Perhaps you might be thinking. What?! Now only Daorae is being reviewed? It's more than half a year! Or nearing a year. Well, the fact that I haven't tried Daorae until now is because it's ain't cheap. And most of my potential makan partners have already tried it at least once with their family or other friends. Well, looks like I have to try it with my family as well.
Upon entering the Tatami dining area, I saw this framed poster! Well, its a Korean BBQ restaurant. What do you expect. At least the side dishes are more easily recognizable compared to the members of Super Junior.
Ginseng, Korea's pride! A whole cabinet on display but definitely not for sale.
There are a few private rooms available. This are can sit around 20 people. Just right for a private function. I noticed there are other smaller tatami rooms too.
Else, head to the public dinning area. Choose to be seated in chairs....
... or on the floor. We were ushered to this tatami area. Guests must remove their shoes to step into this area. Well lit and spacious, there are many tables in this area.
Occupying almost an area of about 6-8 shoplots (3-4 on the left and right, inclusive of the walkway) Daorae is situated on the 1st floor of De Garden at one far corner of the building. In addition to the exorbitant rent, a huge lump were invested in fixing the exhaust vents and the charcoal grill stove. The exhaust system were proven to be very strong to ensure that the smell on your clothes were kept to the bare minimum.
Seaweed Soup. Its slightly different compared to Japanese Miso soup. It has a slight resemblance to the Chinese Choy Kon (Sun Dried Vege) Soup. Not salty at all but it has an appetizing umami trait which is a good kick start to a hearty meal ahead.
Uploaded in a random order, here comes the Macaroni Salad. Lightly dressed with mayonnaise with carrot and cucumber strips. This is a side order you will look forward to if you are not really full from the BBQ meat.
Tamago (Thick Omellete Slices) - a item which is very familiar in Japanese Cuisine. A piece or two would be great. And it provides an extra layer to be wrapped in the lettuce roll later. Read on.
Egg custard (Chawan mushi ala Korea) - velvety smooth - make sure you finish while its still hot.
Pickled.......... erm Cucumber? Seriously no idea. I just had one cube and it was abit hard. Prefer the Kim Chi than this.
Cockles in spicy and sourish sauce. I didn't try this AT ALL! I don't really take this mollusc. Am a bit paranoid of food poisoning if this is not handled/cooked properly.
Potato Balls. Again similar to the Croquette but this paled in comparison because it is already cold and slightly soggy. I mean, fried things should be best eaten fresh upon frying. Else, try a piece or two just to fill up your stomach.
Ermm... Beansprout. Wonder is was blanched or sauteed. But the fragrance of the sesame oil is imminent. The bean sprout is a bit overdone if you are a firm believer that taugeh should be at its juicy best! Else, its a great munch ni between savouring your meat.
Ahhhhh.... KIMCHI. How could a meal in a Korean restaurant be incomplete with this side dish. Cabbage is pickled alongside garlic, chilli, onions and in some version fruits. Unrefined sesame oil and unpasteurized vinegar are highly recommended to be used to preserve this dish and it brings health benefits from the good fatty acids components. Kimchi is said to be an anti oxidant and it lowers the cholesterol level too. Besides that, it is said to promotes good intestinal health from the good bacteria (Forgot those name, please refer to Vitagen advertisement =p). If you can't be bothered by the health facts, just remember this: KIMCHI is a staple food of the Korean community. It's convenient, can multitask in many dishes and can be kept in the fridge for weeks without any chemical preservatives!
It's so unfair, Kimchi got all the limelight in the long paragraph before and nobody care to elaborate much on the pickled eggplants with capsicum. =S
Even the spinach got more recognition. Its the only GREEN and UNPRESERVED one among the banchan(s). Providing the necessary fibre for the meal, we could not help but asked for refill twice for the spinach which was not overdone or too old. The young to the toothless senior citizens would be able to chew it, less to mention the lightly flavoured oil dressing in tossing up this vege side dish
This is when the banchan mostly occupied most of the space on our table. Our table were abit too small. Bear in mind the mains have not made their entries yet.
