The colorful exterior of KPub BBQ at the Bonifacio Global City. Photo from KPub's Facebook page
MANILA -- KPub BBQ, a K-Pop themed restaurant owned by Limits Foods Inc., promises to be the “hippest, coolest, and biggest Korean barbecue buffet restaurant” in the Philippines.
At 800 square meters, the 420-seater KPub is definitely big and more like a luxurious version of the typical Korean BBQ buffet restaurant that has been sprouting all over Metro Manila. The food and overall service are quite good, and the combination with K-pop is exciting.
Passers-by will definitely be intrigued by KPub, located at The Fort Strip of the Bonifacio Global City, with its colorful LED façade.
In fact, I was initially hesitant to go in because the building looks more like a nightclub than a restaurant.
Inside was a little bit noisy, as I expected, but it’s also casual and lively. The walls are covered with huge portraits of popular K-Pop stars such as Big Bang, 2NE1 and CN Blue, which was even autographed. It also shows K-Pop videos on a huge screen in the center of the restaurant. There’s even a souvenir store for K-pop fans.
Thanks to these music videos, there is young and lively spirit in the two-level Kpub. The first floor looks more like a restaurant, while the second floor functions more like a bar.
I visited the place with my parents, both middle-aged, who are huge fans of Korean food but are not into K-Pop and they found the ambience fun nonetheless.
KPub, as the name suggests, specializes in Korean barbecue. Since Koreans love to eat non-marinated meats, the restaurant offers various barbecue meats with sauce on the side, including Ssam gyup sal (pork belly), Dae pae ssam gyup sal (thinly sliced pork belly) and Chadolbaki (beef sukiyaki).
Some of these items may be bland for the Filipinos since the meats are not marinated. That's why KPub also provides dishes like Yangnyum samkyupsal (sweet and spicy pork belly) and Dak kalbi (sweet and spicy chicken fillets), which the Filipino customers seem to enjoy.
Take note, however, that most of the dishes are on the oily side, and I found the beef a lot better than pork.
Like other Korean restaurants, KPub also serves a lot of banchan (assorted side dishes), such as cabbage kimchi, mashed potato with egg, onions with chili, cucumber kimchi, tofu kimchi and anchovies. it also has unlimited servings of kimchi and vegetables.
As for the appetizers, KPub serves Ke ran ggim (steamed eggs) and Kimchi pajeon (kimchi pancakes), both of which are not really good but still worth a try.
The restaurant has comfortable seats and large tables with built-in gas stoves to cook the various meats.
If you want to have some alcoholic drinks with your meal, I would recommend soju, a Korean distilled spirit. It’s more expensive than beer but it gives you the authentic Korean experience.
If you want to enjoy Korean mixed liquor, you can mix soju and beer with a three to seven ratio. Koreans enjoy mixed liquor when eating high-fat dishes like pork belly as this helps in getting rid of the greasy aftertaste.
The bar also provides many soju-based cocktails and other Korean drinks. After dinner, the servers also provide shike, a sweet healthy rice drink
The servers of KPub, some of whom are dressed up like K-Pop stars, are pleasant and efficient, always willing to help cook the meat and ready to refill the vegetables. It also helps that the manager is a young Korean woman.
Generally, I would recommend the restaurant to people who want to try Korean-style BBQ with K-pop videos. Although it has to be pointed out that the food here is not the traditional food of Korea.
However, prices here are bit more expensive compared with other Korean restaurants, although it runs several promos like the "Eat and Run for 1 hour Korean BBQ Challenge,:
If you want to try the Korean food for the very first time, KPub would be a fun choice.