Korea House Restaurant

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 March, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 March, 2003, 12:00am

G/F, Korea Building, 119-121 Connaught Road, Central

Tel: 2544 0007

Open: 11am-3pm, 6pm-11pm

While wandering around Central on a cold Sunday afternoon, our nostrils were assailed by the tempting smell of barbecuing meat. We followed our noses to Korea House, a restaurant we remembered eating at years ago, when it was on the 19th floor of the same building. Avocado green decor has given way to bright, fluorescent lights, pale linoleum and Canto-pop blaring on an overhead television.

Fortunately, the food was just as good as we remembered.

The menu is extensive and tempting. If I had been with more adventurous eaters with stronger palates (and stomachs), I would have ordered the spicy, raw marinated crab, beef tartare and soothing, comforting bean curd casserole. Instead, we stuck to the more standard Korean favourites.

The surface of our small table was almost half-covered with the bowls of kimchee and pickles - at least 10 varieties. The main courses - which came all at once - took up any remaining table space and we had difficulty passing anything around, although we have only our greed to blame for that.

The boneless marinated ribs ($110) and chicken ($80) for the grill were perfect for a cool day. We wrapped them in lettuce and shiso leaves from the platter of vegetables ($100), added a blob of fermented bean paste and topped everything with spring onion salad ($50) and kimchee. We also enjoyed the warming stone pot vegetarian rice ($98), which had a nicely browned rice crust on the bottom, although it needed a little more chilli paste. I thought the vermicelli noodles with vegetables ($80) was too soupy, but my guests enjoyed it.

The television was right above us and the Canto-pop wasn't conducive to a leisurely lunch. So we took our over-full stomachs into the cool Hong Kong air and tottered on home for an afternoon nap.

Lunch for three, with one soft drink ($20) and five Hite beers ($30 each) was $693.