We found your new favorite Korean restaurant
This modest joint quietly offers outstanding Korean specialties.
Yoree Korean Barbecue
Forum South Global, 7th Avenue corner Federacion Drive, Bonifacio Global City
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Molito Commercial Complex
Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) Three years after they opened, Yoree Korean Barbecue Dining has become the favorite of those who want their grilled meats and kimchi in a relaxed yet slightly upscale setting (perfect for those important birthdays but not majorly important birthdays). The dining room, when dimly lit, can pass as a lounge. Don't be mistaken, however: Yoree is serious about their food.
Goodies cross over from Boulangerie 22
With two branches—the original one in Forum South Global, Bonifacio Global City, and another in Molito, Alabang—Yoree did not expand as quickly as others brands amid this restaurant boom. The owners were busy developing their company's French-themed bakery line Boulangerie 22. However, Chef Leo Barcenas, who trained under Korean restauranteur Oh-Jin Kwong, the man who developed Yoree with the owners, feels that it's finally time to add more dishes to their classic Korean lineup.
That kimchi is insane.
Chef Leo gets playful with the starter Kimchi Ssambap (P198), a maki-esque creation of kimchi-wrapped rice, ground beef, sliced carrots, and shiitake mushrooms. The invigorating spice and tang of the fermented cabbage is the perfect prelude to a hearty Korean meal, or even a light dinner for smaller appetites.
A great option for sharing is the Dak Gangjeong (P498), which will surely be known as fried chicken popcorn. A chicken thigh fillet is cut up into cubes, battered, and fried until crisp, but still hardy enough to withstand that sticky, sweet, and spicy sauce. If you're looking for something to munch on with beer and soju, this dish is it.
Something for the morning after? Koreans swear by a bowl of Haejangguk (P348) or "hangover soup." Think Seoul bulalo soup conjured from boiling ox bone and fat, then thickened with ox blood cubes and raw egg. Chili flakes and the usual accoutrements join in on this Korean noodle soup. "It must contain the bean sprouts, which is believed to be the component that cures hangovers," Chef Leo says. We say have it even without a hangover and in the middle of a hot day. It's that good.
Tongdak Gui Tteokgalbi
What really got us all hot and bothered, though, is the Tongdak Gui Tteokgalbi (P1,298) an original creation from Yoree's kitchen. The 30-day-old spring chicken is marinated in bulgogi sauce, stuffed with ground beef and feta cheese, then roasted until the skin turns into an even golden brown. Standing guard around this monument of juicy, flavorful goodness are balls of ground beef wrapped in bacon. If this doesn't make you happy, we don't know what will.
Modeum Gui Set
For the purists, the Modeum Gui Set (P1,898) will surely satisfy. It's a platter of their prime USDA meats grilled until juicy, then wrapped with crispy lettuce. All it needs is a dab of soybean paste and a sliver or garlic, and maybe a bowl of rice.
In the middle of this searing-hot summer, you might want to try the Korean solution—a cold bowl of noodles called Kongguksu (P348). It's a light, bland soy milk broth and noodles with sliced raw carrots, cucumbers, and a hard boiled egg. Season it with some salt, if you prefer.
Finish off the meal with another combination of Asian ingredients and western techniques: Sukseon Wine Bae (P398), Korean pears poached in red wine and topped simply with a cool whipped cream.
Sukseon Wine Bae
Chef Leo proudly shares that they will be launching more new dishes in a couple of months; a third branch in Circuit Makati is also underway. With their weekends always packed with regulars—from both local residents from nearby villages and condos, as well as a steady stream of Korean patrons—Yoree is proof that slow and steady wins every time.
Photos by Majoy Siason