I always drive by this Korean restaurant on my way to Pop's home and was curious to try it out. The restaurant always seems to be a full-house.
Once through the door, we were greeted immediately by a Korean lady who spoke immaculate Mandarin. For a true-blue Korean (I think, only because she's got a Korean name and spoke fluent Korean), her Mandarin was astoundingly brilliant. She put both our Mandarin speaking ability to shame (okay, yes, our Mandarin is quite crappy, but she was so good she could well be delivering the Chinese news)
We were quickly served with a small selection of Korean Side Dishes. They were quite dismal, so we didn't order refills although they were free. We should have known better. The standard of the side dishes heralded the quality of the main dishes.
The BF felt that the Kim Chi was very flat and "CMI", "Cannot Make It". (You know how the younger generation pepper their conversations with acronyms all the time? I once submitted a piece of work to CC and inserted a note with the acronym "TMI", because I wasn't sure if that paragraph contained "Too Much Information", and my boss actually thought it was a newfangled legal term that he'd never heard of! It was hilarious.)
The Seasoned Spinach (sigumchi namul) wasn't as good as Red Pig's version, as it was a little bland, but it was still passable.
The Jeon (pancake) was also not bad. Savoury and slightly flattened and compressed. This was served at room temperature.
The Kongnamul (seasoned soy bean sprouts) was practically tasteless, but the sprouts were refreshingly crunchy.
The Oisobakki (cucumber kim chi) was similar to the Kim Chi, flat and tasteless despite its fire-engine red hue.
This pickled dish was also not very good, it was a little too tart and the mushroom was cold, tough and chewy. I took a bite and spit it out.
We tried the Yang Nyum Kalbi ($27), barbecued beef short ribs, the only good dish of the 4 main dishes we ordered for dinner. This was served with bean paste, crisp lettuce and freshly cut chilies and raw garlic. The BF was about to take a piece of the garlic when he remembered the last time he ate raw garlic. (he was given a 10 foot-wide berth which meant kissing, hugging, and any other forms of affection were curtailed until he stopped breathing AND burping garlic)
The tender beef was marinated with the traditional Korean bulgogi, with a nuanced sweetness which complemented the robust flavour of the beef.
The Dolji Bulgogi ($14.50), pork with a spicy Korean sauce, wasn't good at all. The pork was a disappointingly dry and a little powdery in texture, despite being doused in a spicy Kim Chi-based sauce. We didn't finish this.
We also ordered Kim Chi Chigea ($14.50), kim chi stew with beancurd, traditionally served in a claypot to retain the heat. The kim chi fared better here than in the side dish, the steaming hot soup made the kim chi less flat.
The Soon Dubu Chigea ($14.50), spicy beancurd stew with egg was better than the kim chi chigea, but the Red Pig version is much better. The soup here at Auntie Kim's is milder and slightly bland. However, I liked the addition of zucchini to the soup.
Auntie Kim's Korean Restaurant
No. 265 Upper Thomson Road
Tel: 6452 2112
Open daily from 11am to 3pm for lunch and 5.30pm to 10pm for dinner