Tag Archives: Bulgogi Grill

Bulgogi Grill

Leeds has a number of oriental cuisines covered, whether it be Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Indonesian and Malaysian food being quite easy to get your hands on. However, the same couldn’t be said for Korean, this was until Bulgogi Grill opened last year. Korean food is something I’ve dabbled in, but not to a great extent, so news of this opening put the place straight onto my to visit list!! Months passed still without a visit, then after trying my first Bibimbap a few weeks ago down south, it reminded me that Leeds had its very own Korean spot to try out. 

Bulgogi Grill has become part of the improving Merrion Centre, adding to an increasing list food and drink venues, making it a good spot for those visiting the First Direct Arena being just a stones throw away. Recently a friend and I made it our mission to go and get our fill, with a number of positive reviews already written about the place, it promised much. Having not taking the time to book, we could’ve easily been scuppered as the arena had a gig on, but we snagged a table they were clearing as we walked in. One of the first things that greets you, apart from the staff was the smell of grilling meat and the marinade. If my mouth wasn’t already watering at the thought of chargrilled meats, then the waft of smells on entering the building was seriously more than enough to do it!!

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The restaurant itself is filled with intimate booths, each with a dedicated extractor fan hanging down from the ceiling and a grill which can reach up to 300°C! For £22.95 each, the evening menu comprises of a starter with two different items (dumplings and kimbap), then an assortment of different meats and seafood for the BBQ, accompanied by a whole host of sauces, rice, lettuce and side dishes.

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From the outset the staff were great, making us feel comfortable and this continued throughout our evening. As the evening panned out they were present without being overbearing, observant enough to check if any side dishes needed topping up, and every now and again they’d alter the temperature on the BBQ.

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To start there’s just one choice; the vegetable mandu dumplings with kimbap. The dumplings were crisp and tasty, probably overshadowing the kimbap, the korean version of a sushi roll. As we received two of each on a plate per person, it seemed at the time quite slim pickings and lasted a couple of minutes to polish off.

Vegetable mandu dumplings, Kimbap (Korean sushi)
Vegetable mandu dumplings, Kimbap (Korean sushi)

Next up the main event, staff started to bring out a whole plethora of items in small bowls (banchan),  including deep fried courgettes, pickled vegetables, kimchi and vermicelli noodles, alongside a selection of sauces, rice and lettuce. 

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Now even before we’d stepped into the restaurant my friend had proclaimed that she wanted ‘meat’ and this was exactly what we got!! Bringing out beef lightly brushed in sesame oil, slices of pork, seasoned prawns and squid seasoned with a Korean soy sauce. Finally the Bulgogi beef and duck which are their specialities, where the meat is prepared in a delicious marinade. 

The concept is pretty simple – cook your protein of choice as you desire, then wrap it in lettuce with rice and whatever accompaniments you choose. After I’d stopped being greedy and filling the lettuce too much, I got the knack and thoroughly enjoyed the experience!! If I was to find fault it would be that I expected the kimchi to have more punch, it had plenty of flavour, but the distinctive fiery kick was missing. 

Slices of beef and pork
Slices of beef and pork
Fresh king prawns and squid
Fresh king prawns and squid

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Bulgogi duck
Bulgogi duck
Bulgogi beef
Bulgogi beef

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To finish we were given a shot of Aloe water to help clean the palate.

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I’d definitely go again, I really enjoyed the whole cook your own thing and they don’t scrimp on portion sizes. A few friends of mine had been put off by the price, but I think the amount of choice on offer and the refillable extras makes it very much worth it! We’d hardly eaten all day, keeping ourselves for Bulgogi and neither of us could finish everything! We ordered the whole menu for two people, but to be honest we would’ve been very happy with a portion for one, and just use lots of the extras!

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Yeah, some people may think why go to a restaurant where you have to cook your own!? Not that every meal out I want to cook my own food, certainly not, but I do think it adds to the experience and at least you can cook your food exactly how you want without any fuss!

Also for those who may want a meat-free option, they can cater with a vegetarian menu, they just need 24hrs notice !

Bulgogi Grill

The Arena Quarter

9 Merrion Way

Leeds

LS2 8BT

Bulgogi Grill on Urbanspoon

Future Foodie Delights in Leeds

I love planning ahead, whether it’s places I want to explore, exhibitions I want to see, holiday destinations that need researching and most definitely foodie destinations. Leeds has been on a food and drink roll, but it’s still developing and with the summer months not too far away, there’s still a number of things brewing in the food and drink pipe line.

Trinity Kitchen continues to do it’s thing in terms of serving food to the Leeds masses, with it’s ever changing street food from around the world. There’s the obvious big hitters such as the Belgrave which seems to be the place to go by all accounts at the moment since opening last year, and also Brandon Street Night Market with their monthly street food bonanza. The restaurant scene has also been bolstered by the likes of Shears Yard, Zucco, The Hungry Bear and RARE amongst others over the last year. 

With a number of new openings and events happening in the next few months, what else can we look forward to?

