Turn my little babies, turn….
The thing about New Year’s resolutions is that they fail. My tendency to procrastinate usually trumps the good intentions of yet another year into the dust. But this year I finally did one. No, I haven’t managed to lose weight, that’s still on the to do list. (If there ever was food blogger’s occupational hazard, it’d be flab.)
I have however, finished level one Spanish language night classes, which means I’m on my way to actually being comprehensible in Spanish. Ola!
For the last eight Mondays, we’d copy each other’s home work at the last minute, attend class and be absolutely starving throughout the entire lesson. I think the only Spanish words that stuck were food related words – I was so hungry. As soon as class was out we’d decide, or bicker, about dinner.
So desperate we were, Hwa Ro easily won due to its sheer proximity. Twice.
On the left are the various dipping sauces for the barbequed meat. On the right are the banchan, side dishes – there’s the usual suspect of kimchi, then sweet potato noodles and soy cabbage. They can be refilled at a press of a button that is on every table!
Spying the barbeque in front of us, we went a bit crazy, ordering enough food that would, looking at other tables, have easily fed six Koreans. The banchan side dishes came out quickly. Small portions of very spicy radish kimchi, soy cabbage pickle and cold, slippery sweet potato noodles were delicious. They were quickly gobbled up to be refilled again. And again.
And maybe, again.
Hwa Ro’s barbeques are beautiful, they are fuelled by briquettes which give food that mouth watering, smokiness where you can almost taste the food before eating it. Usually we walk out of Korean barbeques smelling like an entire hawker market but not here. The ventilation tubes, which resemble periscopes, slide down and suck out most of the smoke.
As if the periscopes weren’t cool enough, the barbeque turns skewers automatically!! Love it!! (No amount of exclamation marks can express my enthusiasm for this contraption.) Just fit the prongs into the turning ends and be mesmerised by dinner rotating all by itself. (I was equally mesmerised by the startlingly effeminate K-pop boy bands showing non stop on the TV.)
Chicken thigh skewers with soy marinade.
The first item to receive the rotisserie treatment are chicken thighs in sweet soy marinade. The marinade doesn’t look like much, but licked by hot flames, the chicken transforms into sticky, caramelised morsels. This dish would be great for Korean barbeque newbies.
Pork belly skewers.
The ends of skewers go into a turning mechanism that turns at a push of a button. The cages on either side hold briquettes.
The pork belly which was splashed with a sweet sauce (miso based I think) became a crispy lace of melting fat and tender meat. These were dipped in a choice of three sauces: sweet miso, red chilli paste, or my favourite, a salty sesame oil. Dripping with sauce, the fresh off the barbeque pork is best eaten with lots of rice.
Hwa Ro curiously serves rice mixed with whole grains. The first visit saw bowls of white rice mixed with black rice which imparted flecks of purple (with no difference in taste). During the second visit, they served white rice mixed with husky seeds which were pleasant and wholesome to eat.
The hotplate of marbled beef, perched above the flames.
K had the marbled beef. Grilled on a hotplate with pumpkin and onions, it was gobbled up quickly (but not before I could sneak a piece for me and vicariously, for you). One tip, if you aren’t a patient eater, the hotplate cooks a lot faster than the rotisserie. (Though that’s not the point of Korean barbeque which should be prolonged and enjoyed with a lot of shoju it seems.)
We also had a seafood pancake which was huge. Good value for money but it didn’t have that crisp texture.
Overall Hwa Ro is easily one of the best Korean barbeques in Perth. It’s packed with Koreans which is always a good sign. The food is authentic. It’s also extra tasty because its cooked on open flame. There’s a decent number of regular a la carte dishes and the barbeque ranges from beef tongue (!) to seafood.
I always find Korean menus a bit mind boggling but the service is literally only a push of a button away. The waiter, noticing we were not Korean, even started the cooking for us. With the bbq-bot turning dinner, we just sat back and watched Korean pop favourites all night long.
Good food, efficient ventilation and gyrating K-pop stars means this place gets a big, big tick of delicious. I’m going to miss those Spanish classes because now we won’t have an excuse to go into Hwa Ro every week.
118 Aberdeen Street, Northbridge WA 6003
T: (08) 9228 8823
Dinner 7 days
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