tong 86 – northbridge
Tong 86 is a different eating experience and with the number of Koreans flooding into the restaurant night after night, it’s probably because the barbecue is the genuine real deal.
We managed to get the very last table at 6.30pm on a Friday night. The warehouse sized space was packed, with only four waiters serving all the tables. From the outset it was obvious service would be sparse. Hailing a waiter became difficult – I think there might be a button for service on some tables, but we couldn’t find one on ours… We just flailed our arms around and hoped for the best. Some tables even resorted to self service.
But between the Korean pop videos and the graffiti wall, Tong 86 has an unpretentious, laidback atmosphere. It’s a place where you can barbecue away in peace, drink shoju, stare off into the distance or peer at your neighbour’s weird haircut and no one would raise an eyebrow.
The menu is split between barbecue plates (which includes intestines and if that’s not interesting enough – the strangely named intercostals – brisket I think) and other side dishes.
We ordered a portion of pork belly and scotch fillet. The meat, as per usual for Korean barbecue, arrives frozen and this makes for easier handling on the barbecue. Three side dishes are included – kimchi (hot and delicious), spicy shredded spring onion and seasoned fish cake, which was chewy and flavoursome.
The barbecue is a gas heated ceramic dish shaped like a cone, so the fats run off into a catchment tray, like a Korean George Foreman grill. The cone shaped griddle gets hot really quick, so despite the cuts being icey, the meat cooks fast.
Scissors are provided along with a pair of tongs so you can snip the cuts into bite sized pieces. We slather the meats in condiments and wrap them up in cold lettuce leaves to be eaten straight away, piping hot. Despite not being marinated, the meats are favoursome and quite tender.
Liking the combination of barbeque and K-pop, we ordered another round of pork belly and a serve of pork ‘cheek’. The pork cheek had more fat than flesh, but I’m not complaining – it was delicious. All I can say is, fat is flavour!
We also ordered a seafood pancake but it’s not really worth mentioning. It was gluey and as it cooled, reminded me of a rubber eraser.
I’m not sure if we’d come back, perhaps on a weekday when it’s not so busy. The dishes are cheap enough to go round after round through the night and it’s good, authentic Korean food.
Tong 86, attracting what would be the majority of the Korean population in Perth, has a very lost in translation feel and if you want a different dining experience (who in Perth doesn’t), then you’d be right at home.
Up’s: Alcohol, barbecue meats and music videos make a good combination! Cheap and cheerful. Good atmosphere.
Down’s: Very popular, so if you like some semblance of service, go on a weeknight. Smelling like a barbeque post dinner (still not sure if that’s really a downer).
86 Beaufort Street, Perth WA 6000
T: (08) 9227 9923
7 days, dinner
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