Remind me to never let the Hubs do the ordering ever again. Imagine this: 5 whole main courses, 2 barbecue meat courses, and 6 appetizer banchan for just 3 persons. We were at Bornga, the hugely popular Korean BBQ chain of restaurants spanning the globe from the USA to China, and now in Singapore's Vivocity, for dinner, and I'd stepped out to answer a call, leaving the guys to do the ordering. I came back to a table piled so high with dishes we had to resort to using a rolling cart on the side. Suffice it to say, we had to pack some of the dishes home because, try as we might, we just couldn't finish it all.
I'd read disparaging reports of awful service, ranging from the slow and inattentive, or just downright rude, but because we were dining on an off-peak weekday night, the restaurant was barely occupied and we were dealt with politely, if a little indifferently.
Food-wise, Bornga was pretty decent, albeit teetering on the above average-mark. In the overall scheme of things, we had a satisfying dinner that would still warrant a return visit.
The range of banchan isn't very impressive, with just 6 of them, and all vegetable-based to boot, but we were so distracted trying to finish the rest of our main dishes, we were hardly perturbed.
The Kimchi was fresh and possessed a spicy kick, but it was lacking in that distinctive sour tang.
Ditto for the Musaengchae, a salad of julienned radish seasoned with chilli pepper. This needed a lot more lift from a lot more vinegar.
The Pa Muchim, shredded spring onion seasoned with red pepper and sesame oil, was a nice accompaniment to the barbecued meats.
I quite liked the Kongnamul, boiled beansprouts marinated with sesame oil, these had a clean and clear taste that was very welcome in the sea of Korean spice and sweetness.
The Hubs loved the Sweet Potato Mash, smooth and laced with red pepper, and peanut sprinkles.
The Salad greens that hardly anyone touched because there were just so many other things to finish. They made good fodder for the barbecued meats though.
Onto the main dishes, the Sundubu Jjigae ($18), a spicy beancurd stew with dried shrimps and clams and pork belly was nice, but I would have preferred fresh prawns instead.
The potent Kimchi Jjigae ($15) packed a sinus-clearing wollop. We liked the generous chunks of pork ribs,but not so much the less-than-smooth beancurd.
The Galbi Tang ($18), beef short rib soup, was excellent, with an intense full-bodied broth that evidently took hours of slow simmering. We made short work of the ribs, which meat practically slid off the bones.
I loved the refreshingly spiced Bibim Naeng Myun ($15), chilled buckweat noodles stacked with slivers of beef, a hard boiled egg, pickles and radish, in a pool of savoury umami sauce enhanced by that sweet plummy chilli paste.
We loaded the Dolsot Bibimbap ($15) with lashings of gochujang, coating every julienned vegetable with a sweet piquant spicy paste.
The Jap Chae ($23) was a lot more rustic than I'd expected, and the noodles thicker than the usual, but it was still flavourful.
I find that the Korean-style of seasoning their meats too sweet, so we got the Ggot Sal ($38), prime cut Australian beef ribs, non-marinated so as to fully appreciate the natural robustness of the red meat. For extra flavour, we dipped it in doenjang (Korean bean paste), or the salt-seasoned sesame oil.
1 Harbourfront Walk
Tel: 6376 8268
Open daily from 11.30am to 10pm