I'm not usually the kind who actively seeks out Korean food, so on the day that my friend Sophie suggested Oiso for lunch, I decided it was time to try something different. The cafe is tucked away in a corner in the lower ground floor of Ikano Power Centre (IPC Shopping Centre) just opposite Uncle Lim's and the post office - it recently opened earlier this year in April. I really liked how it looked from the outside; bright and bustling with activity, the restaurant glows with a cheerful warmth.
They were quite busy when we arrived, which was not surprising considering it was a weekday afternoon. The lunch crowd had taken over all the seats, and my friend and I were lucky that a couple got up just as we got there so we could sit down to dine. The staff cheerfully greeted us in Korean and handed us the menu. The pricing here is reasonable, with dishes going from around RM8 to RM25. There were a variety of Korean meals, ranging from potato noodles to stir-fried octopus and bi bim bap (mixed rice).
This wasn't Sophie's first time here, and she recommended a few things to me before choosing the chicken barbecue dish for herself. The meal arrived not soon after, accompanied with a few side dishes including a bowl of rice, kimchi, anchovies, spinach and seaweed soup. The side dishes are all refillable for free, except for the rice.
All the mains are served over a fire, to keep the food hot. The sight of the chicken sizzling away in front of us was enough to get our appetites going, and I eagerly awaited my own dish. I tasted a bit of the chicken barbecue, and it was sharp and spicy, leaving a warm heat in my mouth.
For myself I ordered the bulgogi set, which is grilled beef marinated in a variety of seasonings, such as pepper and soy sauce. It's one of the higher priced items on the menu, and I couldn't resist myself from trying it out. The strips of beef were delicious, the flavours spreading over my tongue with each bite. Sweet and tender, it went well with all the side dishes, the savoury gravy especially tasty with the rice. I refilled my serving of spinach and kimchi twice during lunch, and I really enjoyed the seaweed soup which is something I've never had before.
I really liked this place. The staff were very friendly and attentive, the food was good and the atmosphere was lovely too. The Korean-style decorations were warm and welcoming, and though the cafe is quite small, it had a very cosy feel to it. There are also other Oiso outlets at Bangsar South City and Cheras Leisure Mall, which are bigger than the one here at IPC. According to their Facebook page, the restaurant uses all halal meat and is pork and alcohol free though they do not have a halal certificate.