I was full of hopes for Bornga. After all, this is Korea’s leading BBQ restaurant, led by famous celebrity chef Jon Won Paik, and is Bornga’ first venture to Singapore at The Star Vista. (Read: The Star Vista’s Complete Food & Restaurant Guide )
This restaurant franchise has more than 30 outlets across Korea, the US, China and Indonesia. Yes, Bornga is crowded all the time, and you better come early or reserve your seats.
Maybe it is the Korean and Gangnum Style fever, Korean BBQ restaurants are practically packed in Singapore. Many hot-sizzling restaurants have also just opened, such as Boss BarBQ at Clarke Quay, Kkongdon BBQ at Marina Square, Mini Korea Bistro & Izakaya, and Supulae, both at Tanjong Pagar. (Read: Big Mama at Tiong Bahru)
Word has it that Chef Jon Won Paik wanted to create a new style of BBQ meat that could retain the natural colours and taste, unlike many other Korean style meat which are dark in colour due to over marinating. The result is the signature and patented Woo Sam Gyup ($22) – thinly sliced beef brisket dressed a special sauce.
Some of the other premium cut beefs do not exactly come cheap – Ggot Sal prime cute unmarinated boneless beef ($38), Saeng Galbi unmarinated beef ribs ($45), Yangnyum Galbi prime cut beef ribs in house special sauce ($45), and my personal favourite Samgyupsal grilled pork belly ($18).
We always joke how that we can be full after having just the Korean Banchan (side dishes). Bornga serves enough to fill up the entire table, especially with an elongated plate of lettuce. With the exception of the potato salad, most are not appetising though.
Service was rather attentive, and the wait staff could help you grill and cut up the meat. The boy who was serving us at least knew “the meats were from US” after I questioned.
Beef slices cook very fast. The best way to enjoy them it to roll up with scallions into the lettuce, dip into the house sauce, and stuff the entire thing in your mouth. The vegetables were cool, crunchy and fresh, making it particularly enjoyable to savour the tender meat with.
Other than the delicious BBQ grill and sauce, most of the other dishes were not particularly memorable, with some left half untouched.
Food aside, I cannot help but notice that the first thing I noticed after entering Bornga is… smoke everywhere, like you are walking through fog.
I walked out, hair smelling like that grilled beef slice, my new shirt with a porky aroma, and felt like jumping into a shower pool. So if you sniff Korean BBQ while watching a concert at The Star Performing Arts Centre, you know where the ‘aroma’ comes from.
Updated: Bornga opens 2nd outlet at Vivocity
Bornga 本家 본가
1 Vista Exchange Green #02-24 The Star Vista, Singapore 138617 (Buona Vista MRT) Tel: +65 6694 4696
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:00pm Daily