Bulgogi Grill has been on my list of places to visit in Leeds for aggggges (literally a year) and one of the reasons I’ve never been is I’m not quite sure why I had such a longing to visit because a) it’s grill your own and I’m kinda (read very) lazy and b) it’s quite bits of meat centric which isn’t usually my style. As a compromise to myself I went for lunch instead (around half the price of the dinner) so if I was disappointed it wasn’t as expensive.
If you’ve not heard of Bulgogi Grill it’s a Korean BBQ that opened a few years ago at the side of the Merrion Centre. It’s pretty small inside (I counted around 9 booths), each could probably hold 6 people but for the most part when we visited yesterday it was just couples. Right in the center of the booth table is your grill, which apparently can get up to 300c! Have no fear though, it’s sunken into the table so there’s minimal chance you’ll catch yourself on it. Though I did wonder whether I’d get a bit curious after a few drinks and give it a prod… (probably best not to).
At lunchtime Bulgogi Grill do a pared back version of their evening menu for £9.95 with a variety of different meat & fish options; we went for the marinated Beef and the Duck to share whereas the dinner menu is loads of different meats and fish (beef, pork, duck, prawn and squid) for £22.95 each.
To start off with we were given a couple of little nibbles; a piece of Kimbap (Korean sushi) and a Mandu (Korean vegetable dumpling). Both were tasty enough however P was starting to panic about quantity, would it be filling enough if this was the portion size to come?
Don’t worry though, the starters are VERY much nibbles. Out came the platter of meat, big bowl of rice, lettuce leaves and sides (Banchan).
The idea behind Bulgogi Grill is you grill the meat, then use the lettuce leaves to wrap that, some rice and banchan up. The banchan includes a whole mix of things to sex up your wraps; kimchi, pickled cucumber, spring onions and sauces – all of which the staff kept topping up throughout our meal.
The grilling is really quick as the meat is cut so thinly which is good as you end up going through quite a lot of wraps due to the the lettuce leaves being fairly small. There’s a bit of skill involved though making them just the right size (too filled and they’re difficult to eat and too empty and you’ve wasted a wrap). I found that after the first few wraps I binned off the rice and concentrated on the meat and pickled veg.
The meat was really delicious; I was a bit worried that it would be difficult to bite through when eating the wraps but it was so tender and cut very thinly. Having lots of different banchan was ideal too as it meant you can try different combos of flavour. My highlights were the kimchi and the chili sauce with the duck – I would say though things can get pretty messy and I had sauce all over my face. We also found it was the perfect meal for P and I; he could fill up on the rice whereas I wanted something a bit lighter so generally didn’t really include it.
It took us about 40 mins from sitting down to getting out the door so a great lunch option if you fancy a pit stop whilst in town. Service was solid through the meal, the only niggle was P asked for some water a few times which never arrived (don’t worry, he had a beer to console him).
Bulgogi Grill is definitely one of my new favourites in Leeds; quality, interesting, healthy food and at a good price. I’ll be back to try the evening menu for sure!