The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - At the Table -

The thing about or­der­ing food in a Korean restau­rant is there are of­ten just so many pos­si­bil­i­ties. Even if you stay on rel­a­tively fa­mil­iar ground – for ex­am­ple, dis­count­ing the more ad­ven­tur­ous side of the spec­trum, such as egg casse­role, whelk noo­dles or acorn jelly with veg­eta­bles, there are still so many vari­a­tions – it can be dif­fi­cult to know where to start.

As we are on a lunch break to­day at Bobzip, we make it easy; the snowflake chicken is a Novem­ber spe­cial, so ob­vi­ously that’s con­sid­ered a del­i­cacy and you can’t go wrong with a tra­di­tional dish such as bul­gogi.

When vis­it­ing a restau­rant for the first time, I of­ten stick to pop­u­lar stan­dard dishes, be­liev­ing if they can get those spot-on, other more ad­ven­tur­ous plates de­serve in­ves­ti­ga­tion at a later date.

Bobzip isn’t just a catchy ti­tle, it trans­lates to “eat house” in Korean.

This large venue with ta­bles aplenty in­side and out could cer­tainly be con­sid­ered that, but to­day it’s empty, bar a cou­ple nearby, a solo diner and two of us.

Work­ing a sleek kitsch im­age with glossy black and glass theme and what we as­sume is Korean pop mu­sic (which nei­ther en­ter­tains nor de­tracts from the ex­pe­ri­ence, for us at least) there are quirky de­tails – a red bi­cy­cle mounted on the wall, over-size teacup and saucer pot plant hold­ers.

There’s a con­sid­er­able wait for food, in light of it be­ing lunchtime when most work­ers are on a lim­ited time sched­ule.

Since bul­gogi is mar­i­nated meat strips ei­ther grilled or pan-fried (in this in­stance with veg­eta­bles, so prob­a­bly the lat­ter) we as­sume it is the chicken that’s tak­ing a while to cook. The menu de­scribes snowflake chicken as Bobzip’s sig­na­ture-style deep fried “plain or spicy”. We have gone with the spice. Seated at a semi-cir­cu­lar booth we can see the food ap­proach­ing. A big dish of chicken, a side salad and a side tub for putting bones into. Un­sure where the snowflake as­pect comes in, we ini­tially at­tempt to at­tack the chicken with the stain­less steel chop­sticks sup­plied, but you can’t help just us­ing your hands for this sticky dish, which is surely why they’ve placed ex­tra pa­per nap­kins be­fore us. Not at all oily, it is light on heat but full on flavour, de­li­ciously juicy in­side and just al dente crunchy on the out­side. It’s not some­thing I would nor­mally have thought to or­der, but once tried, I am def­i­nitely con­verted. Bul­gogi, which means fire meat, ar­rives on a siz­zling hot plate – ten­der beef stir-fried with lots of crisp cab­bage, car­rots and onions – with a small side of kim­chi and another of what tastes like pick­led onion. Lean qual­ity meat and not over-sauced, it’s a healthy op­tion to off­set the deep-fried in­dul­gence. The dessert menu bears pictures of ice­cream con­coc­tions, waf­fles et al and we pass, but what does catch the eye is a green tea frap­pu­cino, which I’ll be com­ing back to try soon. A long black iced-cof­fee with sparkling wa­ter also sounds like a pick-me-up on a hot day. Ser­vice is ad­e­quate. Ver­dict: Sur­pris­ingly good.

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