Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hwaro BBQ

Location: 562 Little Bourke Street [near King Street]
Cuisine: Korean, BBQ

With a number of recommendations from friends, I took some work friends down to Hwaro for their first Korean BBQ experience. The food was unbelievably amazing!! Now I've had Korean BBQ before, but this time just beats the rest! The meats were well-marinated and full of flavour, and were barbecued until they were soft and tender, none of that charred burnt blocks of meat! There was a wide range of complimentary side dishes too - kimchi, beanshoots, soybeans and the like. We chose a dish each for the BBQ, and also a seafood pancake. Amusingly, we ended up selecting two of nearly everything - 2 x bul-go-gi, 2 x chicken thigh fillet, 2 x calamari and 1 x marinated rib-eye fillet.

[complimentary sides]

[seafood pancake]

[the BBQ itself]

The place was very nicely ventilated - each BBQ had its own mini air-vent that could be lowered or raised for convenience. Despite the ventilation, the smell of Korean BBQ still lingered on our clothes after we left. There is even a outdoor 'balcony-like' section with tables. Would be a nice place to sit in the summer, but for winter, we were glad to have an indoor table!

The service, on the other hand, was rather abrupt and at times bordered on rude. One waiter told one of us that we had to be out by 8pm because they had another booking for then. Now, why wasn't I informed of this when I called first to make the booking, or at either of the two times I called to confirm numbers. As we approached 8pm, they started loitering around the table collecting finished plates and bowls and brought us the bill without us having asked for it.

The next complainable thing was the way they miscommunicated information. When we made our orders, I asked the waitress whether rice would be charged per head or per bowl. She said per head, which we took to mean unlimited rice per person as is usually the case at many other Asian restaurants. The problem was when we got the bill, they had charged us for 15 bowls of rice and not for 9 people. The waiter then tried to back it up by showing us the menu - which merely stated "steamed rice $2" without any indication of whether it would be charged per head or per bowl. After stressing this, they were at least willing to rectify the bill and therefore redeemed themselves.

I think that irrespective of the billing issue, the food was so awesome that I will definitely be back for more!!

Overall Rating: 9/10
Melbourne Hwaro Korean BBQ Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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