If there was ever a Sydney restaurant with great value, speedy service, hearty food in the thick of winter, Jonga Jip BBQ would be it.
Great value means our bill came to less than $20.00 per head for this particular meal for three people!
On a restaurant strip in the predominantly Korean suburb of Eastwood, there are at least twenty Korean restaurants, so how do you pick a good one? It is a cold and wet Tuesday night and whilst we walk along Rowe street peering at window menus and checking the number of diners in each restaurant as a gauge of its popularity, we know we want a hearty winter warmer – something along the lines of a simmering hotpot of goodness or a hot plate on which to cook meat.
We peer into Jonga Jip BBQ which is packed full of diners tucking into hotpots and searing meat on hot plates and the decision was unanimous.
I like the fact that a restaurant provides unlimited refills of its entrees. We are presented with banchan or Korean appetizers which consist of garlic shoots and mixed vegetable kimchi, beanspouts and potato mash.
Service is quick and efficient with the press of a service button on each table.
Our favourite banchan is the beansprouts and mixed vegetable kimchi and the more we eat, the hungrier we become as the waiter fires up the hot plate on our table and brought our mains.
A plate of beef tongue arrives thinly sliced.
The marbled short rib looks amazing with its marbled fat and deep red colour.
Our dining companion brings what he calls a “quaffing” bottle of Wolf Blass Shiraz Viognier. It has beautiful flavours where tannins are softened by the viognier and the wine is a great complement to the meat being barbequed on the hot plate.
Dipping sauces were on hand but my recommendation would be to request for salt and pepper. As the beef tongue and short rib are not marinated, sprinkle a little salt on each piece when it hits the hot stove and flip once only when cooked on the underside.
The short rib is a beautiful steak by any measure. With a price tag of $23.00, I have no issues even having to cook it myself. The good thing is we get exactly the medium rare that we desire that even some steak restaurants may get it wrong.
A simmering bowl of spicy soft tofu arrives and although it looks a little fiery, the flavours are subtle and it is a great dish for a cold night.
Steamed rice is a good complement to the spicy soft tofu. Although I’m not big on rice, I feel fairly well fed from the copious amounts of banchan refills.
As we eat, we see other diners tucking into steaming hot pots, searing meat and having a great time. We knew that we made the right choice tonight.
So dear readers, is there a restaurant dilemma that you can share with us?
Jonga Jip BBQ
87 Rowe street
Sydney, New South Wales
Tel: +61 2 9858 5160
1300 651 650 (within Australia)
0800 651 650 (within New Zealand)
1 800 255 9966 (within U.S. and Canada)
77 Southbank Boulevard
97 Sturt Highway
Nuriootpa, South Australia 5355
Phone: +61 8 8568 7311