Giwa Korean Restaurant - 113-115 King William Road, Hyde ParkGiwa Korean Restaurant invited all members of the Chopping Board to review their menu. All meals were provided free of charge by Giwa.
Korean Restaurants are a rare thing in Adelaide. A handful of them exist and many of those are the traditional Korean BBQ style setting. Giwa sets itself from the rest by creating Korean food with fusion influences from Japan, Italian and French style cuisines.
|Front door signage|
Lleyton suggested that we try as many of the dishes on the menu as possible so that we could provide a more thorough review and to fully appreciate all the different flavours his restaurant can offer.
|Korean Hite Beer to start the night|
|Korean Fried Chicken - KFC $16.90|
|Glass Noodle $15.90|
The first dish, Korean Fried Chicken (KFC) tasted a lot like Chinese Sweet and Sour dishes or Peking style Shredded beef. Definitely a dish that has been transformed to suit the Western palate and sure to please the locals.
The glass noodles or Chap Chae was a very nicely presented dish topped with shredded egg. This dish was full of flavour and very easy to eat. Many Chap Chae dishes elsewhere have an overly strong sesame oil taste or are too oily but Giwa has done this dish very well, albeit the serving size is a little small for $15.90.
|Korean Pancake with Salmon $14.90|
|Korean Pancake - vegetarian $14.90|
The first two "vegan" dishes were the glass noodles (topped with shredded egg) and the Korean pancake (with cheese). Tom's not a super strict vegan and we were happy to help him pick egg and cheese off these plates knowing that the full flavours of the dish may be compromised without them.
|Dulsot Bibimbap - Vegetarian $24.90|
We questioned Lleyton why this was the case and he responded that many of his customers prefer it this way. If this was the case, we'd probably suggest that Giwa provide an option to either have soggy rice, or crisp and crackling rice. We know which one we'd pick. As for the pricing of this dish, a $24.90 Bibimbap seems a little steep, knowing that many other restaurants (including food courts) sell similar dishes for under $15.00.
Three different sauces were provided with the Bibimbap which made it difficult to mix sauce into the bibimbap. We would have preferred the standard gochujang (Korean hot sauce) that is expected with this dish.
|Side dish - Bean Sprouts $5.00|
|Side Dish - Kim Chi $5.00|
|Ssam - wraps with seaweed salad, soup and a main $27.80|
|Seafood Stir fry|
|Pan Fried Tofu|
|Galbi Jjim - Braised beef cheeks with potato $28.90|
|Dinner is served!|
|Honey Nut Pancake|
We all agreed that Giwa's dishes seemed confused or lost by the fact that they tried to sway away from traditional Korean flavours and cooking methods. Some dishes felt half complete resulting in the end product being bland and frankly, substandard.
Price wise, Giwa's entrees and mains are pretty much on par with mid-to-high end Adelaide dining venues. When the majority of the dishes we tried can be had from elsewhere at a fraction of the price and in some cases better quality, one must ask why they would visit Giwa?
Despite putting on a valiant effort and providing pleasing service, Giwa just falls short of presenting themselves as a restaurant that has a strong vision or identity for it's cuisine.
NB: Giwa does not promote itself as a vegan restaurant, nor does the menu have vegan options, some of the dishes are accidentally vegan.