"Chocolate Whaaat?" my sister asks when I tell her the name of the restaurant we are going to. This will be a familiar phrase repeated also when I tell M, her boys and my husband the restaurant name. This is our second attempt at dining at Chocolate Kkomz. Last week a staff member had taken our reservation and we had shown up at 1pm only to find the restaurant closed and the staff member waiting outside for us apologising profusely for taking our booking when the restaurant wasn't open. So when we are running 5 minutes late, M texts us that she is sitting down at our booth and let us know that "Yes, it's open!".
The booths are unusual, ours is like a train dining carriage and the decor is full of dark woods. Other booths bear a more home spun look with embroidered patterned cream fabric and ties. There's an assortment of Christmas tunes playing in the background to get us in the Christmas mood. Prices change after 5.30pm by roughly 20% .
The menu is full of reasonably priced options along with some more expensive items like the $80 Pumpkin Fondue special which is poured into a whole steamed pumpkin and needs to be ordered in advance as it takes 2 hours. It's said to be Korean fusion and indeed some of the dishes are. The waitress is lovely and patient with our umming and ahhing but we don't see the bell on the table which we are supposed to use to get service throughout the evening.
One thing we do notice is the list of rules (we get a hint of these when we walk into the restaurant and see a sign that says "No Prams, No Skateboards"). They emphasise that they are not a library, school or private office. There's a minimum of 1 dish per person rule and kids that climb under and over the tables are not permitted. The boys are a bit scared of being ejected from the premises which serves to quieten them when their volume levels reach too high. Useful! ;)
There's a selection of 4 sides that are constantly replenished for us consisting of Konnyaku, the mysterious jelly that Japanese and Korean women eat to help lose weight as it's calorie free and high in fibre. It's like a flavourless thick jelly with the flavour coming from the chili sauce it's topped with-and despite that rather unappealing description, it's quite good. There is also lovely crispy sweet sesame potatoes, kim chee and thin fried fish strips.
In's excited about the dumplings, one of his favourite foods. The pork and vegetable dumplings are a rectangular shape and fried. The taste is quite nice but it's not particularly out of this world, but they are still grabbed up quickly.
The waitress pushes a two tiered trolley carrying our food which adds to the train feel. The Chilli Bolognese sauce with a cascade of cheese showered on the peak is a delicious version of spaghetti bolognese with a spicy kick to it and surprisingly it goes well with rice.
Our rice gratin is served in a hot bowl, much like Bibimbap and is filled with small ham pieces, diced capcisum and topped with cream cheese, cheese and dried nori strips. The capsicum gives it a bit of a frozen pizza taste which Blythe and I don't really like although the rest of the table likes this dish.
The King grill is an enormous, impressive looking platter of meat, with Kkomz butterflied drumsticks, Bulgogi skewers, Kalbi patties, spicy pork ribs, sausage and a mayonnaise dressed salad and comes with two bowls of rice. All of the meat is juicy, flavoursome and delicious. The serve is plentiful and just this would be a more than complete meal for 2 people, especially with the salad and rice.
The tofu steak with the thick caramel soy glaze is irresistable, the tofu pan-fried crisp on the outside, yet soft and yielding inside. The fried whole shiitake mushrooms are a lovely accompaniment and it is probably my favourite dish of the night.
After a bit of a break, we order the dish that had us intrigued, the Fruit Patbingsoo (apparently there is also a King Patbingsoo for 4 people for $40!). It's similar to Singapore's Ice Kacang although the flavours are a little different. Certainly impressive looking it's a large glass packed with shaved ice and surrounded with lots of fruit (banana, strawberry, kiwifruit and rockmelon) , a scoop of red beans, a scoop of ice cream sprinkled with hundreds and thousands and underneath the mountain of red streaked and sesame powder coated ice, there's a melange of all sorts of little beans and other morsels. If you like your flavours mixed you'll like this although this was a bit too mixed for me.
And M asks the question that everyone else has asked, what is the story behind name Chocolate Kkomz? Apparently Chocolate is because everyone loves chocolate and Kkomz is the name of the owner's daughter!
_Interesting warning sign outside!
Shop 2/4A Hillview Road Eastwood Sydney
Open 7 days
Monday to Thursday 12pm-10:30pm
Friday and Saturday 12pm-11pm