CHARM KOREAN STEAK HOUSE
By : MELISSA RICHTER
22 November 2018
Charm Korean Steakhouse is in a class all by themselves as they are one of the few Korean restaurants in Bangkok where you will find high quality imported ingredients and authentic dishes that no one else has. Located in the Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20, it is a contemporary and casual space that is a relaxing and laid back. Perfect for both small and large groups, couples and singles they have both private and semi parities dining areas. The brainchild of Korean native Lauren Kim who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, it is built around the concept of offering “food that makes you feel good” and showcasing the type of cuisine that everyday Koreans eat at home on special occasions. “Delivering an authentic Korean experience in a barbecue dinner has been my aspiration from day one”, shared Lauren.
You will find only the finest imported meats and seafood, and many organic proteins on the menu which reflect their commitment to healthy eating. Keep in mind that eating Korean BBQ is not a passive dining experience, so be prepared to roll up your sleeves, grab your chopsticks and really get involved. Eating with your hands is encouraged, and it all culminates in a pro-active and dynamic experience of grilling, creating and eating a perfect “bite” that is traditionally consumed one delectable mouthful at a time. Everyone is treated to an array of side dishes called “Ban Chan” which includes perfectly seasoned veggies and pickled favorites such as several types of kimchi, mini omelets, potatoes and a plethora of dipping sauces along with fresh vegetables and plenty of garlic that you can choose to consume raw, or roast on the grill. They also have a nice selection of Soju, sake, whisky and beer, along with their house special Hite beer from South Korea.
We started off with the Premium Cut Japanese Wagyu Striploin with a marble of 8+ and the 100% pure Black Angus Ribeye from Australia. Grass-fed and aged for 240 days, this beef is about as good as it gets. Organic locally sourced Tiger Prawns where also thrown in to give the ultimate “surf and turf” experience. These were all expertly grilled at the table by the competent and friendly staff, and the delectable beef was melt in your mouth tender. While the wagyu highlighted the texture of the meat, the ribeye had a seductive beefy flavor while still being magically tender and juicy. We also enjoyed the Japchae, which is a sweet and savory glass noodle dish of stir-fry with vegetables, and their famous crispy fried Seafood Pancake with oysters, squid, mussels and spring onions. The next best thing besides the grilled beef is the Borigulbi which is a salted and dried Corvina fish imported from Korea which is similar to mackerel. The fish is then salted and left to ferment in a clay pot for three months with dry rice, then it is steamed, grilled and served with a bowl of white rice, cold green tea, and a spicy, garlic chili paste. I have never tasted anything like this dish and was told it is a very traditional dish that Korean people love to eat. It is truly sensational, with deep umami profiles and harmonious elements. We also loved the Soondobu Jjigue which is a soft tofu soup in a spicy seafood broth with healthy portions of prawn, crab, and Japanese oyster. It’s the kind of soup that the more you eat the more you want, and it evokes a warm sense of comfort that never goes out of style.
Although you may be tempted to skip it, we do suggest that you order dessert. Try the Korean Waffle w/ Whipped Cream, Fresh Berries, Maple Syrup & Vanilla Ice cream. It’s big enough to share and quite satisfying although I thought it did not need the maple syrup. We washed this down with a traditional fermented alcoholic beverage called Makgeolli. This is a milky, off-white sparkling rice wine that has a slight viscosity that reminded me a bit of eggnog. The taste is much lighter with a slightly sweet, tangy, bitter, and astringent flavor. Served in a large clay pot, they have both bottle and homemade versions, and I strongly recommend the homemade version which is fermented for an entire month. It is easy to drink, and again the serving is large enough to share with a group of friends. There are many reasons to dine at Charm but the quality ingredients, along with the unique authentic options and fabulous service make it well worth your while. The beef is by far the show stopper, but everything else is quite tasty. They offer a healthy alternative that is fresh, fun, interactive and delightful on every level.