How would you like a dinner out where there is so much interaction no one even thinks to pull out a device?
KorBQ in Belconnen is that restaurant.
“We’re a family-friendly place; we have something for everybody. The kids love the crispy chicken and everyone gets to take part in frying the food,” owner Jocelyn says.
Belconnen is her second KorBQ restaurant in Canberra. It opened in November of 2019 and they have hit the ground running.
KorBQ is busy when we arrive, several are family groups with the kids eagerly helping to cook their dinner. Much of the seating is comfy booths, with grills set into grooves in the tables. Gleaming foil-covered slinkies dangle from the ceiling like science fiction film props. They turn out to be exhaust pipes that diners pull down over their sizzling grills to absorb the smoke.
KorBQ’s extensive menu displays images of the food on offer. This certainly awakens whatever tastebuds hadn’t already jumped to attention at the enticing aromas from all that at-table grilling going on around us.
Jocelyn says that their best seller is Korean fried chicken.
“It’s our most famous dish, very popular. We sell our fried chicken at the Multicultural Festival and the Night Noodle Markets, so customers know them from these events and they order the dish again in the restaurant.
The crispy chicken comes in a variety of flavours: original, chilli, or swimming in a fabulous white sauce.
Jocelyn recommends that first-time visitors order from the set grilling menu that has options for two or four people, along with a plate of their famous fried chicken.
Our entrée, a plate of Bonito Seafood Pancakes arrives. Gossamer wisps of bonito flakes top pancakes dotted with mayonnaise and Teriyaki sauce. The bonito flakes add subtle smoke and saltiness to the dish. The pancakes have crispy golden edges of crunch with tender seafood and vegetable filling. We know there is a lot more food coming but we cannot stop eating this dish.
The server brings out our First Time option from the Set menu. A platter with slices of beautiful beef, pork pieces and prawns. There is a plate of lettuce plus a foil tray of cheesy corn.
Our server turns on the grill and gives us a little rundown on how to use it.
The foil tray of corn, cheese and butter goes straight on the grill. It cooks slowly for about half an hour while we grill our meat.
The plate of lettuce is to wrap the meat.
The grill soon becomes red hot. I recommend that diners wear layers – grilling food at your table warms you up.
We grill the meat in stages, to our desired doneness and serve with our trio of dipping sauces.
The dipping sauces bring varying layers of complexity. Nutty sesame oil with salt and pepper. The Red Korean bean paste is smooth with hits of salt, tang and heat. The third sauce is zesty lemon juice
Our Bibimbab, Korean mixed rice, comes out in a hot stone pot. A colourful layer of add-ins, including a raw egg, fan out artistically across the rice. Carefully combining it all together, the ingredients cook as the pot still sizzles from the heat. We stir a hearty amount of the chef’s secret gochujang (red chilli paste).
The corn in cheese is WONDERFUL! Oooey and perfectly goooey!
Eating around the grill is a fun and engaging process, a perfect event with friends, family and, dare I say, a fabulous choice for a first date.
It is slow food, but a meal here can be quick if needed. There’s a range of individual rice or noodle dishes that take just 10 minutes to whip up.
A choice of $12 lunch specials will be starting in the next couple of weeks.
KorBQ has plenty of space for functions and banquets set for large groups.
Anthony Bourdain once said: “Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.”
KorBQ is onto a good thing.
KorBQ is located on Level 3, next door to Yoghurtland at Westfield Belconnen.
It is open for lunch 7 days a week from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm, and open for dinner from 5:00 pm to 10:30 pm on Friday and Saturday, and from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm on weekdays.