Restaurant Review: Galbi

I’m not a restaurant critic by trade or by will. I write about the experiences that I’ve enjoyed, about the things that made me smile from the pit of my full belly. It’s as simple as that. Or at least I thought it was…

I’ve been interacting with restauranteurs for various reasons and was invited to try out a new place called Galbi that has recently opened at the 210 Long Street complex. I accepted to go because let’s be serious, the thought of a Korean-styled barbecue intrigued me.

Upon entry from Bloem Street, the fairy lights had me thinking romantically. Yes, the alley was dark. Yes, there were signs that the 26’ers had been there but the fairy lights made it all okay. The chef Coenraad and his maitre de, Louis, are personable and friendly. They’re a young team and this is their first restaurant. Their excitement is palpable.

For a restaurant that is positioning themselves as a Korean-style dining experience there weren’t too many indications that it was, in fact, oriental in nature. The decor, music and of course the food, were all very Western, except for the illusive promise of miso-flavoured fish…

To start the experience, the coals were brought in. It did feel as though I was at a braai but let’s be serious, who would really mind that. The first course of halloumi cheese and rosa tomato skewers, tofu and mushrooms were set on the grill.  That was followed by the vegetable skewers with much the same combo from the previous course and everything seemed to be bound by this lemon drizzle.

Then the meat arrived. Four minute-steak portions of beef rump were placed in front of me with an array of salt and pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and an orange sauce of sorts – not a wholly inspired display. I braaied my steak and tried not to dollop blobs of the jalepeno yoghurt dip that had been ushered through with the sweet potato fries on top of each mouthful.

The evening unfolded much like the way I’ve just described – a tad bland. As I sat there, full from a heavy meal, with plates, bowls and teaspoons for as far as the eye could see, I felt defeated. And not in the best kind of way. The hospitality and great experiential component of Galbi didn’t translate into noteworthy food, unfortunately.

The final course was a white chocolate quesadilla, which I was quite looking forward to. I’d been craving the wiles of white chocolate all day and had actually bought myself some Raffaelo on the way home. This needed to be braaied as well, to melt the chocolate and create that happy marriage between the sugar and cinnamon. Problem was that the quesadilla was flaccid, the chocolate tasted synthetic, much like the banana and strawberry coulis served with it.

In general, Galbi is not a place to go to if you like fresh produce. While the veggies and meat are of a good standards, the beef was not free range. The condiments were not made from scratch but merely poured into pyrex dishes and unfortunately, I feel as though too many corners have been cut, which ultimately affects the dining experience. The concept is fun and while I had a great time BBQing my food with my friend, I didn’t leave feeling all together satisfied with my meal. 

210 Long Street, Cape Town
021 424 3030

9 thoughts on “Restaurant Review: Galbi

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sounds typically Korean in style…but obviously the writer has never been to Korea otherwise he/she would have had more to say about the whole experience, and perhaps even more good things to say. Definitely not a restaurant critic by trade.

  2. ms_kamini says:

    You know what they say about opinions…

  3. Serisha says:

    Anonymous, firstly, the writer herself even opens her piece stating that she is not a critic of restaurants, which you in turn have used to mock her. No need to be nasty. And secondly, while having being exposed to and visited the country or area of the foods origin obviously has its benefits, it's by no means a pre-requisite to being a food writer.If you have an issue with the writers opinion, then critique the piece based on that instead of her having not been to Korea.

  4. lets ask mr/mrs anonymous have you ever been to korea or are you korean ?if so instead of going wa wa wa give some positive and maybe constrictive thoughts blogs are written for real people by real people

  5. Mands says:

    Blogs are also very easy to navigate. Don't like / agree with what you're reading? Move off to something else. Blogs are opinion-based and personal- you sign up for that when you click on the link. I think it's time to go and be Anonymous somewhere else.

  6. ming-cheau says:

    I don't think it's that necessary for one to have been to Korea to review a restaurant. It's all about experiencing things for yourself. I fully agree with Mands.

  7. Colleen says:

    It's always good to read different personal opinions of restaurants on blogs. You dont have to be a food critic, neither do you have to have experienced the actual country that the restaurant/food is based on to write what you think. It is, after all, your personal space to write what you want to write. As long as it is your honest opinion that you experienced at the time of your visit that is what is important. Unfortunately there will always be someone who takes umbrage to what you have written if there is some negativity in the story. One would assume from Anonymous's comment that he/she is connected in some way to this restaurant – which is sad really as they should be sitting up and taking note of honest criticism and doing something about improving their service to the public instead of dissing those who write about their experiences and do nothing to better themselves. I am always very suspicious of someone who does not step up to the plate and put a name to their ramblings. They hide behind the word 'anonymous' and spout silly mutterings all over the internet, spreading discontent and achieving nothing really!

  8. As the owner of Galbi Restaurant , I would like to add my 2 cents worth. I've already replied to Miss Pather in my personal capacity and we both know that there are no hard feelings between us. As far as the comments go I felt this response was needed since the only person who really gets affected by the little bit of bantering on this blog is me and my business. Galbi is a start-up restaurant and anyone who has ever opened a restaurant should know how much time and effort go into the process. We are still in the process of perfecting our menu, style and service and criticism is necessary to achieve that. I do appreciate Miss Pather’s honesty and will use her criticism constructively.One piece in the article that left a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended) is the part about the vegetable skewers. The order was specially made for her vegetarian friend and is not featured on our menu. We did not have time to test that recipe like we did with all the others, but will definitely be better prepared next time a vegetarian visits our barbeque restaurant.Anonymous does make a valid point, and it seems that he/she has been to Korea and I am not sure if the person knows me personally or has been to my restaurant, but it is important to know what Korean Barbeque is about before you can judge the ethnicity. For those of you who don't know it is simply grilling meat (beef or pork) at the table with friends served with lettuce, kimchi, Ssamjang and heaps of soju.(Korean wine) Judging by the author’s second from last line :” The concept is fun and while I had a great time BBQing my food with my friend”. She did in fact enjoy our Restaurant experience. Galbi is not a Korean Restaurant but based on the style of dining. We are offering a wider range of items which include Kudu, Lamb, Thai chicken, Yellow tail and Pork. It is all about sharing and having fun while grilling at the table with great company. I believe every one is entitled to their own opinion. It is never nice to get criticism, but I think what counts is what you do with it. Luckily for us since the author’s visit we have also received some really great feedback. It is unfortunate that Miss Pather did not really enjoy her time with us, but I am confident that her next visit would be deelishuss !And it could have been a lot worse if my name was Graeme Smith today!!!

  9. I'm pleased to hear the review is going to be used as constructive criticism, as I'm sure it was intended. In a situation like this, how feedback is handled is so important. Blogs are inherently personal and it's why they work; it's why I go to fellow bloggers' sites to read their subjective opinions or why I read Trip Advisor before I travel. The ones I go to are, invariably, similar to me – with a taste for good food, ambience & service, while still being aware of the cost & details. The ones I don't "click" with, pardon the pun, I don't have to read, as Mandy said. But the bottom line: I appreciate the opinion of a real person who is able to articulate their experience, not a food critic whose palate and budget is often not accessible. Thanks Ms Kamini for keeping it real.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: