These past few months, I have been constantly and excessively craving for Korean food. Luckily, SM Mall of Asia which is one of my go-to malls, already have a branch of one of the hottest Korean barbecue grill destinations in Metro Metro, Bulgogi Brothers.
Brought to us by The Bistro Group, the same company operating Italianni's, T.G.I. Fridays, Fish & Co., Ma Maison, Flapjacks, Pig Out, Krazy Garlik, The Stock Market and Village Tavern, Bulgogi Brothers is a Korean barbecue restaurant originally from Gangnam in Seoul, which has been steadily creating a buzz in the Metro's foodie scene.
I've already seen Bulgogi Brothers' branches in both Greenbelt 5 and Alabang Town Center. However, this trip to the cozy, spacious and dimly-lit SM Mall of Asia restaurant was the first time I'll try it out. And honestly, I was very excited since it's another interesting dining spot under The Bistro Group's capable wings.
Upon seating, we were served with a complimentary plate of sweet corn, quail eggs and sweet potatoes, a serving of mixed salad, three free banchan of Baek Kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage), Gaji Namul (spicy eggplant) and Sigeumchi Namul (blanched spinach), and tea of the day which was Bori Cha (Barley Tea).
This is what I love about dining in Korean barbecue restaurants, there are tons of complimentary and even refillable treats! And since I love sweet corn, quail eggs, sweet potatoes and spinach, these free goodies were all the more enjoyable for me.
The New Dishes
Although this is only my first time at Bulgogi Brothers, I was lucky to find out that they have new items on their menu. So before I share with you the best-sellers in this Korean barbecue restaurant, let me first give you a peek of their latest gustatory additions.
First up is Haemul Pajeon (P450), a savory Korean-style pancake filled with seafood and green onions. If you're a seafood lover like me, well this will satisfy our seafood cravings as it's packed with pieces of plump shrimps. The pancake itself is also quite tasty with a strong seafood flavor, while being soft and a little dense. However, I have to admit that it wasn't as tasty and as outstanding as the one I previously had.
We then had the Yuk Gae Jang (P380), a spicy serving of soup packed with shredded beef, tofu, vegetables and herbs. Even as a non-spicy food lover in general, I'd have to admit that I enjoyed this item. The soup itself has a lovely savory and herby flavor with just the right amount of heat. The vegetables were also a nice addition, giving the whole ensemble an addicting crunch with every spoonful.
We also got to try the Galbi Tang (P420), a clear yet hearty traditional Korean soup made of beef spare ribs, glass noodles, healthy Korean herbs and vegetables, perfect to boost one's stamina up. Although I try to veer away from clear soups for fear that it won't be as flavorful as colored ones, I have to say that this bowl is very tasty and very filling. It somehow reminds me of our local nilagang baka soup.
The Bulgogi Brothers Favorites
After giving you a peek of the new dishes on Bulgogi Brothers' menu, here I present to you some of the restaurant best-sellers and favorites which we got to try.
First was this serving of Dubu Steak (6 pcs. P245; 8 pcs P395), crispy-fried tofu served with crunchy beansprouts, beef teriyaki, and teriyaki sauce. This dish is definitely a must-order if you're a big tofu lover! The tofu pieces had a nice, crispy outer layer which unlocks a soft and silky bean curd goodness with every bite.
We also had a serving of Haemul Gungjung Mandu (6 pcs. P450; 10 pcs. P675), fried pork dumplings topped with seafood such as mussels, shrimps and squid pieces, and served with a spicy sauce. Being a fried dumpling lover, I liked how these bundles of goodness similar to Japanese gyoza, were so crispy on the outside with a plump and generous meaty filling on the inside. And of course, I rejoiced upon the sight of seafood!
Next, we tried the Hanbang Suyuk (P550), a platter of thinly-sliced boiled pork pieces with kimchi, roasted garlic and chives, served with lettuce wraps. If I have to site one special feat that attracted me to Korean cuisine, it would be the practice of wrapping food in leafy sheets. In this case, I didn't only enjoy the wrapping process, but also the flavorful pork slices itself, as well as how it blended harmoniously with some ssamjang paste.
We also had a serving of Haemul Doenjang-jjigae (P395), a hearty soybean stew with assorted seafood and veggies served with rice, as well as the Kimchi-Jigae (P395), a spicy stew made with ripened kimchi, pork and bean curd. Between the two, I think I prefer the latter more since it's the perfect stew to sip on a chilly night. It has an addicting sweet, spicy and tangy flavors to satisfy the kimchi lovers.
We were surprised that they actually serve burger in Bulgogi Brothers, but we sampled the Bulgogi Burger (P295) too since this is one of our companions' favorite, and a best-seller for kids as Executive Chef Chang Kyu Kim explained. This Korean take on an American classic is served with fries on the side, and uses the homemade Unyang-style burger patty, along with the restaurant's signature sauce, cheese and fresh vegetables.
Now, we've come to the most exciting part. Pardon me if I wasn't able to take a photo of the whole platter, but we actually got the Bulgogi Brothers Special (P1,495), a serving of both the Unyang-style and Gwangyang-style Bulgogi. (No Gangnam-style here!)
The Unyang-style Bulgogi are heart-shaped pieces of the restaurant's homemade patty. They're very soft, succulent and even crumbly when you slice them up, an indication that they don't have extenders. And while I appreciate the juiciness and meatiness of these pretty patties, I don't quite dig its almost-powdery feel to the mouth.
Then there's the Gwangyang-style Bulgogi in the same order, seasoned beef with a sweet sauce served with beansprouts, green onions and sesame leaf. Now, between the two, I'm more of a Gwangyang-style fan. I love how tender, meaty and flavorful the beef pieces were. They're truly sweet and savory in every bite, with just the right amount of meat and marbling of fat. Even without rice or lettuce wraps, eating these was a delight!
After feasting on Bulgogi Brothers' great selection of Korean dishes, our server for the night, Rowella-unnie, brought us a basket filled with different Korean ice creams (including my favorite Pangtoa Cookies 'N Cream) for dessert. Now, talk about the perfect way to cap off the very satisfying evening meal!
To deviate from my default choice of Korean ice cream, this time I decided to go with the Binggrae Samanco Ice Cream Sandwich, a fish-shaped vanilla ice cream waffle sandwich with red bean paste. I've already tried this before back in college, and I still love it now. The crispy and slightly chewy waffle sandwich is so nice to munch on, while the blend of vanilla ice cream and red bean paste is not only refreshing but delightful to the palate as well. And of course, how can you say no to the adorable fish design?
This trip to Bulgogi Brothers has confirmed that I'm really starting to love Korean cuisine. I didn't only enjoy the grilled meaty goodness of bulgogi, but also fell in love with the tasty meal starters and hearty Korean stews which Bulgogi Brothers generously offers. And with a great ambiance and impeccable service as expected from a Bistro Group restaurant, I'm sure to pay Bulgogi Brothers another visit soon.
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Bulgogi Brothers, SM Mall of Asia
2/F SM Mall of Asia, Entertainment Mall, South Wing,
Ocean Dr. Manila Bay Reclamation Area,
Pasay City, Metro Manila
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