So welcome to K-Week! This week of posts from me is all about a cuisine which I love loads and eat loads of - Korean food! To some it may seem there's not much variety, the stereotype of Korean food is Kimchi, Korean BBQ, Bibimbap and Bulgogi. I do love all those things, but there is so much more, and the variety available in Sydney these days is getting better and better. Let's get to it!
First up, what is this dark alleyway??? Where exactly am I taking you?
|Err.. where are you taking me?|
One night many months ago I was on my way to O Bal Tan (another very good Korean BBQ place in a city laneway). But on my way I came across this laneway, and my tummy told me I should go and have a look-see at what was down there. Lo and behold I found Kozy, a Korean barbecue restaurant. I peered through the doorway, took a squiz at the menu and decided this was our new destination instead. It was a fantastic meal and ever since that night I have returned many times. It is the only k-bbq restaurant I have eaten at ever since.
The most important thing at k-bbq? The meat! Kozy's got all the must-haves and it's very, very good quality. I always order Wagyu Flapmeat ($24) and it is worth every dollar - so meltingly-tender and flavoursome. Even if you accidentally over-cook some it's still soft (seriously, it is! I know cause I've done so). I also really like their Pork Belly ($17). There's a variation, Wine Pork Belly ($18). Both are good, but taste wise I have to admit I can't really taste much difference with the wine. The wined-pig's crispiness was a little better but maybe we just happened to do a better job of cooking that particular night, I'm not too sure. Another favourite is Beef Tongue ($18), not everyone likes tongue (yes that sounds wrong) but I do like it's lean, slightly chewy texture. It all cooks exceptionally well because Kozy uses real charcoal. And here they change the metal grill-plate for you regularly - you don't have to ask them and you don't have to pay. I couldn't ask for more. Well I could actually - one of the best things about k-bbq is that it's not an overly meat-heavy affair when eaten properly. You get fresh lettuce leaves - place a piece of meat in the middle and some dipping sauce. The standard offerings are sesame oil with salt and pepper, and korean style miso based sauce. I love both and they complement the meat really well. Wrap it all up and it's a great balance of flavours. We get as much lettuce as we like here at Kozy, and there's also fresh garlic and green chilli too.
The 'banchan' side dishes are a good standard, if you ask nicely I'm sure they'll refill them for you. On one occasion that I ate at Kozy, it was my birthday celebration with all my girlfriends from school and we went through a lot of banchan, our waiter was very kind and kept refilling it. Maybe it's cause we went through it so quickly and with such gusto, like a banchan-hungry mob.
|Meat is always on the menu at a k-bbq.|
|Banchan side dishes and dipping sauces on the left, big thumbs up for charcoal on the right.|
|Pork belly, wagyu flapmeat, wrapped up in lettuce. OMG I am in heaven everytime I eat this. Seriously!!!|
They also have those hot pot soups, the prices range from $12 to $15. All the ones I have tasted so far have been good - Gom Tang (thick beef-bone soup with sliced beef and vermicelli in hot pot), Hae Mul Silky Tofu Stew (spicy silky tofu stew served with mixed seafood and vegetables in hot pot), Kimchi Cheegae (kimchi stew with tofu, vegetables, and pork served in hot pot), Duen Jang Cheegae (Korean style miso stew with beef and assorted vegetables served in hot pot).
So far so good - good food, good service. But there's one last, fantastic surprise.... wait for it.... cheap Soju!!! That's Korean distilled beverage for the unfamiliar - in other words - alcohol. It's super cheap because for every $30 you spend you can have one bottle of Soju for $1! Yeap.. one dollar!! I think it's a minimum spend of $10 per person or something like that, I can't quite remember. But in any case, the cheap Soju is awesome value. My girlfriends loved this bargain as much as I do. Does that make us a banchan-hungry mob of Soju guzzlers?
|Don't get me wrong soups are good... but $1 Soju is even better!|
Do you still need another reason to check out Kozy? I would say no. But perhaps I haven't convinced everyone. During the day, there's no bbq to cook at your table. Instead there's a lunch special for only $7.99. You can choose from numerous options - a bowl of noodle soup or maybe rice with a dish of meat. You get some banchan side dishes too. All for $7.99! I've had the afore-mentioned Hae Mul Silky Tofu Stew with rice, So Bugolgi Set (Korean sizzling bbq beef marinated in soya sauce served with rice) and the Jan Chi Guksu (Korean style noodles with kimchi and vegetables in seasoned soup). The stew is hearty and makes for good comfort food, the bulgogi beef is soft and flavoursome which goes well with rice, and the noodle soup is light with a little kick of kimchi. All are generous serves that come with banchan side dishes and make for a very filling lunch. Awesome value!
|Lunch special Hae Mul Silky Tofu Stew with rice and banchan. Only $7.99! And it don't look so dodgy in daylight.|
|Jan Chi Guksu in the foreground, So Bulgogi Set at the back - both $7.99, I smell a tasty bargain...|
I love small eateries in little laneways.
I love authentic Korean bbq.
I love a $1 Soju bargain.
I love a $7.99 lunch special that is filling and tastes good.
So it's easy to see why I love Kozy so much, it really is one of my favourite places to eat in Sydney!
What: Kozy Korean Barbecue
Where: 7 Wilmot St, Sydney (02) 9267 3533
How much: Lunch special $7.99 (regular lunch menu also available), BBQ meats in the $20 range, many more items available on the menu. Aaaaaand don't forget the $1 Soju!