“People always ask me, how is Korean barbeque different to any other barbeque? And my answer is that it’s in the sauces,” says Hyunwoo Kang, co-owner of new Korean barbeque restaurant Plus 82 Gogi.
“There are a lot of different sauces, a lot of vegetables, and you should be mixing things together to discover different flavours.”
The restaurant, tucked away in the former Mama Jambo space on Eliza Street, introduces a largely traditional Korean barbeque experience – with a few tweaks – to Adelaide’s west end.
Like most Korean barbeque restaurants, everything at Gogi is intended for sharing. To make things as breezy as possible, head chef Janghoon “Kurtis” Choi has designed a “Choi’s Choice” set menu, where the biggest decision you’ll have to make is which gogi (meat) you would like to cook on your table’s grill (choices include beef ribs, pork belly and ox tongue).
Banchan (small side dishes) include kimchi, pickled radish and mixed vegetables. A spicy noodle salad comes with every Choi’s Choice set, too; it’s a combination of noodles, kimchi, mushroom, apples and assorted vegetables.
Four sauces sit beside the grill: ssam sauce (intended for vegetables); sesame oil with soybean paste; chilli paste with soybean paste; and a Gogi secret sauce (mum’s the word, but pickled onion is one of the ingredients).
Gogi’s signature dish, “shake shake rice”, is a kimchi fried rice topped with a sunny-side-up egg. It comes in a container, designed so customers can literally shake the ingredients together (Choi encourages people to add barbequed meat to the mix, too).
Drinks on offer include Korean beer and soft drinks, soju, sikhye (Korean rice punch), various fruit drinks, and local wines.
The space is relaxed and open, decorated with jiwusan umbrellas and contemporary Korean art from Seoul. When Broadsheet visits, Jay Park can be heard over the speakers (Choi is a big fan of Korean hip-hop).
Co-owner Steven Lee says the former warehouse, with its high ceilings, was ideal for a barbeque restaurant. “We quite liked the location. People always ask us, why do you always choose off the main street? ... If people like us, they will come and find us. And that’s what we like – we don’t even have signage for Pocha or Gogi,” says Lee.
Gogi is the third venture from the Plus 82 group (which is also behind Plus 82 Pocha and modern Thai restaurant, Mimi). Co-owners Lee, Terry Hwang, Hyunwoo Kang and HaeAh Lee worked simultaneously on Mimi and Gogi; Mimi opened late last year, and Gogi opened just last month. The co-owners, along with head chef Choi, all met while studying at Le Cordon Bleu.
“It was our dream when we were in college to open a traditional barbeque one day,” says Hwang. “So as soon as Pocha was settled and successful, we opened Gogi,” adds Lee.
The group hopes the restaurant will spark more thoughtful conversation about Korean culture. “Our culture is not just Gangnam Style,” says Kang with a laugh.
“When we serve people who have never been to a Korean restaurant before, and they leave wanting to learn more about Korea, it’s the best feeling.”
This article was published on February 23. Menu items may have changed since then.
Plus 82 Gogi
12 Eliza Street, Adelaide
Wed to Sun: 5pm–9pm