Articles featuring Korean restaurants have painted innumerable media columns in the past year itself, and adding to the slew of Korean dining options in Singapore is E!GHT Korean BBQ, which made its debut at The Central at Clarke Quay. What sets E!GHT Korean BBQ apart from the other Korean BBQ joints is its incredibly elaborate effort in modernising the Korean BBQ concept.
The young husband-wife team has spared no expense in furnishing the restaurant with customised features such as the furniture and tableware, occurring with an edgy industrial design.
The roomy interior that seats 98 comfortably is adorned with timeworn bricks that once belonged to century-old buildings in Korea. Al fresco dining is also available at the 32-seater balcony that overlooks Clarke Quay and the Singapore River.
Comfortable stools offer more than just aesthetics –it also functions as a storage compartment for diners to stow away their bags and belongings.
The sleek customised BBQ tables feature two stoves that accommodate both grilling and stewing simultaneously. Utensils and napkins are neatly tucked away in a handy drawer under the table, where there is also a compartment for diners to keep their gadgets away from food splatters.
Even the matt black crockery and grill pans are specially designed according to E!GHT’s precise specifications and needs.
Meats and vegetables are cooked on grill pans that sit at a slightly slanted angle on the stove, which allows excess oil to flow away from the meats and down into a small waste trap.
E!GHT takes great pride in importing high quality cuts of 100% Berkshire pork from the U.S.A. Their signature 8 Colours Set ($98), suitable for three to four diners, feature strips of thick-cut pork belly flavoured in eight different ways –wine, original, ginseng, garlic, herb, curry, miso and red pepper paste.
Each strip, approximately 70 to 80g each, is elegantly rolled up and presented on a custom-made wooden tray. The label of each flavour is clearly carved into the wood to ensure customers know exactly what is being served.
The server will recommend the best order in which to relish the cuts, starting from the lighter toward bolder flavours, which is the wine and the unadulterated original first, to allow customers to savour the natural taste of the Berkshire pork.
Following the wine and original is the ginseng, garlic, herb, curry and miso marinades, leaving the robust red pepper paste for last.
The garlic and miso marinade are easily crowd-pleasers, but it is the herb-infused pork that leaves the deepest impression and had me wanting more.
8 Colours Set ($98)
For a downsized version, the 4 Colours Set ($58) makes for an ideal option for a table of two.
Diners can order additional strips of pork belly in their preferred flavours at $12 a piece.
Food is expertly prepared in front of diners by well-trained staff.
The meats are remarkably juicy and succulent. Condiments include a paste made of fermented soy, and a pineapple sauce that pairs exceptionally well with the meat.
Seafood Bean Paste Stew
The degustation sets mentioned above come with homemade banchan (complimentary Korean appetisers) and a Seafood Bean Paste Stew.
Scorched Rice Soup
A clear Scorched Rice Soup is served at the end of the meal to cleanse the palate. It’s a tad too bizarre for my liking –it is basically tasteless starchy murky soup, teeming with grains of rice, some slightly charred.
For a more substantial meal, diners can order the Fried Rice ($8), which will be fried on the grill pan with kimchi and Korean chilli paste.
This is where sophisticated Korean barbecue meets comfort food.
Doesn’t this look like a Korean equivalent of the Spanish Paella?
Chul Pan (Specialty Hot Grill) – Beef Brisket ($17)
The Chul Pan features an elegant tower of thinly sliced meat atop assorted vegetables.
The melange of ingredients are tossed together in a piquant house-made gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) and stir-fried on the grill pan right before your very eyes.
E!GHT Korean BBQ
#02-79/90, The Central
11.30am – 2.30pm (Lunch; last order at 2pm), 5.30pm – 11pm (Dinner; last order at 10pm)