  • Thai Aroy Dee – a massive sigh of relief was had when I read this much loved restaurant was relocating to The Grand Arcade. It would have been an absolute travesty to lose such an amazing restaurant with the Victoria Gate redevelopment! The outpouring of love seen on social media ultimately means that it’s going to great seeing them up and running with not only their regular customers, but hopefully new ones. It’ll also be a fantastic thing for bringing people into The Grand Arcade too! 
  • Bundobust – Soon these guys will be opening on Mill Hill, after being a winner with all and sundry at different establishments and events around Leeds, such as Kirkstall Bridge Inn and at Belgrave. For those of you who haven’t sampled their wares Bundobust is a joint venture between award-winning Prasha(vegetarian restaurant in Drighlington) and Bradford’s The Sparrow. If their food and drinks follows in a similar vein to the efforts at their recent residency at The Belgrave (review here) it’ll be an amazing addition to the Leeds street food scene. One I’m am already relishing the thought of.
  • The Man Behind The Curtain – a new opening by chef Michael O’Hare in Flannels on Vicar lane. I’d been told how good The Blind Swine had been, unfortunately it had shut up shop before I could try it out. This is one I cannot wait to go to, with chef Michael O’Hare already having a reputation in York’s fine dining scene, I won’t be surprised if it’s a sure fire hit.
  • 2 Oxford Place – the first 100% gluten free restaurant certainly around these parts! Are there any elsewhere? With a gluten intolerant husband it will be fantastic if they can pull it off. They are even doing Sunday Roasts – let’s hope for yummy GF Yorkshire Puddings and gravy! Also if they can make decent bread, they could be onto a winner in my eyes.
  • With the prospect of heavyweights Meat Liquor and Byron Hamburgers moving into Leeds, at Trinity and Land’s Lane respectively, they’ll be making their best efforts to fight their way to the hearts of burger lovers. It’s going to be an interesting one, especially with the amount of competition from other establishments already in the city centre. Maybe a Battle of the Burgers is in order, I’ll be happy to adjudicate!! 
  • Bulgogi Grill will be bringing a new and exciting concept to Leeds with Korean BBQ and is part of the redevelopment to the Merrion Centre’s Arena Quarter. I’ve experienced something similar in Japan,  cooking marinated meats and vegetables on mini BBQ’s; an experience which was interactive, fun and memorable. Their opening is expected sometime in August.
  • La Bottega Milanese is in the process of opening another coffee shop in Bond Court, at the back of HSBC where the Pétanque pitch is. I’m eager to see the finished product and I’m sure Alex will be aiming for something that’s aesthetically beautiful, whilst being highly functional, and with the same great coffee and food as La Bottega in The Light. I really hope this will create more of a community environment in this part of town, instead of just being a bit of a walk-through. 
  • Leeds Food and Drink Festival (23rd May – 8th June) is always a major highlight of the food and drink calendar and is a must for any one interested in produce, artisans and food from restaurants and street food vendors in our local area. I was gutted to be away last year, but am definitely looking forward to this years, which promises to be even better than the last. Working in conjunction with Leeds Food & Drink Festival will be The Pink Shed, the pop-up private dining room at Trinity Leeds on 23rd May. With a number of restaurants of Leeds signing up this will be a great experience. Another cracking event as part of the festival will be Le Grand DeParty’ which will celebrate the 2014 Grand Depart with lots of french food and drink.
  • Beacons  festival (7th -10th August) – with a list of food vendors as along as your arm, there’ll be plenty to tackle and get your teeth into over the four day music and arts extravaganza in Skipton. With Ben Davy, the mastermind behind Dough Boys and Patty Smith’s at the helm, festival goers are going to be in for a big belly filling treat! Here’s a taster – the idea of Madeleine Express, Cafe Moor and of course Dough Boys will get your mouth watering. For a more extensive list have a nosey at the website.

There’s certainly a lot to look forward to, I’ll hopefully see you there!

What have I missed out, any other fantastic local food and drinks events coming up I should include in my list?

Post update: oh silly me I forgot to add an event that I’m actually attending, how silly am I?

  • The Noise of Strangers are a Leeds based group hosting their first pop-up in May. I’ve been keeping a close eye on these guys for months, eagerly awaiting news of their first outing. Their philosophy is to use seasonal ingredients and deliver a menu in an unusual setting. It all takes place in asecret location on 21/22 May, where guests, including myself will hopefully be treated to a wonderful five course dinner. I’ve been wracking my brain and looking at their photographic clues to try and work out where it could be, but I’m nowhere near to a solution yet.
  • Cafe Culture – For those of you coffee lovers out there, the Corn Exchange are hosting a Cafe Culture event, I’m gutted I won’t be here for this as this would have been right up my street, unfortunately I’ll be in Edinburgh with the task of running the Edinburgh Half Marathon. On 24th May, the event will try to bring a little taste of Parisienne cafe culture to Leeds, as unbeknownst to me the Corn Exchange has a link to the Halle au Blé (wheat, corn and grain hall) in the French capital. Just one of many fab collaborations of local independent businesses showing all that is good in coffee; such as Laynes Espresso, North Star Micro Roasters, Casa Espresso and Grumpy Mule. There’ll also be lots of family friendly activities and entertainment going on too. 
  • Strano’s, the pop-up brought from Gip and John Dammone and chef Johnny Lyons will be celebrating the anniversary since the the Strano journey started which culminated in their first Strano’s pop-up which I attended last October. They’ll be hosting a celebratory meal with their highlights dishes from the pop-events on 20/21 June at it’s new home of the Enoteca in Salvo’s.
  • The Beasty Boys – a Peruvian inspired Supper Club at the Carnegie Pavilion in Headingley. They are a  Leeds based duo specialising in one of the current food trends of ‘Nose to Tail’ dining. The event is donating 100% profits to raising money for Put Them First, a UK charity which aims to improve the lives of children in Peru. With tickets priced at £25 for 6 courses (16 dishes) per person! It also BYOB so sounds like it could be a bargain!