I actually can’t believe that this place has been around for well over a year and last week was the first time I’d even heard about it… I have to assume it’s because it is just so great that people don’t want to tell too many others about it for fear of it becoming too commercialised or so popular, you’ll never ever get a table ever again. But you guys know me, I can’t keep something this awesome to myself. I have an undying need to share!
So Galbi is the only Korean BBQ in town. “Galbi” is a Korean word meaning “rib” and it generally refers to a variety of grilled dishes in Korean cuisine that is made with soy sauce marinated beef or pork short ribs. Galbi houses are very very popular over in Korea, something which co-owner, Coenraad Groenewald, picked up when he spent some time over there teaching English. Upon return to SA he decided to introduce Capetonians to the Galbi concept, but with adding a bit of a South African twist to it (I mean we already love to braai – add some “speaking foreign” to it and we are totally sold!).
Galbi’s official address is 210 Long St, but the entrance is actually around the corner in Bloem St. You’ll enter a very cute, fairy light lit passage way, then turn left to get to the front door. At that point you might think to yourself “Hmmm, not so sure about this place”, cause it doesn’t look like too much from the outside. But you know that old “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” story? Yeah, this very much applies here.
Once inside you’re welcomed by beautiful Asian paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling, with an incredible brass “chimney system” peeking out in between:
To drink, we kicked off with our complimentary glasses of wine. Hot tip: If you go on a Wed eve and you order something for over R50 pp, you get a free glass of house white or red. We went for the red and not sure what is was (should’ve asked), but it was actually quite nice. After that we got a bit more adventurous and figured when in a Galbi house, one surely goes for a Korean wine taster (R40):
The Makgeoli was my favourite, but it seemed more like a dessert wine. Makes sense then that they have an ice cream on their dessert menu which is infused with it. I didn’t like the Soju – it had a strong tequila vibe to it and I’m not a fan of tequila. The Baeck Se Ju & Korean Sake were both really tasty, I could easily do a big glass of either. Good to know for next time.
Now get this. If you need a waiter, you just press the little bell on your table:
The bell gives off a soft ding-dong, nothing too hectic, so don’t worry. It’s not going to be totally embarrassing like those 80s doorbells which played songs like Old MacDonald and such. But it will leave that “You can ring my be-e-e-ll, ring my bell” song stuck in your head. Shit sorry, I probably just planted it, didn’t I? Hehe.
Right with decor, wine & service out of the way (If you’re keeping track, and you should be: I think they’re all awesome), let’s talk food.
The menu has a solid list of appetisers to kick off with. We opted for the following two just to ease ourselves into the grilling vibe:
- Mushroom Shots: R21
White button mushrooms stuffed with lemon pepper and freshly grated Parmesan. Place it face up on the fire until a juicy center emerges. Shoot away!
- Pro Pear: R45
A ready-to-eat array of crisp pear wedges wrapped in prosciutto ham and finished with finely chopped mint. No grilling required!
Both = awesome. I also spotted jalapeno poppers (R34) which I want to try next time.
Then for mains you have two options:
- Either just select a whole bunch of things to braai along with some side dishes of your choice.
- Or if it’s all a bit overwhelming, they have what they call “Galbi Sets” where they’ve kinda done the thinking for you.
If you go for option 1 – you can select pretty much any type of meat or even chicken or fish to braai. Prices range from R24 – R69 per portion and you’ve got beef, lamb, Korean sausage, pork belly, chicken satay, ostrich, springbok, kudu, zebra, trout and even some veggie things for those who don’t do meat. Me being an Afrikaanse meisie – I only do meat. Actually someone told me a joke the other day which pretty much sums up Afrikaans folk and their obsession with meat & braaing, here goes:
Son goes to his dad and says: “Dad, I have to tell you something… I’m gay”
Dad goes: “Flippen hell, ek’t amper gedog jy gaan se jy’s damn Vegetarian”
Right, then for sides they’ve got wedges, sweet potatoe fries, mash potatoes (garlic or wasabi infured… mmmmm), tempura veggies, grilled zucchini, baked butternut, corn on the cob, spinach and a few salad options. Prices range from R18 to R36 for a side.
We opted for one of the Galbi sets – and with our SA roots speaking to us, we opted for two Safari Sets (each cost R250 & serves 2 ppl). This is what you get in a set:
- Mouthwatering ostrich fan fillet, 100g kudu, 100g warthog and 100g zebra sirloin (in a variety of our house marinades). Served with our famous rustic garlic mash, baked butternut (drizzled with maple syrup and cinnamon), fresh corn on the cob and our crisp house mixed salad (baie lekker!).
We just added some extra sweet potatoe fries… Check out our spread:
They also have a signature Korean Galbi set (R230 for 2 ppl) with stuff like beef, pork, marinated tofu & Korean sides. Or a fusion set (R250 for 2ppl) with some fillet, Xinjiang Lamb, rump & a springbok sosatie. And last, but not least, a totally vegetarian friendly set (R230 for 2 ppl). Nervous about your braai skills? No stress. There are also some soup, noodle & rice meal options (R42 – R49) to try.
Another desset which looked soooo good was their Chocolate Fondue for R55 (enough for 2 ppl) – seasonal fruit with three chocolate sauces: mint, chilli & espresso.
For an all round excellent experience, I’m going to give Galbi a top Miss K Kiss-o-Meter rating of: Yes, I realise that is pretty high for a spot that’s not exactly fine dining and doesn’t have some fancy pants, award winning chef. But this was the most fun I’ve had at a restaurant in a very long time. And for that I have to give them lots and lots of cred. Plus if you stuff up your meat, it’s kinda your own fault. I was clever enough to ensure I went with people who damn sure know their way around a braai.
As the Galbi guys say: “Braai with caution… Eat with abandon!” (sooo love that)
Galbi is open for dinner: 6:00pm – 10:30pm, Tuesday – Sunday
And you can contact them on: 021 424 3030