Happy foodie

Korean Fine Dining at Kiwa Korean Grill

Korean cuisine is close to my heart. A late good friend introduced me to the taste of Korean barbecue and cuisine two years ago. I admit I was skeptical at first thinking everything will be just spicy. Let me tell you, when I tasted my first spoonful of Korean food, it was love at first bite. Since then, I have been a fan.

If you are like me, who is a big fan of Korean cuisine, then I have good news for you. A new Korean restaurant has opened and it’s not just any other Korean restaurant. It is the first fine dining Korean barbecue restaurant in South East Asia.

Kiwa Korean Grill and Dining is now in one of Manila’s prestigious hotels and casinos, Solaire. Since December 24, 2015, it has been serving its guests a taste of authentic Korean dishes in a beautifully restaurant that makes you feel like you’ve been transported to Korea. Kiwa, according their executives, means a traditional roof tile, the ones used for Korean homes. As a restaurant, they want a shelter, a place that provides a comfortable environment for relaxation and leisure.

Interior2

The Restaurant

I have fallen in love with Kiwa’s interiors the moment I stepped in the main restaurant. I love how natural and traditional it feels inside but modern and chic.

Interior17
The interiors were designed by a Korean firm. Most of the materials and furniture in the restaurant were from Korea even the chairs, tables and stones.
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You can have a intimate party with family or friends in one of Kiwa’s private rooms. The rooms are spacious yet cozy.

Kiwa uses the freshest ingredients and you can really taste it in the food. Everything tasted fresh, clean and refreshing. Each dish is artfully plated. For those who like to take photos of their food before eating it, everything that was served in Kiwa was Instagramable.  It was a feast for the eyes and the mouth. Planning for the menu was headed by Chef Gi Won Park.

Head Chef Gi Won Park
Chef Gi Won Park of Kiwa

The Appetizers

I was overwhelmed with the spread of appetizers served but what surprised me is how everything seem to compliment each other. There was balance among the dishes that made me realize how well-thought of the menu was.

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Tomato-Yangsangchu Salad
Tomato-Yangsangchu Salad. This is seasoned seafood in a whole tomato salad. It’s a fast-growing favorite in the menu.
Gobachi
One of my personal favorites: Gobachi –Platter of scallop sashimi, steamed shrimp, salmon sashimi, steamed octopus and marinated tomato. The seafood tasted so fresh and tender. The octopus, in particular was so tender. The marinated tomato was a pleasant surprise. It was a burst of juicy, sweet and savory savory flavors. It was such a joy eating this platter.
Japchae
Japchae — Seasoned soy sauce based pan fried noodles with beef and assorted vegetables. The noodles were not oily unlike the ones I have tried in other restaurants. There was a good  balance of sweet, salty, savory taste that is quite unique. CEO Ed Reyes explained that this is how authentic Japchae should taste: light and not overpowering with the other dishes.

 

Pumpkin Salad
Pumpkin Salad — Mashed pumpkin with assorted nuts with assorted seasonal vegetable with sesame seed dressing. Some of the appetizers and dipping sauces were a little spicy. The pumpkin salad is a good break from the heat. What I love most about this dish is the texture. You have the sweet and creamy mashed pumpkin but there are still some whole pieces to chew on. The sweet Korean pear was a nice touch to the dish too.
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Pyunchae Mari — Thinly-sliced sweet and sour radish roll with beef or seafood and vegetable. Again, the seafood tasted fresh and I love how it was presented. Too pretty to eat! But I ate it anyways haha!
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Baebaek Kimchi – Rolled white kimchi inside a whole Korean pear. This is another one of my favorites. I never had white kimchi before. This is a milder version and not spicy. I love how it goes well with the sweet, crunchy pear. (At this point I was wondering where can I buy that pear. I was really loving it.)
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Haemul Pajeon — Pancake mixed with seafood, spring onion and assorted vegetable with spicy soy sauce with sesame oil on the side. This is my absolute favorite from the appetizer spread. I love the crunchy vegetables with the sweet seafood and soft pancake. I also like that the sauce was served separately so we can control the spiciness of the dish. My mouth is watering just typing the description. Gah!

The Barbecue

The barbecue is the star of the meal. It is, after all, a Korean barbecue restaurant. Kiwa uses grade A+ beef. Korean beef cannot be exported but they use Wagyu and USDA meats. Still the best that is available.

Premium beef without marination, uncooked
Look at the beautiful marbling on that beef!
Yangnyumgalbi (1)
Yang Nyeom Gal Bi — Grilled marinated beef with Kiwa’s special sauce. The beef was so tender and flavorful!
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Grilled Samgyeopsal or seasoned pork belly
Saenggalbi
Mouth-watering, right?
Saenggalbi+ Sangchu-Ssam + radish sesame leaf
The barbecue courses would include this set. Traditionally, rice is served after the barbecue but Kiwa understands that Filipinos would like to eat meat with rice so they have also included rice in the meal. That was a good idea because the barbecue went perfectly well with steamed white rice. #sopinoy

Dessert

To cap off the wonderful meal were equally delicious Korean desserts.

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A traditional Korean dessert of shaved ice with sweet red beans and milk. It’s similar to our own halo halo and to be eaten the same way: mix everything together and enjoy every spoonful.
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Cold plum tea that cleanses the palate after a savory meal and helps in digestion.

Kiwa also offers other Korean favorites like bulgogi, bibimbap, galbitang bansang (stew) and even lunch sets.

Service was excellent. The staff were courteous, knowledgeable of the dishes, and efficient. They were even the ones who did the grilling of meat for us and we were served with perfectly-cooked barbecue. Service was nothing short of a five-star hotel standard.

You’d think that with the beautiful interiors, superb food and excellent service, there wouldn’t be anything that can surprise me. Well, surprise! Kiwa uses state-of-the-art exhaust system under the restaurant so all the smoke goes under. This means your hair or clothes will not smell like smoke after eating in Kiwa.

If you want to experience Korean barbecue at its finest, I highly recommend Kiwa. It has opened its doors since December 24th but I encourage you to join in the festivities of their Grand Launch on January 28, 2016.

  • Address: Solaire Resort & Casino, 1 Aseana Avenue, Parañaque City
  • Phone number: +632 888 8888
  • Website: http://www.kiwa.com.ph
  • Facebook: Kiwa Korean Grill
  • Twitter: @kiwakoreangrill
  • Instagram: @kiwakoreangrill

 

 

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