Korea Garden

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 October, 2009, 12:00am

Fare Traditional Korean, mainly from the southern regions, including some dishes that non-Koreans may find unusual, such as the Army Stew (pictured above left), a bizarre dish developed during the Korean war that is made from local staples and, in years past, stolen American army rations. There is also the fiery, bubbling stew made from monkfish - a frighteningly ugly creature with a huge gaping mouth.

Ambience This homely, family-run venue features aquamarine wallpaper, ceiling corners decorated with pink fabric flowers and a screen of glass droplets hanging in the windows. It attracts a regular, predominantly Korean crowd of all ages.

Cost HK$150-HK$200 per person

Turn-ons While anything containing spam would not be our usual choice, we couldn't resist the novelty of the Army Stew, a popular dish in its homeland. It was cooked on a portable gas stove on the table and contained frankfurters, spam, tofu sheets, kimchi, slices of rice cake, mushrooms and instant noodles. The broth was spicy from the kimchi and surprisingly tasty, while the rest of the ingredients taste as you would imagine them, straight from their packets. The monkfish stew (pictured above right), or agoo chim, was a taste-bud-numbing dish served seething in a heavy stone dish. The stone dish retains the heat of the stew for hours, developing the flavours and the intense spiciness. Watch out, though, as the fish is quite bony.

Turn-offs The meat in the beef tartare (pictured top right) was very fresh and served with sesame seeds, egg yolk and slices of pear that made a good contrast to the meat, but it was masked by too much garlic.

Drinks The meal comes with a complimentary tea service of ginger, ginseng or citron tea, or there is a house sauvignon blanc and bourgogne, both at HK$188, and a house sparkling wine complimentary to parties of six or more. Korean beers, shochu, including cucumber or lemon shochu, hot and cold sak? and Korean plum wines.

1/F Blissful Building, 247 Des Voeux Road, Sheung Wan, 25422339