If you are after a quick and reasonably priced meal without sacrificing taste and quality, you can't go past Red & Grill Korean BBQ Restaurant at Charlotte Street in Brisbane CBD. The bustling restaurant is a great place to catch up with a group of friends, reminiscing about old times and gossiping about the latest happenings.
I went on a Sunday night and the restaurant was filled with boisterous customers, keeping the noise level high so just make sure you turn your voice-box up! The patrons are mostly students and young professionals. I also noticed that there was a large majority of customers of Korean descent which vouches for the restaurant's authenticity.
I've never been to Korea but I sure know their food due to the availability of Korean cuisine in Brisbane, and I enjoy the spicy flavours too! My familiarity and enjoyment of their delicious food will ensure minimal cultural shock if I do end up going to Korea on a holiday. Red & Grill has an extensive menu selection starting from entrees to barbeque platters, to mains and soup dishes.
Charcoal Korean restaurants usually have tables with hot plate in the middle of the tables. Red & Grill was no exception. However, it had funky vents at the top of the tables, which adds to the atmosphere and is aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. Red & Grill is famous for their barbeque meats which we didn't try as you need a minimum of two people wanting to sample two different kinds of meats. They have a huge variety of meat selection for meat lovers, as well as the more adventurous eaters as the menu includes the interesting sounding pork jowl and intestines. Their barbeque meals comes with your own salad and sauce.
Red & Grill has a variety of entrees including dumplings, takoyaki and pancakes (Kimchi, seafood or vegetable). We tried the takoyaki which is usually a Japanese dish ($7 for 6 balls) just to test its authenticity and it did taste quite good.
I ordered the spicy squid with rice and salad ($12), and my dining partners ordered a spicy beef bulgolgi and bibimbap respectively – both at $12 each. Bulgolgi consists of grilled meat marinated with soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, salt and pepper and is literally translated as "fire meat". Bibimbap means "mixed rice" and true to its name, it comes with a bowl of rice topped with seasoned vegetables and chilli powder paste. It comes with sliced beef and egg and all ingredients are usually stirred and mixed together thoroughly before eating.
My spicy squid was delicious and spicy enough that I occasionally reached for my complimentary water. The salad was sweet and tasted a bit like a Japanese miso salad. My main was enough to fill me up, but I couldn't resist trying the complimentary side dishes. They vary depending on what is available but we were served sweet, marinated soy sauce potatoes, a pasta dish and kimchi. Kimchi is spicy, fermented and pickled cabbage with chilli powder and miscellaneous other vegetables and seasoning. It is Korea's national dish so it is a staple in most Korean restaurants.
They have a $9.90 lunch special as well. There have been previous reviews about the lack of service from the waiters/waitresses but I did not encounter any of that. Service was efficient and there was always at least two waitresses standing nearby to attend to our requirements. I found the meal experience value for money, especially when it is getting more difficult these days to get a satisfactory meal below $20 in Brisbane.