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Sunday, 28 June 2015

[Media Invite] Dinner at Woorinara II Korean Restaurant @ Clementi

2 Clementi West Street 2, #01-01 West Coast Community Centre, Singapore 129605
Tel:  6464 0408

Woorinara Korean Restaurant is a family-style restaurant situated within West Coast Community Club itself, looking inviting and cosy even before we entered the restaurant beneath the beautiful dusk skies.

They also have another branch at Lorong Kilat (Bukit Timah), and Woorinara itself is manned by a Head Chef who has won several awards since the year 2010.

This is a media invite attended by representatives from Hungrygowhere as well as food-tasters ChubbyBotakkoala, IvanTeh_Runningman etc, and hosted by the friendly Korean staff who were very helpful and hospitable throughout, addressing our questions about the many, many items that were literally #onthetable for tasting.

Whether one chooses to sit indoors to enjoy dining in cool comfort while watching entertaining music videos (K-pop, of course), or dine alfresco under the enchanting settings outside, this home-style restaurant offers an excellent experience, serving meals at very afforable rates.

They started us with 11 types of Banchan (appetisers / side dishes), all made fresh and tasty. Whether one enjoys Stir-fried Potato Strips (Gamja Bokum), Crispy Ikan Bilis (Myeolchi Bokkum), Kimchi, Braised Beancurd (Dubu Jorim), Omelet Roll (Gyeran Mari) or Stir Fried Fishcakes (Eomuk Bokkeum) etc, be prepared for taste punches of flavourful bites that whets the appetite in preparation for the upcoming mains.

The Korean Steamed Egg Casserole (Gyeran Jjim) was served in a hot earthernware, steamy and hot, as though beckoning us to indulge in its smooth fluffiness - and we did.  It glided silkily past the tongue all right, but unfortunately did not make much of an impression in taste. Maybe I am more used to flavourful dishes, or my tastebuds were affected by the delicious Banchan served before this dish.

Nonetheless, moving on, we had some Korean Cheese Fried Chicken -seemingly the trend of late. The famous fried chicken here comes in 4 flavours - original, soy, garlic and yum yum. The one that we tasted was the Soy flavour, boosting of boneless chicken pieces submerged into a thick pool of cheese gravy which unfortunately did the chicken grave injustice. It might have been crispy, it might have been tender, but all was lost in the pool of cheesy sauce which also obliterated the sweet soy flavour instead of enhancing it.

But, bearing in mind that most reviews compliments the Yum Yum flavour here, maybe it would indeed be much better.

The dish that stole my heart was the Korean Seafood Pancake (Haemul Pajeon), flutteringly-crispy on the exterior edge, packed generously with springy-textured seafood, luscious with thick cheese centre and best of all - filled richly with kimchi within this delicious creation. Every bite was a gastronomical-kaleidescope of different flavours and textures, forming a union that seduced the palate and kept it yearning for more.  If I do not order anything else - I might very possibly be able to finish this entire pancake on my own!

The BBQ Meat platter was in order, and the grills / pans were all heated. The Beef Set, comprising of Short Ribs, Bulgogi (marinated beef) and Sirloin were all being put to the heat, squirming their way in the sizzling heat from deep rose pink hues to a lovely earthly colour.

Cho Ji (the crew) was grilling for us all this while, explaining the various dishes and origins to us patiently.

The taste-buds and teeth got to work immediately, following the instructions of the Korean crew to wrap the meat and vegetables into large leafy lettuce and eat.  I ate the meat with and without the lettuce, just to do a "placebo" test, and the winner that emerged was still the ultra tender, melty, luscious Short Ribs.

The Bulgogi beef and Sirloin were unfortunately less succulent, but possessed great flavours nonetheless - saccharine beefy tones enhanced by smoky touches.

What really piqued our interest was this large jar of very-finely sliced pork belly, pork collar and pork jowl, all rolled up like pink roses in a vase.  "Was the entire vase for us?" I asked in astonishment at this point, where our bellies were already comfortably stuffed, and the cheery Cho Ji said yes

Besides grilling it to a beautiful dark brown hue alongside lots of vegetables, a special sauce was being used herein - made of fruits and herbs, and "perfect for cold Korean winter nights", according to Cho Ji.  The pork held a hint of crunch to its succulent flesh, and was pleasantly complemented by the exotic herbs-and-fruits sauce.

A hot bubbling pot of Army Stew (spicy sausage and ham) beckoned us over next, filled to the brim with sausages, ham, Enoki mushrooms, vegetables, bouncy Korean noodles etc. The taste was utterly good, and most of us had second helpings of this soup.

Next, another generous pot of Clams Soup, richly indulgent with fresh, bittersweet clams as well as shrimps, tossed with a variety of vegetables into a creation of delectable broth. For seafood lovers, this is a beautiful soup that allows you to taste the natural flavours of clams (which is usually cooked in white wine sauce at other restaurants). We believe this soup would go very well with a bowl of rice too.

Finally, we were privileged to watch the preparation of Kimchi Fried Rice right in front of us, from stark white rice pearls into gleaming golden drops of mouth-watering grains. Yes, the kimchi fried rice was substantial in flavour and even though this was the last dish and our tummies were protesting, we finished every grain of rice in our bowls simply because it was scumptious.

Oh well, as though the impeccable service and palatable food items were not overwhelming enough - we were still gifted with a case of 10 bottles of Korean Ginseng drinks each - a vitality booster with sweet flavour and a large ginseng within the bottle that may be reused.  Thank you Woorinara Korean Restaurant, for moving the heart (and views) of someone who initially never enjoy Korean fare much - I am now a convert!

Korean food lovers - head down right now for your fill of Korean food and satiate your cravings today. They have a different promotion every month, you may give them a call at 6464 0408 or email at woorinarasg@gmail.com to check on the promotion as well as make reservations.

Thank you, Hungrygowhere, for the invite.

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