If my previous post was about cuisine I wish I had more of, this one is going to be about one I’ve been enjoying most the past few months: Korean cuisine. I suppose it’s my love for spicy things and stews that draws me towards Korean food. Most people are addicted to unlimited K-BBQ, but that’s just one part of Korean cuisine. Funnily enough, it was the part we decided to skip when we ate at Bornga.
I’m going to keep this post short because I don’t have that many photos of the meal we had at Bornga. I was initially thinking about not posting about it because I wasn’t too happy about the pictures, but talking about it feels like the right thing to do. These days, most Korean restos that put a focus on they K-BBQ are rather haphazard about the rest of their Korean offerings. Not Bornga though.
I feel that the Bornga here is located in such a strange place. In Tokyo, the Bornga branch is HUGE and is prominently located in Koreatown (Okubo). Here though, Bornga is located inside a condo building in Makati, on the second floor of the Alphaland Makati Place. Alighting the escalator, it’s not easy to spot the restaurant even as you look around. You have to walk all the way to one end of the second floor, where Bornga is literally hidden in one corner.
The restaurant itself is no-frills– like a classic looking Korean BBQ place straight out of Seoul. Despite the simplistic interior, do not expect to find cheap meats on the menu. This restaurant is what I’d call a mid-level BBQ place, although obviously if you order the more choice cuts of beef, it will still set you back around Php 1000 for two slices. Looking back, I kind of regret not trying at least one kind of meat to barbecue. Had we been a little hungrier, we would’ve ordered at least one kind. Next time.
Bornga doesn’t have the best banchan selection I’ve ever eaten, but as per usual, these side dishes are refillable any number of times you wish. I am a bit of a sucker for banchan so even when our main dishes began to arrive, I was still asking for refills lol.
I did forget about that for a moment when the Haemul Pajeon (Php 550) arrived. I have to admit, it’s one of the more impressive-looking pajeon I’ve eaten locally. The pancake is so thick and so substantial it can really fill you up. I loved the onion flavor in the pancake that lingers at the back of your tongue. This wasn’t as greasy as other pajeon, plus the seafood inside was generous. The shrimp were popping! It was really heavy, as it should be at that price.
We ordered some fairly typical dishes up next, getting the spicy and smoky Chicken Gochujang Barbecue (Php 600) to go with some white rice. The chicken is packed with flavor although perhaps just a tad dry. And because my family never gets enough of Dolsot Bibimbap (Php 380), we had to try Bornga’s version. It tastes like any other correctly made bibimbap. I always prefer bibimbap in stone pots because it continues to cook the rice and create these crunchy bits at the bottom.
Two of my favorite dishes of the night were the Suntofu Jjigae (Php 350) and the Bibim-naengmyeon (Php 350). The tofu stew was just delightful! It was packed full of warmth and tofu and shellfish. There’s something so comforting about Korean stews, especially ones that are this good! Eating with rice is the way to go. I must say though, the spicy kick really wakes the tastebuds! As for the noodles, I can’t tell you when my favoritism began, but Bibim-naengmyeon has been in my top 3 favorite Korean dishes since the start of my love affair with K-cuisine. I am pretty picky about it, and I thought Bornga made a DELICIOUS Bibim-naengmyeon.
I admit this review would have been complete had we fired up the grill for some K-BBQ, but I can’t say I’m dissatisfied with all the other great dishes we got to try. Despite being an international chain owned by a celebrity chef, it stays true to its ‘original korean taste‘ mantra. Bornga simply focuses on as close an authentic Korean experience as possible without banking on anything gimmicky. It manages to take me back to Seoul with its food actually. The only thing lacking is background noise exclusively in hangeul. The prices are a bit on the more expensive spectrum for some of the dishes though, so prepare your budget accordingly!
2nd Flr. Alphaland Makati Place ,
Ayala Aveue Ext., Cor. Malugay St,
Makati City, Metro Manila
Hours: 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Contact No.: (02) 519 6980
Full disclosure: This post is NOT sponsored in any way. I received no compensation for writing this review. All opinions stated above are my own.