Tuesday, November 10, 2009

O Bal Tan Korean BBQ Restaurant, Haymarket

How was it?
Food: 7/10
Service: 6.5/10
Ambience: 6.5/10
Value: $$

El was keen to try Korean BBQ, so I took her down the little alleyway off Pitt St, into Koreantown aka Korean BBQ Heaven! We decided to skip the 20+ minute queue waiting for Madang, and walked into O Bal Tan. It looked a little bit deserted, but not to worry as we were ushered to a more lively and happening upstairs.


Korean BBQ allows you to cook your own food and it's a fun way to be a part of your own dining experience. And here's a quick tip: when going to any sort of BBQ restaurant there's no need to shower beforehand, as you'll come out smelling like smoke and meat and other BBQ goodness. So you will definitely need to shower afterwards.. unless you like sleeping with that smell, then go ahead!

Table exhaust! (Fancy, no?)

Unsure of what to order, we perused the menu for quite a while. We ordered three items and were unsure of whether that would be enough, and let me tell you - it was way more than enough! Because of all the complimentary side dishes.....!



Vegetable Soup

The vegetable soup was a lovely surprise. It was served cold, which was a little bit strange at first, but then the tangy, sour and sweet flavours worked really well to awaken the tastebuds for what was to come.


We both got a plate of cabbage, which I thought was really nice of them! The cabbage was light and tangy, and I polished this all off pretty quickly!


I wasn't sure what this was, but it tasted like some sort of rice cake with shallots inside. It was a tad too oily as the oil seemed to overpower the little pancakes.

Pasta with Pumpkin Puree

Another side dish was the pasta with pumpkin puree. I quite enjoyed the pumpkin puree as it tasted like real pumpkin!


Gotta have kimchi at a Korean restaurant! It was quite good, just a little bit of the hot and spicy goodness goes a long way!

Pickled Onions

The final side dish was the pickled onions. They were nice and quite sweet, but didn't really compare to some of the other side dishes.

Lettuce/Cucumber/Garlic/Onion basket
for BBQ

Ggom Jang Eo $18.00
In Chore Hagfish Grilled with Chilli Sauce

Ggom Jang Eo $18.00
In Chore Hagfish Grilled with Chilli Sauce

The first BBQ dish that we ordered was the Ggom Jang Eo (In Chore Hagfish grilled with chilli sauce). Having no idea what this particular kind of fish was like, we took a chance. And it paid off! In Chore Hagfish which are the little spots of red at the bottom of the tray, are similar to eel. Quite slimy and chewy, but delicious when grilled with chilli sauce!

U-Seul $17.00
Ox Tongue

U-Seul $17.00
Ox Tongue

I remembered really enjoying Ox Tongue at Suminoya, so I convinced El that she too had to try it! If the thought of eating Ox Tongue freaks you out (it freaked me out at first too!), then try to forget the name and pretend it's just another piece of meat. A lovely, tender, slighty firm piece of meat! So good when it's all sizzling! Definitely our favourite of the evening.

Pa Jeon $12.00
Vegetables with Seafood Pancake

The seafood pancake was huge and quite different to what I was expecting! I was expecting little pieces, like at Se Jong, but this was the size of a regular pizza! And it came in a basket, making it look so nice and rustic! It was delicious with the crispy outer and soft and generously filled inner. I love Korean seafood pancake, especially from Se Jong, and I always try to convince my dining partners to try it, sometimes I'm lucky :)

O Bal Tan definitely exceeded my initial first impressions. The food was good and the prices were fairly reasonable. It's best to share, so that you get the whole experience. The service is quick and friendly, they have buzzers on each table, so they won't come to you unless you buzz - keep that in mind! Don't forget to try the Ox Tongue!

O Bal Tan Korean BBQ Restaurant
363A Pitt St,
Haymarket NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9269 0299
Open 7 Days
O Bal Tan on Urbanspoon


  1. Hmm O Bal Tan meatness! This is one of my favourite Korean BBQ places! Try the intestine next time, totally addictive :)

  2. Heehee the exhausts look like little teleporting machines or something :D Yum I love seafood pancake, that one is huuuuuugeee!!

  3. oh I so want to try korean bbq, it looks like so much fun and you get to cook your own food, dont know if thats a good thing or a bad thing, but I want to give it a go!

  4. Great find Betty! Good to know I don't have to travel very far for some delicious Korean and I'm with you on the beef tongue. It's so good isn't it! :)

  5. I'll leave the ox tongue to you, and I'll have extra seafood pancake :D

  6. It's always fun to have Korean BBQ. I love the seafood pancake too.

  7. I'm so weird but I love Korean restaurants for their free dishes! But the pasta with pumpkin sounds good but a bit out of place in a Korean restaurant?! hehe... anyway, great post - I love how you summarize what you thought of the restaurant overall at the end!

  8. Love Korean BBQ and my favourite to order is the tongue.
    They offered heaps of side dishes, well worth it with all that variety I think.

  9. I love the exhaust fans here! They look so alien don't they? And yes ox tongue us always a favourite! Best thing is it cooks so fast you don't have to wait long to eat it. lol

  10. Love Korean BBQ - meat can never be bad can it? But I hate the way the smell permeates every pore and every strand of hair. Can't go anywhere nice after dinner there. So good and so bad at the same time.

  11. woah lots of photos!..... feeling rather hungry now!

  12. I go crazy for Kim Chi these days. It's not Korean BBQ without it- a 3rd round is always requested!

  13. Looks pretty good! I'm not crazy about K cuisine but that may have to change! ;-)

  14. Sheesh woman this is a lot of food and it all looks so good.

    Ox tongueee ahhhhh im not sure if im game enough to eat that but im sure if it was in front of me id try it.

  15. Hi Yas: Cool! Ok, I don't mind a bit of intestine, will try it next time :)

    Hi Steph: Haha they so do! I know, it came out in that basket and I was like 'woah... awesome..'!

    Hi Lorraine: Thanks! Yay, it is so so good!

    Hi Maria: Yeah, it's so fun. The only thing is that you come out smelling like smoke and meat.. but it's totally worth it! You should definitely give it a go!

    Hi conor: Nooo you must give it a try! It really is delicious :)

    Hi Ellie: It is fun! Cool!

    Hi Trissa: Haha. Me too!! And they're always so generous as well (hehe). It was a little bit strange, but tasty nonetheless! Aww thank you :)

    Hi Brenda: Cool! Yeah, they were so generous with the side dishes, it was great!

    Hi Helen: Hehe... they do! Yeah, ox tongue is the way to go!

    Hi Forager: I hate that too! I know what you mean, that's why it's always a good idea to shower after you've had Korean BBQ!

    Hi Iron Chef Shellie: Hehe, I hope that's a good thing!

    Hi Adrian: Definitely not. Korean BBQ wouldn't be the same without it, although I'm not a massive fan, but I still like for it to be there :)

    Hi Joey: It was! My brother is the same, but I think that can be changed!

    Hi Leona: You must try ox tongue next time, it's so good. I was a bit weirded out at the prospect of eating it at first, but then after the first bite, you will never look back. Trust me!


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