The proliferation of Korean BBQ restaurants in Singapore can only mean one thing – we really like Korean BBQ! And the more the merrier, we say, especially when it comes to that perfectly grilled piece of pork belly. If you’re a fan, like us, there’s one place you should know about: 8 (or E!ght) Korean BBQ in The Central.
A trendy, modern joint that differentiates with its refreshing new take on traditional marinate recipes, E!ght is a sprawling industrial-chic inspired space with ample seating and – most importantly – sufficient ventilation to combat any smoke and smell. Opt for a table at their outdoor veranda if you want to take in the view of Singapore River and bustling Clarke Quay stretch.
With an eager heart and an empty stomach, we digged into E!ght’s eponymous 8 Colours Set ($98), which is recommended for a party size of 3 to 4 guests. The seemingly hefty price tag comes with a hefty platter of Mangalitza pork belly strips (120g per strip) marinated 8 ways – wine, original, ginseng, garlic, herb, curry, miso, and red pepper paste.
Steeped in the marinades for 48 hours prior to serving, the pork belly strips retained the flavours surprisingly well and we savoured our meat without the need of additional dips or sauces. If you seek an extra oomph in your lettuce wraps, however, E!ght does offer complimentary servings of raw garlic and red pepper sauce.
The set also includes banchan (Korean appetizers), cooked kimchi, and a choice of stew. Take your pick from 6 options such as Beef or Pork Belly Kimchi Stew (both $18 ala-carte), everyone’s favourite Army Stew (top-up of $4 applies, ala-carte $24), and the Seafood Soft Tofu Stew (ala-carte $24). We relished the latter, which came with a generous assortment of squid, mussels, clams, prawns, tofu, and cabbage. The light and mildly spicy soup helped to balance out the grease and bold flavours of the grilled meats.
While we didn’t have the stomach capacity to try E!ght’s selection of USDA Prime and Kagoshima Wagyu beef (from $38) or sides like Korean Grilled Squid ($18), E!ght’s Special Steamed Egg ($12), and E!ght’s version of the cold noodle dish, Naengmyeon ($14), we did chase down all the pork belly with satisfying hites of Hite Beer.
For folks who love their boozy beverages, E!ght does offer a pretty extensive selection including German beers ($11-$16), Chamsiul Soju ($20), and Makgeolli ($20). Time to roll out the Seoul Trains, we say!
Would we go back when the next BBQ craving hits? Absolutely – and definitely with a troop of famished friends so that we can order up a spread to share.
Check out more Korean food at Ho Rang I: A Taste of South Korean Home Cooking