We can never have enough of Korean BBQ! So we made our way to Seorae, a restaurant-chain from Korea that has opened its first franchise store in Singapore at Plaza Singapura.
What differentiates Sorea from most other Korean BBQ joints is that it specializes in "Galmaegisal", an unique cut also known as "pork skirt meat".
Found between the ribs and belly, each fully-grown pig produces only 250 grams of such meat. It is so good and rare that this meat is said to be reserved exclusively for Korean royalty in ancient times.
Seorae Singapore now offers this "Eat Like A King!" (to quote their slogan) dining experience to all!
But to eat like a king can add up to be a rather pricey affair.
A serving of the Signature Galmaegisal starts at $21.90, to $31.90 for a bigger portion.
Other meat available includes Samgyeobsal Pork Belly ($18.90 to $24.90), Dwaeji Galbi Pork Ribs ($31.90), La Galbi Beef Ribs ($38.90), So Galbi Short Rib ($42.90) and Spicy Dakgalbi Chicken ($15.90) .
As stated on the menu, there is a required minimum order of two meat for BBQ.
Using burning hot white charcoal as the heating element, the slices of pork belly were given a quick grill before being sent to our tummies. My favorite of the lot would be the spicy flavor which packed an uber satisfying fiery kick.
Wrap a piece of the charcoal-grilled deliciousness in the accompanying lettuce with some garlic and ssamjang sauce, pop the whole parcel into the mouth and chew away. Very enjoyable!
Cheese On Grill require a top-up of $2, and it was the most decadent $2 ever spent. Imagine smothering your grilled meat in a dip of warm, melted, oozy cheese and savoring each bite in your mouth. Such indulgence and blatant disregard to horrors of expanding waistlines, but so yummy! Haha!
We should have ordered more meat, but the earlier dishes which we already had meant that tummy capacity is already almost to the limit.
The Japchae ($18.90) looked to be a promising start with its colorful medley of stir-fried beef and vegetables with Korean rice noodle, but proved to be a tad greasy.
But it was nothing compared to the thick layer of oil that covered our hotpot of Sundunu Jigae (S-$14.90 / L-$18.90). "Gasp! Oil free one arh?"
We scooped out the excessive oil to the best that we could, before getting to the spicy soft tofu stew mixed with minced pork, vegetables, clams and egg buried underneath. To be fair, its taste was okay. But considering the small portion despite our order for a large bowl, I would say, "not worth it".
We wondered if the Dosirak ($12.90) is meant to include seaweed as shown on the menu in case that picture for illustration only, and it came separately only after we asked.
Somehow the dish didn't feel right as we ate the supposedly beef sausages which looked and tasted like chicken.
The server was adamant that it was beef until we insisted that he check with the kitchen. It was clarified to be chicken sausages indeed and the explanation was: There is a printing error on the menu. Huh, like that also can??? Oh my goodness!
Still, I must give him brownie point for braving up to the mistake though it was not entirely his fault. The service staff were helpful in general, but maybe need a bit more time to settle well into the operations. Missed order and almost dropping the burning charcoal onto my friend? We closed one eye.
Despite the hits and misses, we still hope to end on a cheery note and ordered the very pretty Bibim Patbingsoo ($12.90) with toppings designed to look like a vibrant bibimbap dish complete with a "sunny-side-up". Verdict: Can skip unless you like biting into coarse ice crystals.
In conclusion, our experience at Seorae told us that the grilled meats are the star here.
If those mass-market "eat-all-the-whatever-meat-you-want" buffet kind of offerings does not appeal to you, Seorae could very well be the better choice out of the few options available along Orchard Road.
Just stick to their signature meats.
Seorae Korean Charcoal BBQ Singapore
Address: Plaza Singapura, #02-01, 68 Orchard Road, Singapore 239963
Contact: +65 6238 8429
Opening Hours: Sun-Thu 11.30am-10pm / Fri & Sat 11.30am-11pm / Patbingsu only (no grill) Mon-Fri 3pm-5pm
Prices stated are in Singapore dollars and subject to 10% service charge and 7% GST.