The Bulgogi, Chatswood

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bulgogi is widely known in the culinary world as a  Korean dish of grilled, marinated thin slices of beef. But, contrary to popular belief, it may also refer to something else. The direct translation of this term from Korean means 'fire' (bul) and 'meat' (gogi), hence the other meaning of this famous beef dish, which points right back to its origins - the barbeque, or process of cooking meat on fire.

The Bulgogi sits on the main Chatswood shopping strip of Victoria Street, amongst many other Asian eateries and not too far away from the busy Chatswood Westfield and Mandarin Centre. On weekdays you'll walk by to see a lunch special menu beckoning you from the restaurant's window, which is what brought us here on this fine Thursday for lunch. These tempting specials are listed on a rotation from the hours of 12pm and 2pm, and each day has 3 different specials that feature a range of meats to suit almost every diet.

The interior of this suave Korean Restaurant is predominantly black, brown and red, with contrasting retractable copper exhaust fans that hang from the ceiling above each table in a dramatic, galactic fashion. Most of the downstairs seating in lined up against the wall in banquettes, opposite the kitchen which is visible through a horizontal opening that doubles as the passageway through which orders are served. The restaurant has an amusingly long menu which spans almost every element of Korean and Japanese Cuisine - salad, tempura, Sashimi and sushi, hot pots, noodles, Bibimbaps, Bento boxes, BBQ sets, desserts, a kids menu and even a special Bulgogi buffet. It all looks extremely delicious, with some items - namely the more highly valued Wagyu BBQ and hot pot dishes - costing high in the above $50 mark. Mind you, these are more often than not enough for 2 or more people.

Wagyu Bulgogi Bibimbap ($16.50)

Lunchtime awaits! Being the nutritiously alert eater that I am, today I'm craving a nice big helping of vegetables and order the Wagyu Bulgogi Bibimbap. I'm not a fan of the raw egg on top so ask for it without, and it comes in a sizzling hot stone pot with miso soup and 3 special side dishes consisting of a cold bean sprout salad, kimchi-pickled tofu and carrot, and plain kimchi. When ordering I was given a choice of chilli or teriyaki sauce, and went for the teriyaki. Like any quintessential Bibimbap, this came with a hearty serving of vegetables: bean sprouts, carrot, zucchini, seaweed salad, pickled radish, bamboo shoots, spinach, mushrooms, all nestled in with tender pieces of grilled Wagyu Bulgogi beef. My absolute favourite part is the layer of crispy, caramelised rice left on the bottom after letting it sit for a while. Yummmmm.

Spicy Pork Bibimbap - ($16.50)

Dad got the same, but with spicy pork, which was marinated in a chilli sauce and served with chilli sauce on the side instead of teriyaki. Not too spicy, but with just enough kick to it.

Seafood Udon & Vege Tempura (lunch special - $13.50)

From the lunch menu Mum had the Seafood Udon and Vege Tempura special. This came with lots of tender seafood pieces: prawns, squid, mussels, clams and octopus. It had a nice, clear but tasty broth, and the tempura was light and satisfying. The potato tempura reminded me of a Japanese potato scallop!

Bulgogi Beef Udon ($14)

Both CK and GG ordered the Bulgogi Udon, marinated beef with spinach, seaweed and a soft egg in a beef-flavoured clear soup. There were lots of thick, slippery noodles to accompany the tasty beef.

The service was efficient and welcoming, and as you wait or eat you can see the smoke and sounds of the grill escaping from the kitchen. Other diners around us were treating themselves to the Bulgogi BBQ, their fans extended down closer to the table which was set with a mini bqq grill. The plates of thin, raw Wagyu beef that went past us, accompanied by lots of yummy vegetables, were tempting, and next time we'll have to try it.


Bulgogi on Urbanspoon

You Might Also Like