At last night’s lively menu preview event co-hosted by Kogi Kogi and Bobobobo, I met lots of lovely and food-adoring people. Korean food lovers – take heed! Kogi Kogi, literally meaning “meat meat,” offers a brand new dining concept clear of the conventional mammoth exhaust pipes! Yes, BBQ is still the star of the show, but even better–it’s all you can eat! So go ahead, enjoy all the Bulgogis and Galbis to your heart’s content! And as for you vegetarians, there is, too, plenty of greens to go around, along with a selection of dressings to pair with.
According to its proud owners, the distinguishing factor behind Kogi Kogi’s concept in comparison with other Korean restaurants in town is their high quality food and affordable price. As we all have experienced, Korean food in Jakarta tends to fall into two extremes: premium quality at premium price, and low quality at low price. Now, that’s the gap Kogi Kogi is trying to bridge. As for the ingredients and cooking methods, Kogi Kogi owners tell us all vegetables are organic and sourced directly from farmers, and assure us no MSG is involved.
The modus operandi at Kogi Kogi is health food. And I must say Kogi Kogi does not taste like the typical Korean joint you’ll find in town. The food is mildly seasoned in salt (potentially bland-tasting for some). When I think of Korean BBQ, I think of meat, fat, salt, and usually food coma somewhere in between. But Kogi Kogi’s dishes feel “clean” in comparison.
After loading up on your meat, veggies, sauces, and side dishes of choice, you have the option of grilling the meat on your own at your table or a staff would be happy to do it for you. Grilling the meat is my second favorite thing next to eating it, so I’d always do it myself. Just make sure to watch out for the heat of the grill under the table and be careful not to touch the metal part (like I accidentally did). Hopefully they’ll get the covers for the grill installed soon.
In addition to what you see above, the buffet also includes Japchae, soup, and white rice. Japchae may be one of the most loved Korean dishes. This one wasn’t the best I’ve had, although it tasted like they really went lightly on the oil. Besides the buffet, we also got to sample some à la carte items including the Sundubu Jjigae, Haemul Topokki, and Steamed Egg. The Sundubu Jjigae was tolerable but also not the best I’ve had, while the Haemul Topokki was way sweet for my taste (and those of others at our table). I usually love these two classics but this time they didn’t do it for me.
Among the meats (pork, chicken, beef), I preferred the Beef Bulgogi–very tender and required no pulling or wrestling. While health food fanatics may relish a mellow and moderate taste, I’m not sure about the rest of the population (although it may prove beneficial for them). You know I can’t stand excessively seasoned food, and if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times (probably not, but you know what I mean). So I suppose the balance of the marinated meat with the barely seasoned everything else may be a perfect balance for some. Here’s a peek at all we had:
Veggie Sushi Rolls
Pickles and Radish
Galbi / Bulgogi / Dakgalbi / Gungjung Dakgalbi / Galbijjim / Dwaeji Bulgogi
Beef short ribs, marinated beef, spicy chicken, sweet marinated chicken, braised pork short ribs, spicy pork.
Veggie Rice Rolls, Tofu Canapé, Japchae
Rice cake, fish cake, eggs, and vegetables in a sweet red chili soup.
Kogi Kogi officially opens tomorrow, 12 June 2014. If you’re up for something different, give Kogi Kogi a try, and let us know what you think! And don’t be afraid to give them your feedback too, which I’m sure they’d appreciate.
Thank you Bobobobo and Kogi Kogi for what was an filling, merry, and eventful eat-and-greet!