I haven’t tried Korean food ever, so I was pretty excited when Jill asked us if we wanted to have dinner at Bulgogi Brothers, a Korean barbecue-style restaurant. (Bulgogi literally means ‘fire meat.’ Yakiniku, which Pinoys are more familiar with, is the Japanese variant.) Located in Greenbelt 5, the restaurant is the first international location of the South Korean franchise and it is proving to be popular among the locals with the many good reviews I’ve heard about the place, as well as the good, constant stream of customers who were eating there last Saturday night. (They don’t accept reservations; I suggest you come as early as 6:30 p.m. on weekends.)
Since the experience would be a novelty for me, I decided to pretend to be a food blogger and document as much as I can. This also meant I was pretty much made fun of throughout the entire dinner by being pressured to take photos as quickly as I can before friends attack the food :-p
While waiting for a table to become available, the staff gave me and Tatin (Jill and Pam weren’t there yet) a half-full glass of iced tea each, which I thought was really nice of them (Of course, there were the jokes about the glasses being half-empty but still we appreciated the gesture.) The wait also gave us enough time to decide on what to order.
We settled on the Bulgogi Brothers Special because after all, this is what you should really come to this restaurant for:
On the menu, it says this is good for 2-3 persons but I can tell you, it’s absolutely filling for four persons with a reasonable appetite. I personally hate it when restaurants advertise their dishes to be good for XX persons but which would later prove to be an overestimation once they serve the food (attention: Blackbeard Seafood Island) but Bulgogi Brothers definitely chose to err on the side of customer satisfaction; I’d be wowed if two persons would be able to finish this on their own in one sitting. (If you’ve got a really healthy appetite, then yes, I guess three is a good count.)
The meat is grilled through a chic induction plate at the center of your table by the waiter herself, which is a great thing because I tire myself at yakiniku-style restaurants. The ventilation system though, could use some improvement. The smoke unfortunately blew toward my direction the entire time. (But generally, the ventilation was still okay, and not as bad as the ones in Pepper Lunch.)
Meanwhile, appetizers, which come with the special, were served: salad with kimchi dressing (our guess; none of the staff seemed to know what was on it); pickled radish and eggplant; and of course, the Korean soap opera staple, kimchi. We asked for seconds of the pickled radish and the staff happily obliged at no extra cost. (They offer free, unlimited servings of the appetizers and house tea.)
They also serve this corn, sweet potato, and quail eggs appetizer plate (a peculiar but visually interesting combination); and oksusu cha (corn tea) on the house.
For good measure and carbs, we also ordered Sogogi Japchae (P350), which is glass noodles, beef, tteokbokki (sticky rice noodle), and onions, seasoned with soy sauce.
I enjoyed everything on my plate. I love my vegetables, and pungent sauces and spices (e.g., bagoong), so the kimchi and the rest of the side dishes were a welcome assault to my tastebuds. Our meat were grilled well done, thanks to the expert handling of Kaye, our waiter. The seasoning was just enough to flavor and salt the beef but in no way did it overpower the star. The tteokbokki (below) was chewy and a yummy discovery.
The entire staff seemed to be very happy to be doing their jobs––they were quick, alert, and attentive the whole time.
At the end of our meal, they came in carrying a basket of Korean frozen desserts:
I picked the classic Melona, and Pam’s Samanco Ice Cream Fish was the most riveting (and huge too): a wafer fish filled with vanilla ice cream and red beans:
Our total bill amounted to P3,109.91. I’d be happy to be back and try their alcohol next time.