Kong BBQ, Richmond

Kong BBQ is a Korean/Japanese fusion restaurant in Richmond, a short walk down from East Richmond Station and also accessible via tram 78. The restaurant is actually opened by the same people who own Chin Chins, one of the most popular restaurants in Melbourne.

The interior of the restaurant is very bright, with the large windows allowing the natural light in. Together with the white walls and light wooden aesthetics of the whole place, gives a simple and modern look. The staff were very attentive, coming to check up on us several times throughout the meal, and the food came out relatively quick. Each table comes with a roll of paper towels (as some of the dishes can get quite messy to eat!), and we were also provided with hand wipes for our chicken wings dish, which was a nice little touch.

There's a good range of tapas and mains at Kong BBQ, and between three, we managed to get a good range of the dishes. Had we gone for dinner we probably could've ordered more mains, but as it was for lunch we went with more of the smaller dishes so we could try a variety. We ordered the beef kimchi mandu (dumplings; $16.50), spicy pork belly buns ($7), fried chicken buns ($7), korean fried wings (6 for $13) and an eggplant dish ($12.50).

The beef and kimchi dumplings had a thin and soft skin, with a good strong kimchi flavour that gave the dish just the right amount of spice. The beef was also flavoursome, and the texture was like that of bulgogi beef. Overall it was a really enjoyable dish, and definitely made me feel like wanting more.

The spicy pork belly buns came with pickled cucumber and the house made 'kong crazy horse chilli'. The pork belly itself was really soft and tender, and the spiciness gave the bun a good hit. The use of pickled cucumber was really refreshing, and cut through the heavier flavours nicely to balance everything out. Similar to the pork belly buns, the fried chicken buns came with a spicy corn and edamame salsa. The salsa was light but added extra flavour to the chicken, which had a nice crunchy skin but was soft and tender on the inside.

The eggplant dish was served with a chicken niku miso and sesame seeds, and acted as a good entree dish as the portion wasn't very big. Overall, the dish felt like it lacked flavour, even with the miso on top, and we found we had to add extra sauce to it.

The korean fried wings had a honey, garlic and sesame sauce that gave the chicken a sweet flavour, though I couldn't really taste the garlic in it. The wings themselves were tender and soft, with a crispy outer layer.

Kong BBQ is great for going with a large group of people as the dishes look to be designed to be shared, in particular some of the mains. I'd definitely come back again to try some of the mains, perhaps for dinner so we can order more dishes!

Ambience: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Food: 8.5/10
Price: $$


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