So there we were looking for a cheap quick eat before going to watch the Asian Cup quarter final between Australia and Japan. Our first choice was Korea House on Centre Road, but that was all full and had a wait of 30 minutes. So, pressed for time, we headed off to Clayton Road where both Korean BBQ and The Taste of Korchi were also full. Running out of ideas, we were even going to settle for Malaysian Garden across the road. A quick peek upstairs showed lots of empty tables. Upon walking up the stairs, we were informed by the waitress that all the tables were booked. Who would book for Malaysian Gardens. There food isn't exactly great or cheap. And the atmosphere and decor aren't something you would bother booking for, but apparently people did.
We were quickly running out of options. We walked past Kang Na Roo (this has got to be another really bad restaurant name) a few times but since it seemed so empty, we thought it must be bad. But being ultra desperate, we decided to go in and give it a go. At the time of entering, there was one other occupied table in the whole place. After we were seated, another table was occupied after us.
The decor in the restaurant was nice. It was newly refurbished and recently had new owners. We were served tea and given very nice looking red embossed menus. Paul, Kin and I each chose a dish to share and an entree of Seafood Pancake.
The assorted condiments arrived with the steamed rice served in metallic bowls. We also had metallic chopsticks, which after using for a while got really tiring to hold in our hands as we all mentioned. It puts a lot of strain on your fingers to grip them due to their weight and tiny size. However, all Korean restaurants seem to use these chopsticks. Anyway, the condiments were very nice. I liked the kimchi and the black seaweed thing the most. The fish cakes weren't as good as some other places. The white jelly thing was like any other place. The two vegetable type condiments were good but slightly too salty.
The Seafood Pancake was huge and looked spectacular. It had huge chunks of squid that you could see and I thought it was going to be great. Instead, the flour mixture was a bit too heavy and it was ok.
The Spicy Squid that Kin picked was not bad. It wasn't that spicy despite the fierce looking red colour and had a sweet tinge to it even. The contrast of the crunchy cabbage with the squid was a good mix.
My favourite dish was the one that I picked of Beef Bulgogi. The beef was of fairly good quality and texture. Their sauce is one of the better ones, with enough sweetness but not too much. It was really sizzling and was good to eat on a very very cold night.
The Dumpling Stew also sounded good for a cold night but turned out to be not that good. The soup lacked flavour and the dumplings tasted quite ordinary. The rice cakes needed to be cooked a little bit more so they were a bit softer.
Being one of only a few customers, service was very good. Upon our request for a second serving of kimchi, dried seaweed and one of the vegetables condiments, the waitress said "Anything you want, we will do". This was slightly desperate sounding but I guess I would be too if there were no customers in my restaurant on a Saturday night when all the restaurants in the vicinity were completely packed. Also at one stage, the older waitress sort of walked to our table, stood there for a few seconds and then said something in Korean to Kin. We had no idea what she was saying so smiled and then she said something else and walked away. That was a bit weird, maybe she thought we were Korean.
Overall Rating: 12/20, Food and service good, not sure why its so quiet. Possibly its because its a new establishment and people still aren't sure about it. I would say give it a go since the food is no worse than other Korean restaurants and the prices are very good.
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.