“It’s not a real meal until you get your hands dirty”, I said as I forked out more money for yet another Groupon deal for a meal out. This time K and I dined at Open Korea in Camperdown, a tiny little nondescript restaurant that you would normally drive past as you sped down Parramatta Road. For $29, we were treated to an All-You-Can-Eat Korean BBQ experience.
…well, I say ‘experience’, but it was actually quite limiting! A true Korean BBQ experience would include more varieties of things you could BBQ, but the voucher limited us only to five different types of protein – marinated squid, pork belly, garlic prawns, marinated chicken and beef fillet, with no vegetable options at all. To try and balance our food intake, we ordered a green salad ($11.50) to have with the small dish of Korean side dishes that came with the voucher.
I’d read some reviews on Urbanspoon and elsewhere about the restaurant before we went, and was prepared for the worst possible service. Other guests (particularly those using vouchers like we had) had complained about the slowness of service and surliness of staff, with some waiting up to twenty minutes to get another round of food to barbecue.
I don’t doubt that some people may have had this experience, however we had a good dinner overall. The food may have been limited in variety, but the staff were quite prompt in bringing out our requests for the next round of food to barbecue, and we were never left unduly waiting for too long. My advice to other Groupon diners would be to book your meal for a time when there won’t be too many other diners around, so you can be guaranteed better service. We dined at 5.45pm on a Friday (early meal because we had a show to attend at 7.30pm), and as the restaurant wasn’t as busy as it would be otherwise, the waitressses were more able to attend to our requests.
Overall, I rate Open Korea a 7 out of 10. The food was actually quite well marinated despite the lack of variety (not as much of an issue if you’re not limited by a Groupon), and the garlic prawns were a treat! English-only speakers will find the experience challenging as the wait staff are not at all fluent, but if you’re ready to get your hands dirty, nothing beats Korean BBQ.