I love the simplicity of authentic Korean food – but how it still manages to be so yummy and wholesome at the same time, though, is really beyond me!
There is something for just about any mood, or anyone: a simple jogaetang (clam soup) for cleansing the palate and the soul; to tickle your tastebuds, a spicy toppoki (traditional rice cakes) or kimchi jjigae (preserved cabbage stew); and for the meat-lovers, hotplate bulgogi (marinated beef) served with a side of lettuce greens is the perfect solution.
Damotory Korean Wine House, located right in the heart of Robertson Walk, offers all of the above and much more, as its menu boasts a large array of traditional Korean dishes with a couple of modern twists. I especially liked its cozy and elegant wooden interior, which offers both bench and tatami seats. You may also opt for alfresco dining if you prefer to enjoy the night breeze instead of Kpop MTVs indoors. 🙂
My cousin, Eunice, purchased a voucher online to dine at Damotory, and so we were there to redeem our 5 pax buffet. For its name it would come across as more of a drinking place, but don’t be fooled! Out of most places I’ve been, this one takes the cake for ambiance as it was very spacious and homely.
To kickstart our meal, we ordered a clear honghaptang (mussel soup, S$20). All the soups are served in a hot bowl, and this came jam-packed with loads of fresh, plump mussels and a healthy dose of greens. A great starter.
After trying this Spicy Cold Noodle (S$10), I was in love. SO IN LOVE. The noodles had the perfect consistency that was somewhere between soba and ramen – springy and bouncy without an overly resistant bite. The red sauce that came with it was sweet and actually pretty spicy. But I wanted more and more and more. I don’t understand how something this simple could taste so good! To me, everything else that night paled in comparison.
We then had the ojingeo bokkeum (stir-fried spicy squid, S$20) which was served in a generous portion perfect for sharing. Every bite-sized piece of squid was coated in a slightly sweet, fermented red pepper paste with the hot plate lending it a charry taste. Pretty dang spicy IMO, but also one of my favorites of the night.
While it looked promising, we weren’t quite as impressed with the samgyeopsal (garlic pork belly, S$20). The meat was disappointingly rubbery and nearly impossible to chew through. Stay away at all costs.
I was super happy with how the Toppoki w/ Seafood (S$20) was loaded with lots of mushrooms, vegetables and squid. The one here is a wetter version compared to others I’ve tried so far. My only gripe is that it’s such a large portion that you can only order it when sharing with more people.
The buldak toppoki (spicy chicken with rice cakes, $20) topped with melted cheese can only be described in one word – SHIOK. Really really really spicy, though.
Obviously we couldn’t go without ordering bulgogi (S$20)! Part of the experience of eating this comes from all the different sensory stimulations: you hear the beef sizzling in the hot pan, see and smell the meat smoking away; use your hands to carefully wrap it in fresh greens and finally – it hits your tastebuds. All at once, it is sweet, savory, hot and cold. Omg. Omg. AWESOME.
The pajeon (Korean pancake, S$20) is passable. While the pancake was half scallion and half kimchi flavored, it was more doughy and greasy than anything. For its price I wouldn’t give this a second shot.
I’m guessing that this gogalbi (spicy grilled mackerel, S$20) might have been fried before it was grilled. I wouldn’t go so far to say this was super fresh, but to me the hot sauce with which the fish was doused, along with the smokiness, did a pretty good job of ridding it of any fishiness. The verdict for this was split across the table. I belonged to the half that couldn’t get enough, while the others were a couple of fish haters. Teehee. I say go for it. 😉
I would definitely recommend their japchae (fried glass noodles w/ beef, S$20), which albeit simple, was really flavorful and had plenty of sesame and soy flavor locked within the noodles. So good.
Bibimbap (S$18). The quintessence of traditional Korean cuisine known throughout the world. As much as I would like to speak well of this, I’m sorry to say that I’ve had much better. Your Woul serves up an incredibly mean version of this dish and I swear by it.
I do find that many of the dishes here are over-priced, but if you (like us) manage to snag a voucher from sites like deals.com or Groupon, I would say it’s pretty worth it. For the amount that we ordered, our total bill for 5 persons was about $100 excluding drinks. Service, as with many Asian joints, was more on the choppy side. Would I come back? Yes, but only for a select few dishes. Or if I’m armed with a buffet voucher. 😛
DAMOTORY KOREAN WINE HOUSE
Tel: +65 6235 6787
Monday to Saturday: 6pm – 1am (last order at 12mn)
Sunday and Public Holiday: 3pm – 1am (last order at 12mn)
Average price per pax: Buffet price: S$20~, Ala Carte: >S$35~
Recommendations: Spicy Cold Noodle, Spicy Squid, Bulgogi, Japchae, Chicken and Cheese Toppoki,