I haven't eaten at a Korean restaurant in ages, I've always had a bit of a hit-miss experiences with korean restaurants and they never seem to impressive much. In fact a lot of them taste the same. Yes bbq meat and making you smell like bbq afterwards, not exactly the best (although I do love korean bbq).. and their hot pots - all seem to taste the same.
But in recent years there have been so many Korean restaurants popping up all over Perth. This particular one; Took Bae Kee 1 does good dishes at student friendly prices and when they have two restaurants a block from each other (the one I went to is number 1 and is the original one - duh!) and there is always a huge line here for dinner (exception of Monday nights), you know you are in good hands.
The restaurant is tiny; seats about 20 and the food comes out quick, you eat quick (because you are ravenous by the time you get your table - waiting time usually isn't long 10 mins) and then you get hurried out the door quick. It's not a place where you sit, eat then sit back and talk - the girls will kick you out. They also don't allow you to wait in the restaurant and you can understand why when you get there. It's tiny. They are also not the friendliest of waitresses either, but they are efficient.
The menu is rather extensive, they have the Korean bbq on hot plates, bibimbaps, soup, dumplings, Korean potato noodles, individual hot pots, rice cake and all things Korean. Of course you also get your complimentary sides dishes of curry egg salad, kimchi, beansprout salad and lotus pickle. There was 5 of us around a small table and we ended up ordering too many dishes (which we still managed to clean up), there was a rice cake dish, 3 bbq dishes, bibimbap, soup, Korean pancake and potato noodle.
The complimentary side dishes
The rice cake was probably one of my favourites. The spicy sauce used to cook the rice cake is amazing - spicy, little salty and a little creamy and a little bit like curry too. The rice cake themselves is a little bit like gnocchi in texture and a bit like glutenous cake but less sticky. We had it with chicken. Worth getting and trying something a little different; not just your Korean bbq or soup!
The chicken rice cake
Then there was the Korean pancake. I like the way Took Bae Kee make their pancakes. It's not too dough or eggy and there is so much of the stuffing inside. This time around instead of my usual kimchee (or kimchi) I got the pork slices, vegetables and kimchee pancakes. It was a little bit milder in flavours than the kimchee pancakes, and you can't really taste the pork slices, they must have fine diced it too much. Next time I know just to get their kimchee pancakes because I know that is pretty damn good and satisfying.
Pork, vegetables and kimchee pancake
The beef sliced potato noodles in soy sauce was very refreshing and almost cleansing. The clear noodles have a texture that is silky and almost like jelly. I think the dish lacked a bit of flavour, all I could really get was soy sauce with a faint hint of seasame.
Beef slice potato noodles
CN and AL ordered the bibimbap and I didn't get a chance to try it but the chilli bibimbap sauce I layered it on my dishes. It's just too nice! By the way for those that don't know - bibimbap is a dish that can be eaten by one person and is usually not shared. It has lots of vegetables with rice at the bottom and meat at the top (with or without runny fried egg on top). This is to be all mixed with a bottle of specially made bibimbap sauce (added by you to your liking). It's delicious! Try it if you haven't so already and you be hooked.
CN ordered the tofu soup. It was spicy, bit salty but the broth is so yummy. I wanted to try what the dish was like with all the tofu and egg in it, but I only had bits of it at the end. Definately will warm up the belly on a cold winter's day.
Then there was the three bbq dishes - spicy chicken, spicy sliced pork and spicy pork, kimchee and tofu. They all started tasting the same afterwards - spicy and hot. The chicken one however was tender! The spicy sliced pork; the pork was fatty and it was a little tough and the kimchee, pork and tofu I think is better than the spicy sliced pork and for some reason the pork wasn't as tough and the tofu seemed to mellow out the spiciness of the dish and gave it a silky texture to it. All bbq dishes comes with a side of rice.
Spicy chicken BBQ
Spicy sliced pork bbq
Spicy pork, kimchee and tofu bbq
So the whole meal came to about $20/head, which I think is amazing value. We were all very very full and satisfied afterwards. Took Bae Kee, gives you decent sized dishes at afforadable prices (most expensive item on the menu is about $15). It's yummy, it has spicy (and extra spicy at request) for those with a chilli kick and for those who aren't into spicy they do have sweet dishes too. It's efficient and it's quick and it's all in the centre of the city on Pier street.
You know there is always room for dessert. So in keeping with the Korean theme JC and I went next door to the Korean grocerer and got ourselves some ice-cream. He opted for black seasame and I grabbed an unusual sweet corn ice-cream with actual sweet corn inside! JC said that it's good so I thought hey why not try it. It's really strange, but it tastes like frozen condensed milk with corn (which I'm sure if condense milk is not frozen and you put it on fresh corn it would be nice). In terms of ice-cream its weird, it isn't bad, but I wouldn't say it's the best. Not for everybody, but you should try it out if you are daring, who knows you might love it!