Where is your favourite place for Korean food? I normally hear people asking me this question. To be honest, I don’t normally eat out for Korean food as Tina and I sometimes cook Korean food at home. From many years ago, I used to pop around mapo regularly when it has not gone to a full fusion restaurant yet. Another place I liked was a small Korean cafe off Rundle Mall. Late last year, I read there was a Korean restaurant in Hazlewood Park which did good traditional Korean food. So why not check it out!
Chef Kim Korean Restaurant is located in Hazelwood Park which is home to many small Asian eateries. The restaurant opened 1.5 years ago and aims at serving traditional and authentic Korean cuisines using local SA produce where possible. Things like chilli paste are from Korean suppliers but meat and vegetables are fresh local produce. The restaurant is in a sleek and simple decor and shows a good country crop feeling when first entering the place. There are car parks on the outside of the restaurant, including disabled car parks.
One thing I really liked the restaurant from the moment I sat down was the fresh flowers on each table which make the whole place very refreshing. There was even a small bee around the place – a little scary to me but is a perfect illustration to show the beauty of the flowers. 🙂
The menu at Chef Kim is quite interesting. Diners expect to see a bit of both worlds. We were able to see the old school Korean dishes such as bulgogi as well as things that are not so familiar to myself. There is a separate lunch special menu which also feature lunch boxes which contain a bit of each all time favourites. I haven’t see the wine list but instead I saw a drink’s menu which again consisted of some traditional Korean liquors as well as different Korean tea. We ordered the Brown rice Korean green tea – a tea similar to Japanese Genmaicha.
Our entrees and mains just floated to the table after we were seated. As I still need to work in the afternoon, no alcohol was consumed. I got a lemon lime bitters as I usually do.
Fried dumpling (5 pieces), $8.5
The fried dumplings were made of beef, pork, tofu mince and Asian chives. The outside was quite crispy too but if you are going to try this dish, let me warn you first – the dumplings are full of juices which are quite hot. Just be careful with that :P. I didn’t know this and bite straight into it. You knew what was going to happen – the juices spilled all at once in the mouth. It is a fragrant experience but was too hot. :D. The texture of the filling was pretty smooth and the soy sauce added some saltiness to the content.
Seafood Pancake, $7.5
I was told that this dish was one of their favorite rated by customers. Indeed this is a traditional Korean cuisine. We sometimes cook Kimchi pancake at home and you can expect to find this dish in many other Korean restaurants. The dipping sauce is a good highlighter of the dish as it promoted the flavours in the pancake. 🙂
These were the entrees. The following items appeared at various positions on their menu. The first dish we tried was the garlic chicken.
Garlic Chicken, $24.5
I’ve never seen a dish in Korean cuisine like this before. The chicken thigh fillets were marinated with freshly crushed garlic and was pan-fried. The fresh garlic added exotic flavours to the dish but it was also used as a tenderiser. The chicken fillet in this dish was extremely juicy and tender and it was such a irreplaceable experience to indulge. The dish is normally paired with rice which can take some of the strong garlic flavours away and can definitely satisfy a hungry belly.
Rice tower bibimbap, $12.9
When we normally see bibimbap in Korean restaurant or eateries, they always appear as rice in a bowl with assorted toppings. This dish was a bit innovative with different layers of the toppings piled up together on top of the rice. Diners will need to break the tower and mix all the ingredients together. It is a quite interesting concept though. In terms of flavours, there were not much difference with the traditional looking bibimbap. It is very colorful and I am sure some diners would be impressed by the innovation. 🙂
Tofu plate, $19.5
If you think Asian cuisines are all about meat stirring with veggies, then this dish is an exception. It fit well in the vegetarian requirement as it contains pan-fried tofu and various delicious mushrooms. In terms of flavours, diners can expect to taste beautiful Korean ways of cooking mushrooms and the hint of chilli, which helped the dish to lift many complex flavours up. This is Tina’s favourite dish of the day.
Braised beef short ribs, $25.5 and Chef Kim’s secret recipe salad
This is a good braised beef short ribs. The meat was chargrilled on the bone and plenty of flavours have been developed in the meat. When I am writing about the dish, I can even hear my stomach rumbling. 😀 After chargrilling, the beef ribs were braised with the rest of the vegetables and hence no oiliness can be experienced. It is a family style dish and again, I have not seen this in any other Korean restaurants that I have visited previously. The salad in the right, unfortunately, is not a part of the dish but the restaurant has provided us for tasting. However, surprisingly, it worked brilliantly with the dish and provided such a refreshing experience with the beef. The chilli sauce was added onto the raw Chinese cabbage. OMG, I can’t really describe the feeling and taste! It was like tasking kimchi when not matured and this removed the flavours of maturation but still maintained all the rest of flavours. According to the restaurant’s manager, this is a dish that the chef cook at home for family members and hence, again, you will never see it in other Korean restaurants. Well done! I really enjoyed the salad. 🙂
Grilled dishes – LA Galbi, $35
Dishes shown in the photo above are all from the so-called grilled dishes. When diners order the main grilled dish, they get complementary steamed egg and the assorted Korean side dishes. Personally, I think it is a good idea to serve dishes in this way because people can experience a bit of everything. The assorted side dishes are home-made except the seaweed dish and they can be topped up for free. The beef short rib is chargrilled as the dish above but was not braised. The strong and enjoyable flavour made us wow for it. It is a common dish that people normally see in other Korean restaurant or cook at home. Well done! 🙂
Chef Kim uses local South Australian produce wherever possible. According to the restaurant manager, only essential chilli pastes and other assortments were from Korean suppliers. I would strongly recommend the grilled dishes to meat lovers and the tofu plate to vegetarians. It is not the usual Korean restaurant in Chinatown but it serves family style Korean cuisines.
If you are after a traditional Korean family cuisine, I recommend you to try the place out. Although we did not have communication with the chef during the lunch, we can experience the love she put in her dishes.
Disclaimer: Adelaidefoodies.com was invited to the restaurant but all opinions are my own.
4 Linden Avenue
Hazelwood Park, SA 5066
P 08 8338 7831