Furthermore every person is served with dipping sauces for the BBQ meat. There is the salt infused oil. some sweet sauce and fermented bean paste which was very mild spicy.
Without waiting long, the waiter came with a small cauldron of glowing red charcoal to fill in beneath the hot plate. Sometimes I wonder, although the prices of food here is slightly above your normal restaurant, one must bear in mind the operation cost and the decor/renovation. Take for example, there is must be charcoal ready throughout their business hours. And the charcoal must be maintained at the "just right" amber state
Food here are grilled by their own staff. So make sure no impatient smart alecs grabbing a piece directly from the grill as it may not be cooked to the desired level. Let the waiter/staff do the cooking. They will dish up the cooked meat, cut it into bit sized pieces (if necessary) and serve it in a separate bowl for the customers. This is a portion of Woo Sam Kyup (RM45) which is thin slices of marbled beef without marinade....
... and it turns out to this! I choose the plain version for me beef as I would like savour its original and natural flavour. At first, dad thought this was pork as it looked abit like bacon. Tastewise, it was not really flvaoured. The bovine essence was not strongly present. I expected a more robust beefy taste.
This is the Daeji Gal-bi (RM28) which is pork ribs in sweet sauce marinade. Though it says RIBS, but the meat were actually boneless. This dish really gets my thumbs up. The meat was marinaded well from the inside out~ Juicy and yet flavourful, similar to the sweet sauce used in marinading Char Siu. The grilled garlic and caramelized onions is a MUST to be fitted into your lettuce-meat wrap
Dak Gal-bi (RM28)- boneless lean chicken meat marinaded in a spicy sauce. I do not really like this dish as the sauce did not really penetrate into the meat. More like a "make up", in other words, just on surface. Furthermore, I find the chicken meat not firm and was abit.... soft because of over marinade or has the chicken been frozen for quite some time. Hmmm... No wonder the pork occupies nearly 2 pages, the beef 2 pages too while the chicken/lamb and squid were all squeezed into 1 single page in the menu. Looks like their forte is red meat, particularly prime cuts of beef (which don't come cheap, mostly around RM60-75 for premium portions)
Knowing that meat alone wont be able to satiate our hunger during dinner time. We tried a noodle dish called Janchi-Gook-su (RM18). In a nutshell, it is actually wheat noodles simmered in broth with seafood. Nothing really spectacular for this dish but it's a fresh alternative to your Nabe Udon in Japs places.
Soon-dubu-jjigae (RM18) was actually a spicy soup/broth/stew like which has tofu, vegetables and some seafood in it. You can opt for other versions with beef or pork belly. Served in a bowl on top of a stone plate, you are assured of hot and pipping soup for every spoonful. I ordered this dish as I'm always curious on how the characters in Korean series slurp their meal out loud when enjoying this. Comes with a bowl of white rice, I too imitated how the Koreans eat. =p
Yes, this is the bowl of rice which came long with soupy dishes. Upon ala carte ordering, it is charged at RM5 a bowl!!! Yes, this is one of the fact known to me which made me procrastinating to give Daorae a try. At first, I did not noticed the rice since it was nicely served in a stainless steel bowl. I enquired the waiter about the rice which never came along with the soup. The waiter came with the bowl of rice later...
Little did I know that the bowl of rice was on the table all this while. Lets play a short game to test your eyesight. Noticed in the picture the one with the yellow circle was the "untouched, unseen" bowl of rice. If I did not tell you that there were 2 bowls of rice, you would've missed it out too in the beginning, just like me. I mean which so many items on the table, what can you expect rite? =p
All in all, the meal was a fresh experience for us. My whole family, me inclusive, have not tried Korean Cuisine before. Though I would prefer Japanese cuisine (at this rate, I can have a decent meal in Hokkaido), I don't mind coming back to try other stuffs once in a blue moon. During its opening, I read from a couple of blog complementing the good and friendly service but my dining experience was just quite mediocre. We did not even get the complimentary Korean savoury pancake if they feel that "you have ordered exceedingly" beyond their expectation. The total damage was RM151, still not qualified for the pancake mer? Anyway, I hope it was an eye opening experience for dad, at least to certain extend, it was for me =)