Monday, June 01, 2009

Korean Food @ Zens Korean BBQ, One Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur

stone bowl (dolsett) bibimbap (RM22) for a comforting meal

All eyes are focused on the Koreans this past week. First, it was the unfortunate incident with the South Korean ex-president Roh, then the North Koreans got a little overzealous with their nuclear policies (incidentally I love the Economist's cover of Kim Jong Il holding a book titled "Little Book of Ransom Notes"). Luckily, there was a snippet of good news, when Korean Park Ji-Sung from Manchester United became the first Asian to play in a Champions League final. Unfortunately his team lost in the final to Barcelona. This week, in Malaysia, South Korea will definitely be the flavour of this week, since today marks the first day of the Asean-South Korea summit at Jeju Island where our Prime Minister is attending. Hence I thought it will be most apt to post, our latest Korean food discovery in honour of all these incidents.

the sublime pork ribs (doe ji galbi for RM30) with its grilled fatty bits, kimchi on the side and barbequed rib eye (deung sim for RM65)

Thanks to Paprika of So Much Food, So Little Stomach we discovered this little gem in Bangsar. The food here is so good here, it has become a regular hangout every week with us slowly discovering what the menu has to offer. Moreover, you find more Koreans dining here vs locals - always an excellent sign of authenticity. Run by a family from Seoul, we like this place as you dine at long wooden tables leaving you loads of space, to fit all the numerous side dishes they give here. Someone in the family is obviously a golfer, as the pictures on the walls feature golf courses around the world.

Hae mul panjeon (RM28) here is chewy and thick with ingredients, just like their kim chi jigae (RM20). For something unusual cool off with the chewy cold buckwheat noodles (mul naeng myeon for RM22)

For our first visit here, it was tender rib eye that they cooked on the charcoal grill for us. However, on my second visit here, I discovered the juicy and decadent pork ribs (doe ji gal bi, pork ribs with house seasoning - RM30). The best bits were the fatty portions where it melted in your mouth. Absolutely delicious and very addictive with a bowl of white rice, that my friend and I were so tempted to order another portion for the night.

side dishes are good too, especially our favourite spring onion shreds which we keep asking for seconds.

The pa jeon (pancake) here is pretty good too and filled with loads of spring onions and seafood making it a very substantial portion. The kimchi soup is filled to the brim with loads of ingredients - thick slices of pork belly, clams, cabbage and mungbean noodles but seems to lose out to the other place in the Gardens in terms of taste. They also serve the unusual cold noodles to cool off from the grilled meats. A little on the sparse side, the thin greylike chewy noodles can be quite a chore to eat daintily. However, the slightly tangy and cold soup (made with ice cubes) is nice and refreshing to drink at the end. The other soup we tried, the gal bi tang (beef ribs soup - RM20) didn't fare too well with us even though we did drink it up. I found the beef ribs inside the soup a little too chewy and hard to be edible, while the soup was a little boring and borderline bland. Bibimbap also seemed to lack much of the fiery taste we like. Nevertheless, they have an excellent selection of banchan (side dishes) with cabbage, courgette, beansprouts, konnayaku, egg tofu, cockles and etc.

finally at the end, leave room for dessert in the form of snow ice mixed with red beans and canned pineapples

Once you're done with your meal, cool down with their complimentary dessert - an icy cold confection of crushed ice mixed with red beans and canned pineapples. They'll mix the dish right in front of you ensuring it does not melt straightaway. I love the refreshing dessert, seems to make it a perfect end to a good meal. While service can get quite chaotic (due to language problems), the quality of the food here will definitely make me return for more the next time. For more pictures, see the Flickr set.

Zens Korean BBQ
One Bangsar
63G-G, Jalan Ara
Bangsar Baru
Kuala Lumpur

Tel No: 03 - 2282 9007

(Non Halal. Open for lunch and dinnertime.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.

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Updated: Seems to be a Korean day today - Cumi & Ciki did Little Korea and Eat Drink KL did the first ever North Korean restaurant in KL.


J2Kfm said...

can see the pancake really thick with substance. some Korean outlets, or so-called authentic ones, serve them so thin, felt like chewing on air.

foodbin said...

i always have a soft spot for Korean food-have not try the spring onion shreds.

Sean said...

mmmm, looks wholesome and hearty. it's been ages since i've been to one bangsar; i haven't managed to try both this place and house of tang. from the reviews though, this seems like a better bet! will definitely remember to order the pork ribs...

boo_licious said...

j2kfm - The pancake was laden with so much items that it was so difficult to even split the pancake to eat!

foodbin - I thought they were leeks but turns out to be spring onions. Very nice.

Sean - heard great things abt this place within 2 days from 2 people hence it was a must-try straight away. Love the pork ribs, reckon my friend will be bringing her sister and friends here too after sampling it last week.

Sugar Bean said...

Love Korean pancake, and hate those with little ingredients coz it feels like biting on egg and flour. Haha! That should be good, would keep it in my neverending wish list.

Ciki said...

yar man! tis a korean day! :D

minchow said...

Wow the side dishes are a cut above the standard Korean joint's! Pork ribs for dinner... now that's reward for getting through Monday unscathed!

Bangsar-bAbE said...

I've never had cockles for banchan before...A pity the kimchi jigae is not as good as it looks! =(

boo_licious said...

sugar bean -better start eating thru that list as it's neverending!

ciki - LOL, big coincidence.

550ml - yeah, no macaroni side dishes and bland Korean food here!

bangsar-babe - the kimchi soup was nice but somehow my personal preference is the simpler and tangy version at the Gardens.

Rarebeet said...

cheating on me!! Come lets go again!

boo_licious said...

Paprika - LOL, yes cheating on you with my friend S. I'm still looking for a BF cube to go eat & drink wine with me, with no strings attached. You want?

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