The Philippines has become a haven for South Koreans. Throughout the years we received influx of South Koreans in the country for reasons of a better education on English literacy. Indeed the Philippine tourism received quite a boost from them, and of course, the Korean culture will despite the norm of having foreigners get assimilated into the Filipino culture. It is then inevitable that their cuisine will surely follow and I have no complaints from my taste buds.
Introducing, the famous food chain all the way from South Korea, The Bulgogi Brothers! From the Korean word "bulgogi", the first thing that came to mind is indeed beef, and lots and lots of beef! Though bulgogi simple means marinated beef, it can also be used on pork and chickens.
From initial looks, I find it typical for a mall-type restaurant to be small, crowded and noisy. Since the restaurant is only a week old when we decided to give it a try, as expected, queuing up is necessary. The only good thing is that the receptionist offered to simply notify us on our mobile when the tables are ready. I guess we had more time to stroll around the mall. Because of this, I was never a big fan of these mall-types restaurant but nonetheless I will proceed. We all know that the bottom line would always be the taste of the food and everything else is secondary.
Typical for a Korean BBQ, you are given the choice to have the food cooked in the kitchen or right in front of you. The latter was chosen to have the authentic feel of Korean bulgogi.
The order is the Bulgogi Brothers Special! Their bestseller! Good enough for 2-3 persons. An additional Bibimbap would have been a delight but I feared that the order may be too much for 2 people to eat, so I took a pass on the Bibimbap.
Although we noticed that the "special" is simply a combination of Unyang and Gwangyang style. If you pay attention carefully you would gotten more when ordered separately. I guess we got carried away and our stomachs got the better of us from all the waiting.
Immediately after completing our order, we were served with free Korean corn tea and appetizers (corn, sweet potato and quail eggs) to get the appetite going. These can be ordered as many times as you like.
The side dishes then followed (spicy spinach salad, white kimchi and kang kong). I would've preferred the spicy kimchi but the staff mentioned an additional charge is needed. What a loss!
The food is then served and will be cooked right in front of you. It was a bit unfortunate though that the staff insisted to cook on our behalf. It would have been nice to cook our own meal. I guess it may be an effort for them to maintain the taste of the food than to have customers themselves ruin the whole experience.
On to the cooking, the food was actually cooked by a Korean trainer all the way from Bulgogi Brothers headquarters in South Korea. The Unyang Style went first along with the onions for seasoning. I love how they shaped the patties into a heart.
The patties were actually delish, a different experience on bulgogi than the other korean restaurants around. It was unfortunate though that the staff had to leave us after to cook for another customer due to high number of people eating at the restaurant. This is bad since we prefer a variety of food served on the table and we were forced to wait for the staff to return in order to start cooking the Gwangyang style. We were then forced to call another staff to start cooking the other bulgogi as we were waiting far too long for the chef to return.
By the time the Gwangyang bulgogi was cooked, despite it looking scrumptious, we had lost our appetite already. The dish is actually delicious but no much different than the other Korean restaurants has to offer. We also heard that the liquor pairing was great, but I guess alcohol is not really our cup of tea.
The verdict: Bulgogi brothers offered a different experience on the whole bulgogi food from Korea. The appetizers were a good start, the side dishes were great with a minor exception on the white kimchi. The spinach salad does deserves a mention. The patties were delicious, a different offer from other restaurants but the traditional Gwangyang bulgogi offered no difference from other Korean food houses. By no means am I saying that the food taste bad, but I stand my ground on saying that mall-types restaurant puts quite a premium on their food prices that other restaurants can offer for lesser value and equal taste.
3rd/F Greenbelt 5, Makati.