Arirang (Korean) Restaurant Review
I’ve read that ‘Arirang’ is arguably the most famous Korean folk song. Despite the ambiguity surrounding its origins, the song is so popular that it is often considered to be Korea’s unofficial national anthem. Surprisingly there seems to be no clarity on what the title means… Regardless, this venture is part of the Inn & Go restaurant group who also hosts a restaurant that serves continental cuisine. For those who are not so loyal to the Korean cuisine, the restaurant menu also features an array of Japanese dishes.
The restaurant is located at the first floor, inside the once buzzing Muthana complex, but through the years this mall has drastically lost customers and it was sad to see many shops closed. Though the restaurant is decored with an odd mix of Arabic and Asian elements, it is pretty spacious and neatly done. Interestingly it also offers a few choices of seating options. You could go with the traditional low level shared communal (oriental) seating or grab a chair at the ‘floating table’. The restaurant layout seems to be adjustable to accommodate private parties.
Korean food is unique in its own way. From grilled meat to boiling hot stews to chillies and pickles. The fact that there are more than 100 different types of Kimchi should be evidence of the pride Koreans take in their food. The food is spicy and the dishes are usually flavored with soy sauce, red pepper, green onion, bean paste, garlic, ginger, sesame, mustard and vinegar.
Most of the order was based on the popular Korean dishes and waiters suggestions. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable on the menu. We were quickly seated and our table was filled with a choice of their pickles. We started off with Chicken and Beef Dumplings (steamed and seared) Kd 2.500 each, the Crab Salad Kd 2.750, Paa Moochin Kd 1.750 – which is the spicy Korean Salad. The Kimchi Mandoo Kd 3 is a fried dish made with kimchi, beef, tofu and vegetables. The Haemultang Kd 7 is a spicy seafood soup with radish, cabage and korean tofu. Don’t be alarmed by the price of this hodgepodge stew of sausages, noodles and assorted veges, it was more than enough to serve 6 adults. The Budae Chigae Kd 6 is a spicy ramen soup with Korean tofu, carrots and onion balls. We had also ordered the Californian Maki Kd 3.250 with crabmeat (imitation crab), avocado and cucumber roll and Kimbap Kd 2.250 which has beef with rice seaweed and spinach filling.
Our main course included the popular Bulgogi Kd 7 is sliced beef cooked in say sauce and white sugar, carrots, onions and mushrooms. Chicken Gui Kd 5 which consisted of tender pieces of boneless chicken marinated in a special paste. This dish was slightly spicy and we loved the flavor. The Chulpan Sewu Kd 5.500 is Shrimp sauted in garlic and oyster sauce. Each of these dishes are served with rice. We had also got Japchae Kd 5.500 and a chef’s favorite Kimchi Bokkum Bap Kd 2.250 which is a kimchi fried rice with chicken and topped with nori seaweeds. For dessert we ordered the Patbingsu Kd 2, which is ice cream on crushed ice, beans, fruits and condensed milk. The Total Bill came to Kd 32.
OVERALL – Arirang rings with bold flavors and sizable portions. The care the kitchen pays to technique is reflective in the dishes. The chef leans on clear and crisp presentations that echo the cuisine, skilfully modulating the flavors rather than just tossing umami grenades. Though not considered mainstream as Japanese, Chinese and Thai, the popularity of Korean food is on the rise and in Kuwait there is considerable scope for this.
Ambiance – 6/10, Service – 6.5/10, Menu – 7/10, Food – 7/10, Consistency – 7/10, Value for Money – 7/10
Location – Muthana Complex, Fahad Al Salem Street. Ph 2243 6686 ext. 958