Auntie Kim’s Korean Restaurant Review

Upper Thomson Road… What are your impressions about this place? No parking, very rowdy? Well, a combination of both, with good food, cafes and Ice Cream is what Upper Thomson Road is all about, in my mind. Yeah, I know, they closed the famous Longhouse Food Centre, I am sad too, but don’t fret, food is still in abundance here… The famous Auntie Kim’s Korean Restaurant is a great example!

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Apparently recommended by a close relative of mine, Auntie Kim’s is a rather traditional, authentic Korean Restaurant compared to ‘newer, hipster K-BBQ outlets’ popping up… The only odd thing was outside, there was a TV showing K-Pop groups and dances, entertainment or just being cliche? Interestingly, when we were there, the place was packed, we were lucky enough to be seated after they removed a ‘Reserved’ Sign on a table, must be a no-show…

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The menu is, actually quite small and compact, compared to other Korean Restaurants like Big Mama’s and Hyang To Gol, but the standard essentials were still there… Kimchi based dishes, Rice, Noodles, BBQ meats (Which was quite interesting, but I will get to it later). The servers… well, some were dressed in their traditional Hanbok, but there a mix of locals, Korean, PRCs and Indonesians… Interesting, a perfect example of the current F&B labour crunch in Singapore.

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The meal started with the side dishes, just 6 of them (ignore the pancake first). From left to right, there are black Beans, Sweet Potato nuggets, Spinach, Kimchi, a stew of Vegetables and Beansprouts. Hardly anything elaborate, which was quite surprising… Since this was what you would except from a K-BBQ spot rather than a ‘Straight-Up’ Korean food spot. Nothing much worth mentioning, ummm… The Kimchi was too sour and spicy and the Sweet Potato nuggets were soggy and had a one-dimensional taste, just Sweet Potato and plain Batter…

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This is the Hae Mool Jeon, or Korean Seafood Pancake ($16.00). Well, if you called this an Egg Omelette, it is pretty good, soft interior with a crispy edge and exterior, with a strong eggy taste. But no, this is a Korean Seafood Pancake, I can’t taste any seafood in it, and the dipping sauce is just like soy sauce…

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This is the Kimchi-Chigea, or Kimchi Stew with Tofu ($14.50). Like their Kimchi, this was really Sour and Spicy, and kinda watery… Also looked a mess, really appealed to my Mum who ate the majority of it, who loves Sour and Spicy Stuff.

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This is the O Deng-Tang ($15.00). First of all, the soup was extremely salty, and this was a very odd dish to call Korean, it kind of reminds me of Oden, the Japanese Stew. Anyway, back to the dish, the Beancurd just took on the salty soup, and it tasted one dimensional and salty… So, what I would say here is the broth would be important to the flavour of the Beancurd as it absorbs it up…

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This is the Saeng Kalbi ($28.00). Ok, essentially this is Grilled Beef Short Ribs, pre-cooked… Odd, as the picture on the menu is a plate of raw Beef, and there is a Round metal hole in the middle of the table. Anyone who eats a lot of K-BBQ would then presume it is a grill under the cover, but I suspect it is just there for show, as I didn’t see… or even hear any meats being grilled at the table.

Now, on to the Beef… It was plainly in one word, disappointing. The meat was completely overcooked, tough and dry, very disappointing, as this cut had the potential to be tender and delicious… And what was the point of the serving the bones on the hotplate? Now, unless you are extremely weird and likes to keep momentos from your meal… They would be better off using that to make a beef stock, soup or broth…

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This is the classic Hot-stone Bibimbab ($16.00). Now, this is one of my most favourite Korean dishes, a must order for me, but sadly it did not really float my boat… I ordered it with Pork, which was quite chewy, and the rice was overcooked and mushy, which increases the danger of it burning in the Hot-stone. But, the Hot-stone was hardly sizzling… I don’t know whether to classify that as a good or bad thing really, especially since a really hot and sizzling Hot-stone is one of the most important characteristics it should have… image

Finally we have the Jajangmyun ($15.00), which is basically a Korean Noodle dish that is topped with a Black Bean Sauce. It was served at room temperature, the noodles are springy, but the Black Bean sauce was quite bland… Just a little sweet and salty!

In conclusion, well… I am guess you could most probably guess I didn’t care much about their food, I have definitely tasted much better Korean Food before… But, I have recently just heard of a neat way for gauging a Korean Restaurant! Forget checking out the queues or whether the Waitresses are wearing Hanboks… Just look for any Koreans eating in that Restaurants! The reason is pretty obvious, they are the best at gauging Korean food! If only I checked the place out first, come to think for it… I don’t remember seeing any Koreans (I don’t think this method would work at K-BBQ spots).

Overall Rating:6/10

Restaurant Info:
Auntie Kim’s Korean Restaurant
265 Upper Thomson Road
S574392

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