I cannot STAND being late. Years of having to wait for my family dawdle around getting ready, or having to stay back at school/work, have made me become edgy and anxious when I know I'm going to miss an appointment.
A couple of weeks ago a bunch of us from work got together for Korean BBQ and karaoke in Strathfield, but we had to wait for one person to come back from the city, and for everyone else to finish work for the night; everyone ended up being at least an hour and a half late. I ended up calling the restaurant and the karaoke place twice to postpone our booking and we were STILL late, but the staff at Doo Ri were more than accommodating, and they welcomed us in with smiles on their faces and menus in their hands.
Because there were 9 of us, we went for the suggested $31 set menu that consisted of assorted banchan (sides), bulgogi (marinated beef and chicken) and kimchi (fermented vegetables), as well as a plate of marinated octopus and some other meats to barbecue.
We were quickly seated, the coals were brought out, and then suddenly a flurry of plates were brought out in quick succession. Pretty soon the entire table was completely covered in dishes, and still the staff were trying to squish more plates on. While we were waiting for the BBQs to heat up properly, we got stuck into the side dishes, and examined the meat plates, choosing what we wanted beforehand.
Our meat platters were generous, and consisted of sliced pork neck, marinated beef and chicken, and beef skirt. Because of the ineptitude of who was cooking our meat (Joon!), at first the meat was tough and chewy, and the chicken was dry; once he got the hang of it, the marinated meat was juicy and flavoursome, the beef skirt thin and melt-in-the-mouth, and the pork neck, whilst a little fatty for my taste, was tender.
The octopus came marinated in a slightly sweet sauce that was redolent with chilli. After a couple of minutes on the hot plate, the octopus was perfectly tender, mildly spicy and had been imparted with some of the smokiness from the coal.
The seafood pancake was surprisingly light and fluffy, freshened up by the addition of spring onion and fortified by the kimchi, tender prawn and squid. The outside was fried to a golden-brown crisp.
The dumpling was also a pleasant surprise - it looked greasy and horrible, but was deceptively delicious; the surface was super-crispy and very thin, the vegetable filling flavoursome and moist.
And the side-dishes just kept coming. My favourites were the Korean potato salad (that included pieces of apple), stir fried vegetarian noodles, and a dish of fried potatoes smothered in a sweet sauce.
Our experience at Doo Ri was very pleasant. The staff were efficient and knowledgeable, the food was plentiful, delicious and well-prepared, and the process of cooking our own food was fun and ideal for a larger group. The restaurant is also directly across the road from Strathfield station and around the corner from our favourite karaoke place, so we'll definitely be coming back.
Doo Ri Korean BBQ Restaurant
Shop 136-137, 20-34 Albert Road
Tel : 9746 7111