599 Church Street
+61 3 9427 1307
Cookie Monster keeps up with food trends and suggested lunch at Kong. I was more than happy to go along with her suggestion.
I zoomed across the south-east suburbs to get to Richmond after work on a Saturday afternoon, rocking up just shy of 2pm. The restaurant was pumping but we managed to get a table rather quickly.
A stiff drink was in order albeit a feminine one and I loved every drop of my raspberry wine. A starter of zucchini and daikon kimchi with pickled pumpkin was the appropriate way to awaken the palate. Cookie Monster was really impressed with the pumpkin and I ate it despite not being a fan of the vegetable.
(Top) Soft shell crab with salted duck egg relish and coriander bun $6
(Middle) Peanut butter salt and pepper tofu with burnt chilli mayo bun $6
(Bottom) Spicy pork belly with pickled cucumber and kong crazy horse chilli bun $6
Cookie Monster and The Angmoh knew what they wanted very quickly. It was the soft shell crab and pork belly buns they were seeking. The Angmoh’s good intentions of letting me sample his pork belly bun disappeared as soon as he bit into it; it was packed with flavour and studded with a perfect crackle. I forgave him as I can only imagine how incredible it was. Cookie Monster and Hughey B had the soft shell crab buns and from the rate of how quickly these were devoured, I concluded they had no complaints. I had a peanut butter tofu bun. I do prefer the softer silken tofu from Wonderbao, but the combination of the nut butter, salty pickled vegetable and kimchi was excellent.
We couldn’t go past a roti dish after the waiter explained that a heap of time and experimentation were invested into perfecting the recipe for the wrap. It came neatly sliced into 4 portions, blanketing pulled pork, slaw and kimchi. It was pretty good indeed.
For the first time in my life, I wasn’t bothered by ordering from the mains section in a Korean BBQ restaurant. The food came cooked to order, there was no fussing about with the flame and I wouldn’t leave smelling like charred meat. We shared 3 mains amongst us, a roast salmon, a pork belly soba salad and slow-cooked brisket. The fish and beef were well-executed and cooked to perfection. However the seasonings in both dishes were overwhelming and leant towards salty. I enjoyed the pork belly noodles purely because it did not have an overpowering dressing. Oh wait, the crackling atop the noodles was the most awesome keropok too!
To offset all that protein we thought something green might work well. We ordered the dashi-cooked spinach because of its tongue-twisting name but were let down by the size and lacklustre simplicity of it. The dashi stock was faint and the overall taste of the dish came from the sesame-dressing. None of us thought it was worth its price tag.
Having enjoyed Chin Chin, I wanted to be wowed by Kong. The Angmoh gave it his thumbs up but the rest of us thought that the marinades and seasonings suffocated the main ingredients in most dishes. The use of miso, spicy bean paste (dou ban jiang) and ssam jang is inevitable in any Korean/Japanese joint but should be used sparingly or thoughtfully balanced out. Don’t get me wrong, that walnut ssam jang was indeed delicious and I am keen to return to Kong to try other dishes but will be choosing wisely from the menu.