Monday, December 26, 2011

Ssikkek Korean BBQ @ Novena

Who's hungry?

As a pescetarian, the visit to Ssikkek was a nightmare. Every table literally screams "MEAT GALORE!", while I'm miserably nibbling on the limited variety of pescetarian-friendly food. Don't take that as a no-no sign; Ssikkek is a great place to set your inner carnivore free, especially if you're suckers for belly pork, marinated beef steak and chicken.

Beef comes either in a rib steak or as thinly sliced steaks and bite-sized chunks, while the chicken comes in a bright red marinade. I believe that the restaurant serves meat prepared in other ways as well, judging from other reviews that I have read. But from the way the waiters were replenishing the food on a busy Friday night, the hot star of the restaurant has got to be their belly pork. When else would you get to eat that much belly pork in a single sitting?

Apart from the meat, there's a good spread of banchan (side dishes) to choose from. I had a good amount of kimchi and seaweed soup, though my carnivorous friends preferred their ginseng chicken soup. On the Friday night that I visited Ssikkek, they were serving stir-fried glass noodles, cooked mixed veggies, buchimgae (Korean pancake) and corn salad. To complete the Korean BBQ experience, they also provided a good variety of sauces, raw garlic and onion to fry your meat with, and fresh lettuce to wrap your cooked meat in before tucking it into your mouth.

Oh, and if you're a huge fan of prawns, Ssikkek isn't stingy with them. :)

Service-wise, I'll have to give it up to Ssikkek; their attendants never stopped zooming around the restaurant to top up your water bottles (every table is given one bottle of drinking water), change your aluminium foil, help take photos for their customers, top up the buffet spread, clear tables, wash cutlery, etc. I particularly liked the fact that they would change your table's foil every 30 minutes or so (we were there for three hours and our foil was changed about six times) for hygienic purposes. Ever so conscientious!

Anyway, if you wish to have something to drink apart from the free-flow herbal tea from the dispenser or plain water, they have a good range of drinks in their fridges for extra charge.

While I wouldn't see myself returning to this place (because I'm pescetarian and they obviously aren't fish fans), it would be a great place for large group gatherings birthdays (they would play the birthday song loudly over the PA and everyone in the restaurant would be clapping along) or if you're just in need of some good belly pork at a reasonable price. Just remember to make a booking prior to your visit to avoid disappointment; there will always be a long queue for the buffet table all the way out of the restaurant during peak periods such as Friday nights and weekends.

Oh, and do wash your hair, clothes and whatever you brought to the restaurant thoroughly if you don't wish to smell like a walking bowl of Bibimbap for a week. Keep that camera filter on, too.

Ambience: 4.6/5 ('ambience' in this case refers to the lively BBQ restaurant setting)
Food: 4/5 (according to my carnivorous friends; I'll give the kimchi 5/5 alone)
Price: $$ (We paid SGD 24.7 per head on a Friday night, all-inclusive)
Service: Poor/ Satisfactory/ Good/ Excellent

Eat where:
Novena Ville, 275 Thomson Road
(Just take the MRT to Novena. It's opposite Novena Church.)
Tel.: 6254 8123
Weekday lunch: Adult SGD 12+ / Child SGD 9+
Weekday nights, Weekend lunch and dinner, Public Holidays: Adult SGD 22+/ Child SGD 18+

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