Thursday 4 June 2015

Nanta BBQ – Unique Korean Cuisine [MEDIA INVITE]

Nanta BBQ

Nanta BBQ is a Korean Restaurant that open its door in Singapore in December 2014. Nanta combines traditional Korean dishes such as its BBQ meat and stew, with modern and fusion Korean cuisine such as incorporating cheese in their dishes. Located in Goldhill Centre, facing the Thomson Road, the Nanta BBQ can be easily recognised by their cool pig mascot.

Nanta BBQ Mascot

The décor is minimalist but spacious. Light wooden colour was the main theme and materials used to decorate the place. Each of the table can fit up to 4 person, however it also easy to combine to cater to bigger crowd.

The Dining Area

There were 9 types of banchan (side dishes) served during that day. Ranging from the aged kimchi and fresh kimchi, beans sprout, fish cake, Gyeran Mari (Korean egg rolls) and salads. The kimchis are a hit on our tables, especially with LD and another dining partner.

Side Dishes and BBQ Condiments

For starters, we begin with Cajun Chicken Salad. This is a new dish in Nanta. Combination of boneless fried chicken piece with raw salad, mayonnaise and onion. The chicken was succulent and made a refreshing combination with the salad. It can be better if the chicken is crispier to provide a contrasting texture to the dish.

Cajun Chicken Salad

For the grill meat, we have Wagyu Short Ribs ($35 for 200 gram), Aged Black Pork / Kurobuta Pork Belly ($29 for 200 gram) and Kurobuta Pork Collar ($29 for 200 gram). The wagyu short ribs was grill using cast iron pan in front of us. It has a nice marbling and grilled to about medium. To accentuate the flavour, I dipped it in the mixture of salt and sesame oil. While it was tender and juicy, it is missing the melts in your mouth feeling or what I called the #beefgasm.

Wagyu Short Ribs

The porky went through two steps of cooking. First, it was grilled over high quality charcoal in the kitchen up to 80% cooked and finished at the table so it create thick smoke like a normal BBQ restaurant. While it is good to consider not smoking the customers, it causes the pork to contract during the changes in cooking temperature (hot – cold – hot) therefore the meat become slightly chewy. We suggest to just cook it 100% in one location, the kitchen or in front of the customers. We guarantee that it will produce a more succulent and tender kurobuta pork.

Anti-Clockwise from Top Right: Kurobuta Pork Belly, Kurobuta Pork Collar, 
80% cooked Pork Collar & Pork Belly; Pork Collar Final Grill

Ready to Eat: Pork Collar & Pork Belly

Moving to the Fusion dishes, we sample their Cheese Deng-galbi (Cheese Pork Spare Ribs). It comes in two different set. The set A ($55) is just a spicy pork spare ribs, tok-bokki with melted cheese. While Set B ($58), you have additional cheese egg, cheese corn, potato and spaghetti carbonara. The pork ribs are quite spicy, however roll with the cheese, it subdue the spiciness level will providing a creamy chewy texture to it. You must try the tok-bokki / rice cake as well, as it absorbs the sauce that the ribs was cooked it.  

Cheese Deng-galbi (Cheese Pork Spare Ribs) Set A
Top Left & Right: Cheese Pork Spare Ribs; Cheese 50% melted
Bottom Left & Right: Coating the Pork Ribs with Cheese; the Final product

For set B, the spaghetti was al-dente and creamy, while the corn cheese is sweet and creamy. LD like the egg as it was slowly cooked and moist. I also tried the unique combination of boiled potatoes with melted cheese. The set B is actually something you can order when you bring your kids or any non-spicy eater. It has enough variety that suited for everyone’s taste buds. In case the set is not tummy satisfying, you can add another $12 for Spam mixed rice to go with your Set A or Set B.

Cheese Deng-galbi (Cheese Pork Spare Ribs) Set B

If spare ribs are not your thing, you can try the cheese Tok-bokki ($18). The spicy version of the red pepper rice cake, topped with mozzarella cheese and torched until the cheese melted. Not only it has a plus point for WOW factor, it also provide a unique charred flavour on the cheese. LD says its good, the rice cake absorbs gravy well and those who like the chewy rice cake, will enjoy this dish.

Cheese Rice Cake

Of course a Korean dinner won't be complete without their stew dishes. We sample three of their dishes: Seafood Budae Jjigae (Traditional army stew using beef broth with Seafood); the inspired healthy version, tomato Budae Jjigae ($42 - using chicken broth and milk); and Bullak-jeongol ($45 – Beef Bulgogi and Octopus).

Bullak-jeongol (Beef Bulgogi and Octopus)

These stews are just mammoth in size, which can easily satisfy 4 to 6 person. Each of the ingredients are neatly arrange in the pot before the broth were added. The beef bulgogi and octopus have a robust and sweet texture to the broth. The beef are tender and flavourful while the octopus was a tad more springy compare to what I prefer, especially near the end of the tentacles.

 the inspired healthy version, tomato Budae Jjigae (using chicken broth and milk)

Surprisingly, the healthy version of army stew is something that I might incline to order in the future. It has a mild level of spiciness, while the sourness will stimulate your palate. The ingredients such as fish cake, tofu and spam are closely similar to the original army stew, however I feel it was missing the instant noodle in it. Meanwhile LD enjoys the Seafood Budae Jjigae, especially the freshness of the crab and cuttlefish. Not so much of the big headed bean sprout though.

Seafood Budae Jjigae (Traditional army stew using beef broth with Seafood)

Overall, the food served by Nanta is very interesting. We really enjoy their cheese influenced fusion dishes as well as their stews. If we order the bbq next time around, we will just ask them to do the cooking at the back all in one shot. There are some little things that can be improve, other than that it is a good place for some Fusion Korean BBQ and stew. Cheers!!

Cheese Soonsal Chicken With Additional Kimchi Fried Rice and Fish Roe
which we did not manage to try ($46)

Thank you very much Nanta BBQ and H3(Cube) for the tasting invitation.

Food & Drink: 7.5/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 7.5/10
Budget per Person: $26 - $50; $51 - $80

Nanta BBQ
175 Thomson Road
#01-175/177 Goldhill Centre
Singapore 307624
(Facing Thomson Road)

T: +65 6258 1391
IG: #nantabbq
OH: Daily 11.30 – 15.00; 18.00 – 23.00

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