I’ve been a fan of Seoul Garden for years but now there’s a new kid in town which is definitely giving my longtime Korean BBQ buffet fave a good run for its money. Located on the 7th floor of Orchard Central, K.Cook Korean has been enjoying good word of mouth and it was easy to see why. Sited at the corner facing the main road, it has an air-conditioned dining area but I would advise you to get a table at the bigger non-AC area as (i) it’s covered but airy so the BBQ smell won’t stick to your clothes; (2) if you get a table by the side, you can enjoy great scenic views of Orchard Road; and (3) there’s a giant screen showing videos of K-pop stars on the loop which, even if you are not a fan, provides some entertainment while you are enjoying your grub and grog.
The buffet fare may not seem as extensive as Seoul Garden but just the meat portions alone are worth the buffet price alone, and then some. Selections include beef ribeye, beef short ribs, beef bulgogi, pork belly and pork collar, most of which are in generous portions – some presented in well-sliced raw cuts, others well-marinated. There’s also a cooked food section that offers items such as braised chicken, stewed vegetables and Korean pancakes. Korean cooking is not big on seafood but raw prawns and squids are available for BBQ.
Last but not least, garnishes and condiments are aplenty as well and you can choose from fresh lettuce and potato salads, to Korean kimchi and various pickles. At K.Cook, a huge rectangular, not-stick hot pan (see top picture) that runs on gas is used for the cooking and it’s quite practical, with the food items cooking within seconds once the heat builds up. The servers are also always on hand to help you with the configurations, replace the gas can or change the pan if needed. Just wished they were a tad faster if removing the empty plates from the table but then again, we were there on a very busy Saturday evening.
Plain water comes with the buffet but soft drinks, juices and liquors are available on the a la carte menu. Though there were Korean rice wine or cheongju available, we just had to try the South Korean beer Hite which is a light lager, smooth and refreshing, and which goes down very well with all the red meats we were having. And it was decently cheap too – the tall bottle you see here cost us just $10. If we knew – we didn’t check the price when ordering *duh* – we would have ordered more!
All in all, K.Cook was truly value for money. Weekend dinner buffet was S$26.90 and three persons with 2 bottles of beer only cost us less than $120 and all we could eat too. The place actually offers discounts such as if you can finish your meal within an hour (10% I think according to a poster we saw) or if you leave before 7pm on a busy weekend night etc, but seriously, one shouldn’t rush at all at a BBQ buffet. Take time to cook all food well and make time to savour them bite by bite. Just make sure you get to K.Cook at the right time on Fridays and Saturdays as those are the days they don’t accept reservations. For us, lucky we were there by 5.45pm last Saturday ‘cos within 5 minutes – all food-loving Singaporeans think alike! – the place with over 40 small tables was packed, with a queue that got longer and longer. Me thinks it’s going to be very popular for a very long time yet…