs) $12.00 (4)
The ssam roti roll tasted like a Korean roti wrap with kimchi. That is my best description of it.
BBQ Zuchinni and crusted silken tofu $16.00
These little cubes of tofu goodness were one of my favourite dishes. Topped with thin ribbons of BBQ zuchinni, this dish was great with a bit of rice.
Dukkbokki rice cakes with red chilli, gochujang and roasted parsnip $13.00
A basic dokkbokki dish, a little spicy, but otherwise mildy. Not your traditional flavourlicious dukkbokki with fish cake and spring onion and the like.
BBQ corn with chilli salt and miso butter (2) $8.00
BBQ Baby Back pork ribs with soy and sesame full $36.00
Kalbi short beef rib with pine nut ssamjang and daikon kimchi $28.00
Now this….these beef ribs were amazing. Now I don’t eat much meat in general, but when everyone else was too full to eat and there was a lot of this still left, it was so good that I ate the rest of it myself. The ribs are full of flavour and for some, it would be too much. The marinate is really overpowering and the dish is best eaten with a bowl of white rice. The beef was so tender that it was literally melting away from the bone.
The pine nut ssamjang and daikon kimchi did worked well to balance the savoury sweetness of the rib.
There were some hit and misses with Kong BBQ. Many more hits than misses though mind you. The variety of nut ssamjangs were the highlight of my evening as well as the kimchi made from zuchinni and daikon as opposed to your traditional fermented cabbage version. Overall, Kong BBQ left a good impression on me with a certain satisfaction where I would be guaranteed to come back and recommend the place to friends, meat eaters and vegetarians alike.