I have to say I was utterly disappointed with KONG. Given that Chin Chin has done so well for the last few years, opening up Baby and now this korean/Japanese inspired KONG. However, their marketing strategies and some formula they have has worked for this new venture as well. The old Pearl Cafe which never really took off, turned this place into more vibrant restaurant. We went there earlier before the crowds started coming in. It was just past 6pm and already we had to wait for a table! Just like Chin Chin! I guess the place is smaller than Chin Chin but has cleverly integrated lots of bar tables to fit more people in. As long as theres people queueing and waiting, the food has to be good right? I’ll discuss later why we were so disappointed. The only good thing about it is their management team. From the staff at the front door, the waitresses and kitchen staff, they knew how to manage a well run restaurant just like Chin Chin.
So we walked in, these massive light boxes with Japanese words and Pandas were lit up.
This was 6pm. Look how packed it was! The frontage around was all glass, so it was quite easy to see through from the street. Whoever drives past would know how packed this place was.
Pretty cold and wet day that night. There were a few outdoor tables and chairs. No way we were gonna sit outside! They did have a bar spot right in front of the entrance. But since so many people were opening the door, it was obvious we were not going to have a nice time if we sat there. Maybe they should have done something about that when designing the place?!
Menu looks similar to Chin Chin and Baby. 2 Page menu with drinks on the other side. We have been going nuts with Korean food recently, and thought lets give KONG a go. They sure have a bit of fusion Japanese/Korean and a bit of Malaysian (roti). They have definitely gone away from the traditional types of food and have invented their aussie – asian BBQ style. You’ll see in a moment.
We were lucky to sit on one of the bar areas facing right in front of the kitchen. Pretty much saw how they made the food, how the chef was barking orders, the management maestro of Lucas Group in action! They basically had a dedicated area for the BBQ and meats section, and another section to make things like stirfrys and their appetisers.
Still have the same drink they have at Chin Chin (Coconut Crush). They rotate the flavours every now and then. I had a cider, the girl got me the wrong cider and was apologetic. In the end I got another drink for free 🙂
First up is the soft shell crab bun. I thought it was a bit burnt. I don’t know why, even Chin Chin’s classic pork belly was similar. Bit too dark.
I was very disappointed with this dish. We were expecting typical Korean Spare Ribs, but this was more like a braised thick rib. Too much meat, too expensive really for this. Im not sure about Kim-Chi Daikon as well. Don’t think it goes well either.
We wanted some korean rice cakes, it was too sweet, just didn’t make the cut. Too aussified for our liking.
Didn’t think the Wings were anything special either. Bit too sweet and again over caramelized. Maybe try Gami. They’ll teach you a thing or two about KFC.
I mentioned before about the management and I have to commend the Lucas Group was their management. Even though the food was below par for our liking, the head chef Dan Briggs was orchestrating the team with efficiency and not demeaning at all. He was joking with his staff, but still had his finger on everyone making sure they were ok.
So after a disappointing meal, time for dessert. Layered Jellies of strawberry with VanillaTofu and Ginger Mirin. Again another disappointment. I don’t know, felt like it needed some other textures. Should have went with the Apple and Walnut tart instead.
Located in the busy part of Church St. Other places to try are obviously Baby next door and Top Paddock across the road.
I’m sorry to say, I wasn’t impressed with the food. I am open to fusion food, but it wasn’t to be. I think I prefer Bistro K for Korean Fusion. Drinks were a plus and the management was second to none. I can see why they still have long queues. Maybe I’m just picky but I didn’t leave with a wow factor.
Will I come back again ? You need to convince me!
Dish of the day ? Hard one, no outstanding dish for sure. Thought the drinks were good.
What performed? Lucas Group Management, showing their full power. Good management skills.