Oh Melbourne, it’s becoming too hard to keep up with the awesome amount of Asian fusion restaurants popping up. Ever since our visits to Chin Chin, I have been drooling over whatever the Lucas Group does. Kong BBQ is the newest addition to the Lucas Group family. Arriving just before 12pm on a Tuesday and gloriously managing to secure seats, the small 60-seat restaurant quickly filled around us.
First to arrive were the Wagyu and Kimchi filled dumplings. While anything with both the words wagyu and dumplings in the one sentence felt like a no-brainer, these slippery suckers actually lacked complexity and perhaps went a bit soft on the kimchi.
In the background, the oriental bbq pit can be seen spluttering tall flames, filling the room with the scent of hot-coaled meaty goodness. Good things are to come.
The Soft Shell Crab with Salted Duck Egg Relish and Coriander bun. A pillowed bun wrapped enticingly around the crispy soft shell crab (but couldn’t contain those spindly, crunchy legs). Not to mention the oozing salted duck relish which covered my digits as I attempted to engulf this. Hold on, I can’t concentrate on blogging this over the sound of thousands of hipsters reaching simultaneous orgasm over the soft shell crab oozey goodness. Soft shell crab has reached foodie-hipster stardom of late and it seems that every other restaurant is nonchalantly deep frying crab, popping it inside some form of carby goodness. Kong, however, would be worth returning to for this dish alone.
The lamb ribs with Kong curry spice were barely clutching to the bone by the time they had reached our table. Tender, rich and fall-off-the-bone delicious, the half portion did not last long (but that’s not to say that the serving was not generous). Unfortunately they didn’t last long enough for me to nab a photo.
A complementary Korean Fried Wings with Honey, Garlic and Sesame unexpectedly arrived. Delicious little pockets of chicken and sticky charred skin with hints of garlic. Small but indulgently potent. Kong BBQ – stop making me melt with glee (or don’t …)
Next up ; a half serve of BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs with Kong ‘Crazy Horse Chilli’ . Mounds of sliced chilli, spring onion and corriander partly concealed the glistening sticky ribs. The ribs were succulent, slightly charred around the edges and absolutely more-ishly good. The crazy horse sauce that accompanied the ribs is apparently Chef Benjamin Cooper’s take on Sriracha. Those who know me probably are well acquainted with my obsession with Sriracha. I put it on absolutely everything – pasta, stir-fries, curries, cereal. Perhaps due to my overexposure to chilli condiments, I felt that the Crazy Horse Chilli could have done with more chilli – and crazy. Or perhaps the kitchen likes to play it safe regarding the heat of the dishes, which felt more like the case during my dining experience.
The Roasted Pumpkin with a ramen egg . The ramen egg was what made me gravitate towards this dish. The eggs crispy skin exterior and soft centre paired really well with the charred roasted pumpkin which had a penetrating smokey taste.
Wood Roasted Salmon with crispy skin seaweed salad and kimchi. Kimchi, kimchi everywhere! Kong makes sure that diners know that Kimchi is not just fermented cabbage – it’s much, much more than that. I only managed to sample a small intersection of the salmon but it still made made me exert an audible “Wow”. The crispy skinned salmon was perfectly offset by the medium rare center.
The Bossam- pork belly with soba, nashi and apple soy. The soft soba noodles were lovingly interspersed around the succulent pieces of pork belly. The nashi and apple soy complimented the pork, embellishing the pork with a delectable hint of sweetness.
We opted for something relatively healthy –A coleslaw. This was probably the least exciting dish , but no one makes friends with salad.
Kong BBQ – I will be returning to devour the rest of your well-crafted menu.