Of course to most Yorkshire folk the idea of going to a restaurant and paying to cook one's own food is simply unthinkable. Why the hell would anyone want to do that?
I expect that this is one of the reasons why there are very few Korean BBQ restaurants in Yorkshire, which is a big shame, because eating in a Korean BBQ restaurant is actually a lot of fun. Especially if just like me: A) – you are a fervent carnivore. B) -You so much as look at a carb and pile on three pounds and C): you have never been allowed to step within six foot of your own BBQ because it’s not your own, it’s your husband’s, and god forbid if you even tried to so much as turn a sausage.
So me and my gorgeous girlfriends Lisa and Leanne (whose husbands are also fiercely overprotective of their BBQs) decided to dine at Bulgogi, which aims to bring Korean table-top BBQ cooking to life in Leeds.
With our beautiful Barnet’s freshly washed, all trussed up in our glad-rags and doused in our favourite perfumes, we headed into Leeds for a rather novel dining experience. Novel for Yorkshire anyway. Obviously in Korea it’s like going for a Big Mac Meal.
No sooner had we sat down at our table we were switched on and were warming up nicely. ‘We’ being our own little BBQ grill built into the middle of our table, and before we could say “a bottle of Pinot Grigio please”, various plates and platters started to arrive.
Luckily, the tables in Bulgogi are large enough to accommodate the huge amounts of food that are put in front of us. The bench-style seating is also cleverly planned for those diners who can actually consume the amount in front of them; for little me though, the fitted benches were too far away from the table and I felt somewhat distanced from the lovely ladies opposite me, which is my only grumble about this little place. So, if you are rather robust with a whopping waistband you’ll be just fine.
After some delicious appetisers – Mandu dumplings and Kimbap, a Korean sushi – the main event kicks off with bowls of rice, lumps of iceberg lettuce, an array of sides and dips and no less than six different seafood and meat dishes presented perfectly on large platters. Slithers of raw beef with a light glazing of sesame oil, thin slices of pork, king prawns, squid and duck, all well seasoned and marinated and locally sourced of course, are ready for us to bang on the barbie!
Anyone would think that none of us had ever cooked before as we excitedly slapped lumps of meat onto the hot grill and watched them sizzle in glee. You certainly won’t be sending your food back for being cold at Bulgogi, nor can you send it back for being under or over done – it’s a genius concept really.
Just be careful not to dangle your hair extensions too close to the grill.
There are a few pros and cons to this concept; mainly pros. But it would be wrong of me not to point out that there is absolutely no point in washing your Barnet, trussing yourself up in your best LBD and dousing yourself in your favourite perfume because you are inevitably going to smell like a kebab when you leave. Don’t order wine if you are fussy about your wines; order beer. And finally, for obvious reasons, don’t bring your strict Kosher / Muslim friends like my bessi mate Karen Wolfson, who is a strict Jewish wife (apart from on a Saturday when she likes a bacon sandwich).
The pros – Everything is very fresh and the meat and fish is excellent quality. It’s super healthy as the majority of what you consume is lean protein. Above all else, this place is fun. Especially if you are a bloke. This is the kinda place that groups of men can go in the winter months and drink beer and indulge in a bit of off-season BBQ action. And at £22.95 each all in, it’s bloody good value too.
Book your table to avoid disappointment – click here
Thank you to the lovely people at Bulgogi for hosting me.