Thursday, March 1, 2012

Saturday with the Bulgogi Brothers

The good and the bad thing about hanging out with Jericho is that the guy is always hungry! He doesn't look like the type to be eating a full meal every 2 hours, but he is. I met up with him one particularly hot Saturday afternoon at Greenbelt, after he had coaxed me out with the promise of treating me to a late lunch. We were both pretty set on getting sushi at Manila Maki, but it was closed on that particular Saturday, and our favorite Japanese joint wouldn't be open until later that afternoon, so that Jap attempt was pretty much a big, fat, farking failure.

After a good 15-minutes of aimless wandering and a misunderstanding between Cyma and  Café Mediterranean (don't know how you could mistake one for the other, but it happened!), our feet ended up making the lunch choice for us, leading us to Bulgogi Brothers.

Bulgogi Brothers is a popular Korean BBQ restaurant that was brought to Manila by the Bistro Group. They have over 29 branches in South Korea and have finally opened their first international franchise here in the Philippines. I'm taking this as an auspicious sign that the Korean invasion is going to be staying here a while. Not that I'm complaining!

We were ushered in, settled into one of the booths, and went through the menu, looking for the familiar must haves and not-so-familiar must tries. While waiting for our orders to arrive, the waitress set down a complimentary plate of corn, sweet potatoes and quail eggs. I never got to try the sweet potatoes or the quail eggs as they had quickly found themselves in Jericho's tummy.

I didn't mind, it was their complimentary Bori Cha (barley tea) that I hogged for myself (J didn't seem to mind that). I still have to catch their Oksusu Cha (corn tea) on my next visits, since they tend to alternate different complimentary teas every day.

Bulgogi Brothers is also well-known for their Korean alcohol list (they even give menu recommendations as to what alcoholic drink would go well with each dish) - everything from Korean wines to the popular soju - but I prefer tea over alcohol any day. I'm weird (and not Korean) like that.

It wouldn't be a real Korean restaurant without the vegetable side dishes now, would it? I think we had around three servings of the Korean salad with the spicy "magic sauce". I personally saw to the refills of kimchi and pumpkin mash, and whilst waiting for the other three appetizers to come back out, attacked the kangkong.

The Dubu Steak (P245 for 6 pieces) was served first. On the menu, the dish is described as "fried crispy dubu (tofu) with teriyaki sauce and bean sprout", which is true, but they failed to mention is also comes with a serving of beef on top. What a happy surprise! The veggie steak had a nice crisp bite on the outside, which gave way to the soft, silken tofu on the inside. We were both really pleased with this appetizer.

Jericho - also fondly called. The Sinigang Monster - is extra happy when his meals come with some kind of soup. Enter the Seoul Style Bulgogi (P595) - sliced beef with vegetables where the Bulgogi broth is made of fruits, onions and soy sauce. The soup was mild, yet full of flavor, nicely complimenting the beef that was swimming in its broth-y waters. Nom!

I, on the other hand, am all about the Korean barbie. We tried the Dwaeji Galbi Gui (P495), boneless spareribs marinated in soy sauce and thrown onto the induction plate in the middle of the table. Saving you (and your wallet) from overcooking your meat , your server cooks the meat for you, which gave me ample enough time to snap pictures of the sizzling meat feast.

The most taxing part of this dish was dipping the cooked pieces of spareribs into their special barbeque sauce and sweet and spicy sauce, before sprinkling bit of salt on them and having it all melt in my mouth. The spareribs were soft with a bit of a bite, and the dipping sauces brought out the simple flavors of the barbecue nicely. I'd like a cup of Korean Rice (P75) with this, please!

Another dish we ust keep coming back for is the Unyang Style Bulgogi (P595 for 6 pcs, P995 for 12 pcs). The beef patties are shaped like hearts to honor the style of of famous Korean Royal cuisine.

At the end of the meal we were offered various Korean brands of ice creams, but we were so full after all that beef we had to pass it up, even though those Melona Popsicles looked really good!

Thank you for the epic Korean lunch, Jericho!

Bulgogi Brothers
Level 3, Greenbelt 5
+63 2 621 6216, +63 2 621 5289
Sunday - Thursday: 11:00am - 10pm
Friday - Saturday: 11:00am - 11pm