Paik’s BBQ, Melbourne
Unless you’re super familiar with South Korean food culture, you may not have heard of celebrity chef Baek Jong-won. He’s a juggernaut in the scene with 26 restaurant franchises and 1,299 branches across Korea. Here in little Melbourne, Paik’s BBQ is his first for the Korean BBQ line. My friend Nick and I head in for a taste of some best in class Korean BBQ dining. Warm hospitality and warm hotplates to match!
Queue for BBQ
Paik’s BBQ is located in Little Lonsdale Street, so Flagstaff is your closest station. That being said it’s an easy 10 minute stroll from the hub of the city. You might walk in thinking this is a cute little restaurant but it’s actually quite long and perfectly spacious for a crowd. The type of diners include couples, corporates, friend groups. It’s the type of eating that works for any type of occasion really. I’ve only had a few bouts of Korean BBQ myself, but am always primed for me.
Meat your maker
To keep things simple my friend and I went for the mixed combo ($68). This includes short ribs, chicken, pork belly, doenjang jigae (soybean paste stew) and a hell of a lot of sides! Little bits of everything (not sure if they refill, but we had plenty) and a whole garden row of leaves too.
At Paik’s BBQ they use coals which gives everything a lively level of heat. With the seafood sticks, kimchi and pickles there’s every taste for every type of person. Not sure who can handle raw garlic but props to them!
We get a bibimbap to start our meal and I’m always happy with a little bit of rice. It helps me feel like I’m having a complete meal. At Paik’s BBQ they thoughtfully include the gochujang on the side. This is great as we can control our own level of spice by managing the amount of this chilli paste we put in. I liked the bibimbap although it didn’t have the level of crust on the rice that you can get at some places that makes this dish real magic.
We also ordered the skirt steak and between this and all the meats we had a real feast! I know chicken is boring, but this was one of the highlights for us. I would recommend when heading to Paik’s BBQ to go for (at least some of) the marinated meats. They do it well here.
The product is all really good quality and the staff lead the cooking to make sure it’s done to perfection. Paik’s BBQ is a very clean experience which I should add, both in terms of flavour and in the literal sense. The meat all melts in your mouth and the side sauces/ salt makes every mouthful delectable.
Cheers to that
There’s a crazy Corona-based fruit cocktail available at Paik’s. This combined with the soju had my Asian flush up in no time. But not to worry, it’s the same situation for quite of the few groups here tonight. You get a sherbet-like rush of sugar in the initial sips before it starts to mellow down with the beer.
The meat we saved for the last was the pork belly – after a bit of time it had a lovely crisp texture. Again, I think marinade would have made this more exciting, but we enjoyed this end note all the same. Part of the fun of Korean BBQ is being able to take things slowly and get some good conversation too. So I do think that’s worth factoring in as part of this experience as you’re not quite in and out like other options.
The staff at Paik’s BBQ had us well looked after during our hour and a bit there. It’s an easy recommendation for any group event. Good variety, crazy amount of side dishes and a good balance of ambience and bustle. Make sure to bring your appetite!