We were supposed to write a year-ender post for 2011 featuring our top favorite restaurants, food products and/or recipes/dishes we prepared, but since we still had a ton more reviews we haven’t posted yet, we decided to skip it this year and will do one next year instead. One of these uber delayed reviews is of Seoul Garden in SM North Edsa Annex.
When Ken and I have time to spare or we need to relax after hours of shopping, we usually end up at buffet style or eat-all-you-can restaurants. Though we spend a lot of time together at home, sometimes, talking about tasks seem to be more effective when we do it somewhere else. That afternoon in July 2011, we had hours to spare because we were scheduled for a Harry Potter movie screening late in the evening. Ken insisted he wanted to watch on the first day so we ended up with the last screening time. 😐
We decided to check out the restaurants at the newly-renovated SM Annex building. First restaurant we considered was Seoul Garden because, at that time, it was the least busy of all the places there.
The grill wasn’t on yet so that plastic thingy hanging from my old phone was safe.:D
If you haven’t heard of them yet, Seoul Garden is a Korean-styled BBQ buffet restaurant. They’ve had success in other Asian countries like Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia before they opened here in the Philippines. What’s unique about them is they offer two options to their diners – a do-it-yourself BBQ buffet and a hotpot.
We were warmly welcomed by their wait staff (sorry, I lost my notes so I forgot her name) and given freedom to choose where we want to sit. We chose the table near the meat station and buffet area.
Each table has their own stove-top grill with the center for cooking your hotpot. As soon as we settled in, we were asked what soup base we wanted. Being a fan of anything spicy, Ken immediately picked Kimchi Jjigae (aromatic soup base of fine, pickled Chinese cabbage). I had no problems with it since I do love some spiciness in my food. 🙂
Ken then went to the buffet area and started grabbing squid, shrimps and fish balls we could cook in the hotpot. I focused my energy on getting me some meat. 😀
Seoul Garden has a variety of raw meat available to you. They have fish, innards (chicken liver, gizzard), vegetables, beef, pork (garlic, black pepper, curry, spicy bulgogi, etc) and chicken (curry, Tom Yam, Char Siew, Szechuan, etc). All of the ones displayed are already flavored and marinated for you. I enjoyed all of them, especially all the grilled beef I grabbed from the meat station.
By the way, pardon the photos. We were only using our digital cameras. The lighting also kinda sucked when we were there. 😀 And it was only now that I realized we didn’t take much photos of the food. I guess we were already busy with discussing some important things (read: chismis / gossip).
Seoul Garden also offers Bulgogi bowls, but they’re not readily available. Make sure you ask the wait staff to find out what other dishes are included in the buffet price.
On the other end of the buffet area is a wide selection of sauces for you.
They also have rice rolls, noodles, and, of course, the dessert area. You can make your own halo-halo and scoop your own ice cream. I think we had two servings of ice cream. I forgot what brand they had available at the restaurant. But, definitely, not Selecta or even Fruits in Ice Cream, as far as I can remember.
Though we did enjoy the food at Seoul Garden, what I didn’t like though is the grill. It’s not smokeless. I had to move around our table just so the smoke coming out won’t hit me. I didn’t want to smell like ulam at the screening. We know how bad that smell could get. Plus, it made our area too warm.
Also, they only have a common restroom, which is nearby the kitchen area that probably has stainless steel undermount sinks. No, you don’t have to worry about food contamination, but you have to be careful not to bump into any of their staff.
The prices are affordable. It was lunch time on a weekday so we only paid Php 529 each. The prices are already inclusive of refillable non-alcoholic beverages. Here’s the complete list of prices and the schedule of their lunch and dinner buffets.
Overall, I’m giving Seoul Garden a 3-star and a Recommended rating. We weren’t really amazed by any of their food, but I say it’s still worth a visit. Let us know what you think and if you agree with us. 🙂
The rest of our desserts from Seoul Garden in SM North.
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