I’m as much an idiot to Korean food as many of you (no offense meant). I can use just one hand of mine to count the number of Korean restaurants I’ve been to. Oh wait, three fingers will do. This, 2D1N, and Jang Shou. But with the fast and furious breakthrough of its music industry, infusing into our youngsters nowadays, the urge to have more taste of Korean culture heightens too. I know for one, if you’re looking for Korean food, the shop-houses at Tanjong Pagar is enough to keep you full for a year (exaggerated). I was recently introduced to Nolboo Hangari Galbi by a friend of mine, and so I succumbed. Located all the way up at Level 8, Orchard Central, Nolboo is quite a medium-sized restaurant – best to make a reservation either earlier on the day itself or the day before (at least for weekends) – speaking with experience.
Promptly after settling down, we were served with a small holder of sesame congee, a complimentary starter. Congee has never, never been my thing. But to have it as a starter, it’s still a first for me. Nothing spectacular, probably just something to whet your appetite for some grills to come.
6 unique dishes of complimentary appetizers, two shares for the 6 of us. For the first time us, we had no idea it was to be shared amongst the table – they could have done us a favor by telling us. Anyhows, we asked, eventually, to realize. The ikan bilis is salty and crispy, definitely something to start your course. Mashed Potato, Korean Radish (I think), Kimchi, and Beansprout. Although none of it is something to shout for (can’t expect much from complimentary items can you?), it still feels good to have something to munch on while waiting for your items to be done up behind.
Steamed Rice ($1.50++) :: This is, literally and physically, just steamed rice. No flavor, no aroma, just, ordinary steamed rice.
Grilled Honey Pork Belly ($25++) | Pork Belly with Chili Paste ($20++) :: Similarities first – both are hanging between bland and just the right amount of marination. With that said, your taste bud will be struggling to capture some taste, present or not, from the dish. Differences? The latter actually tastes better than the former. So cost wise and taste wise, go for the latter. I guess what can be improved is to cater a sauce that goes well with it. We had to resort to asking for chili sauce to go with it, which I thought, isn’t too pleasant for such a type of meal. Something commendable though, would be its smell – the BBQ smell is just awesome you can inhale it in all day.
I’m not sure about the dessert, but it tastes like Bubur Pulut Hitam. Again, like the appetizers, it’s nondescript. Something we just put in our mouth and go.
I wouldn’t say it’s going to be my last time coming here. But there’s a high chance it’ll be at least a while before I patronize again. They mostly need to work on their service, interaction and communication with the diners. Sometimes, the importance of service can supersede that of the quality of food. The food isn’t of the worst, although it surely can be improved. I’m not writing them off just yet, probably just need another time to try other items on their menu, and hopefully by then, better service.
—> Note #1: They serve iced green tea. But it costs $1++. You’ve been warned, if you don’t intend to drink – tell them before they pour you a glass.
—> Note #2: For the BBQ items, you can either request for them to BBQ it just beside your table or in the kitchen. Don’t worry about the smell of it ‘stenching’ your clothes – their system sucks the smoke away from you.
—> Note #3: They have another outlet at Ngee Ann City Tower A, Level 5.
Address (In Context): 181 Orchard Road, #08-04/05, Orchard Central
Telephone: 6884 9151
Photos by me.