I haven’t had too much time to blog lately but I wanted to quickly talk about this restaurant we ate in a while back. I’m actually not particularly familiar with Soban K-Town Grill but there’s a very simple reason why we ended up here. During our stopover at Alabang Town Center on a trip from the South, we spotted some promotional pictures of Soban’s dishes and realized we were in the mood for Korean food.
Just from the name itself you can immediately tell that Soban K-Town Grill’s main focus is the Korean BBQ. This doesn’t hit home quite as much as when you go inside and see all the apparatus hanging from the ceiling.
As a fan of Korean BBQ, such a sight excited me. We weren’t planning on doing any barbecuing this day however. We really just wanted to eat and go.
Soban is, I believe, the more casual brother of Sariwon (another Korean restaurant I have not tried). It has a really interesting menu, incorporating several food fusions to create dishes like Korean burritos and tacos, as well as kimchi fries.
I was actually about to try one of these fusion dishes when something else caught my attention. Soban K-Town Grill has a bunch of set menus that at a glance seem put together to give you amazing value for money. Most of them are made up of classic Korean dishes, and since that is really what we were after when we came here, we went for the Classic BBQ Combo Set.
As with any proper Korean restaurant, you get complementary banchan before your main meal is brought out. (I am referring to the four in the black bowls below.) The banchan is refillable and pretty good!
The two dishes you see in the white plates actually come with the Classic BBQ Combo Set. So is this set really as great for your wallet as it seems?
Classic BBQ Combo Set (Php 2,000)
This combo set can easily feed 4 people, and as its name suggests, it offers Korean dishes leaning towards typical Korean favorites. It includes 180 grams of fresh beef belly, as well as 180 grams of pork belly with your choice of 2 flavors (original, fruity, chili bean, soy garlic, wine, doenjang).
I suppose you could say this deal was good enough to get us to turn on the grill. The meat was seasoned okay. It’s not the best Korean BBQ I’ve had by any means but honestly, enjoying ssam doesn’t take much. You just need lettuce, meat, sauce, and whatever else you think of adding into the wrap!
The set also comes with 180 grams boneless Korean fried chicken. Quite possibly one of the best versions of fried chicken in the world is Korean fried chicken, and this one did not disappoint. It was juicy and honey-coated, with a crisp skin. YUM!
You then get a generous bowl of classic-tasting japchae. Not much to say except it tastes exactly how japchae should.
Soban’s pajeon is a little different in texture and bite than what I’m used to. This one is more sticky and crunchy, with a chewier texture than most normal pajeon. It’s a bit more oily as well.
The 6-piece gimbap isn’t anything to write home about. It’s not bad, but I’ve had bigger and better.
Finally, the set also includes 4 unlimited kimchi fried rice, salad, soup, and egg rolls. The salad and egg rolls are pictured above with the banchan, and let me just say how much I loved that salad made with shallots and seasoned with gochujang!
I also really enjoyed their kimchi rice and soup. The kimchi rice isn’t too spicy and it doesn’t taste too overwhelming. It’s actually similar to the home-cooked versions in Korea, so I really liked that. The soup meanwhile has an umami-ness to it. I’m guessing it’s also made from beef bone like the Seollongtang below.
The next three items aren’t part of the set we ordered, but since that set serves only 4 and there were 6 of us, we decided to order some extra stuff. I have to say the actual dishes look different from the photos on the menu, but thankfully they weren’t entirely duds.
Deung Galbi Kimchi Chigae (Php 320)
Spicy pork ribs kimchi stew served with rice.
I like my kimchi chigae tangy with a clear tomato aftertaste, and this one didn’t have that. As you can see, they used lots of kimchi here, so that was the predominant taste. There were just a few pieces of pork ribs, but I’m happy to report they weren’t tough.
Seollongtang (Php 320)
Rich beef bone soup with a side of rice.
First off I want to say the soup is really good. I can really only describe it as full of umami with a slightly creamy consistency. Rich indeed. My only complaint is that it had such a small portion of meat and noodles. I’m not sure how much meat to expect for the price really, but it’s a good thing the soup was good.
Coffee Prince (Php 120)
House specialty of homemade coffee ice cream on soft graham with Korean red bean filling.
This dessert was interesting and pretty well-executed. The coffee ice cream was nice, and it cuts off the sweetness from the graham and red bean component of the dessert. It’s like a deconstructed Korean ice cream sandwich.
In the sea of Korean restaurants that have cropped up recently, this is far from being my favorite. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy my meal here. In fact, for a Korean BBQ chain, I think it’s better than others I’ve tried before.
The casual ambiance of the restaurant makes it a nice hangout place (though the lighting makes it hard to photograph things), not to mention their set meal selections are well within budget and chock full of solid dishes.
I was pretty impressed by the quality and quantity of the dishes included in their 2000-peso Combo Set. Add to that the refillables like the kimchi rice and the banchan and I do believe you get your money’s worth. The waiter assigned to us was always asking if we wanted refills, and I appreciate that.
If you’re looking for a homecooked-style Korean meal, Soban K-Town Grill probably isn’t what I’d recommend at the top of my mind. But if you’re up for interesting Korean fusion dishes and group meals that are yummy, filling, and offers some pretty good value for money, then this place is worth a try.
Overall Rating: 3.50 out of 5
Soban K-Town Grill
Full disclosure: This post was not sponsored in any way. All opinions are 100% my own.