This is an invited session
Singapore has no lack of Korean BBQ places; Just take a walk around Tanjong Pagar Road and you will know what I mean. I might be wrong, but it also seem that the buffet ones tend to be more popular, showing how much we can and love to eat. But when you are not in the mood to pig out and want something more than just strips of grilled meat, then Bornga might be where you should be heading to.
Located at the (only, I think) open-air shopping complex of The Star Vista, Bornga is the first Singapore outlet of the popular Korean chain, headed by its charismatic CEO/Chef Jon Won Paik . As I was invited to try out the ala carte menu earlier this week, we found ourselves sitting at the indoor, L-shaped area.
Complimentary Barley Tea
There are alfresco seatings available but with our dear weather at 35 degrees in the day (not the mention the humidity), we were contented with sipping on our chilled tea indoors.
Complimentary Banchan, "Salad Bar"
While the selection of side dishes isn't as extensive as some places, Bornga did have three types of Kimchi available, namely a Chilled Water Kimchi, regular Cabbage Kimchi and Kimchi Turnip Strips. I probably had enough kimchi for a lifetime on my last trip to Korea, so these were just touch and go for me.
Every table that orders BBQ items will be served the standard vegetable platter whose plate is as long as the breadth of the table and yes, the same platter is served even if you come alone. Be good and eat more veggie ya?
First up for the BBQ are chunks of unmarinated ribeye whose marbling looked very pleasing to the eye. Once grilled, grab a piece of crisp lettuce and smeared it lightly with sauce before wrapping. Take a generous bite to unleash the juicy meat, greasiness minimized with credits to the lettuce. Feels healthy enough to keep going!
I always thought that its a waste to mince short ribs but this entirely changed my perception. As the patty was made with grounded short ribs and marinated with in-house sauce, it was flavourful at every bite and retained a firm, chewy texture. Man, find me two buns and it will make an excellent burger.
Moving on to the second and also their signature BBQ item, these very thinly sliced beef brisket were only drizzled with their if-i-tell-you-i-have-to-kill-you secret sauce upon order, thus marinating them lightly and retaining its natural colours before grilling. Its kind of therapeutic to see meat sizzles, no?
Again, grab a piece of lettuce but this time, wrap some spring onions within the beef first then dip it into the special WooSamGyup sauce. The result? A very tasty beef slice that was balanced with the raw-ness of spring onions.
Chadol Duenjang Jigae (S$16.00)
The rice dish for the night was also rather unique, as a pot of bean paste soup was brought to boil, reducing it to a thick stock before stirring in the condiments and rice.
It ended up like Chinese Mui Fan with Korean flavours, while the rice grains were pleasantly solid as it was not overcooked with the stock.
BORNGA Naeng Myun (S$15.00)
For a lighter carb dish, the homemade buckwheat noodles is a really good choice because unlike its Japanese counterpart, it was smooth and chewy, and served in a light, chilled beef broth with egg and turnip slices that felt refreshing after all that grilled meat.
Acting as a palate cleanser, the 五味茶 with shaved ice was supposed to invoke five flavours, but admittedly I could only feel the sourish, hawthorn-like side of it. Ladies, I was told that its good for the skin!
While a meal here might easily be more expensive than a buffet, the quality and different cuts of meat available were rather impressive and the cooked items were also pretty commendable on their own. Short Ribs Patty; marking a return for it!
Special thanks to LeRoy of Foodnews for the invite!
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