Guhng (The Palace) is definitely one of my all-time favourite Korean restaurants in Melbourne. Of course, it doesn’t compare to the authentic Korean food I had in Seoul – it took me awhile to recommence eating Korean food in Melbourne after that trip; nothing ever could compare – but relative to other Korean restaurants in town, this is one of the better places.
A large 3 level establishment located on MacKillop St next door to Red Spice Road, Guhng is centrally located and convenient. Though the food itself is very good, what also makes Guhng so special is the fancy decor, (relatively) restrained atmosphere, and its excellent ventilation system. You will not walk out of this Korean BBQ restaurant smelling like meat. Certainly this is advantageous if you’re planning to head out after dinner.
The place is clean, service is efficient and professional, price is very reasonable for such a nice place in this location. On this occasion I was catching up with ‘the girls’ (from uni) – Cat, Henhen, ML, ‘Aunty’, CathyG, Fi, and Dot. It’s extremely rare that we can actually find a time when everyone is free to get together, and this was one of those precious occasions. We were also celebrating Dot’s final registration exam – it was a long time coming.
We sampled the Kiwi soju – it was actually very yummy! Barely tasted alcoholic – one could very easily get drunk downing this. ‘Aunty’, our resident Korean food expert, ordered an assortment of BBQ meats and other ala carte favourites:
Man-Doo pan-fried dumplings (wheat flour, soybean curd, onion, garlic, ginger)
Pa-Jeon Seafood pancake (mixed seafood, egg, vegetables)
Doo-bu Tigim Fried Tofu Salad (Fried Tofu, with mayonnaise and homemade soy sauce)
Scotch fillet, mushroom
Gal-Bi (Butterflied Marinated beef ribs)
Green tea tiramisu
Guhng is one of the few places which actually jazz up their Korean desserts a little bit; most other restaurants I’ve been to have limited options with Korean desserts, and which have very standard presentation. Guhng’s selection includes more unconventional choices such as blackberry panna cotta, as well as the usual red bean and green tea favourites. All 8 of us girls were very partial to green tea, so went for either the green tea tiramisu or ice cream (the panna cotta was an old photograph from a previous visit). Even these were presented beautifully, with chocolate coils – A+ for aesthetics.
The ban-chan (side dishes) were also very good, and I’ve always enjoyed the trio of sauces we get with the BBQ – sweet soy, sesame oil with salt, and miso). I also like the option of having black rice, rather than the usual white rice.
This is a Korean restaurant I would definitely recommend. Great ambiance (you can actually hear your companions from across the table – rare for a Korean BBQ place), convenient location, clean, very reasonably priced. GREAT value for money, and delicious. A winner for sure.
Ratings (based on my own experience, on this occasion):
Food – 7 ½ / 10
Service – 8 ½ / 10
Value for money – 9 / 10