Taste of Korea
Spread over a large area Gung The Palace in Gurgaon is taking fine dining to new heights. Raja Sharma Rymbai and Raisa Daimary experience a dash of the Orient in their culinary journey.Updated: Jul 16, 2010 16:52 IST
Walking through the door to Gung The Palace is like being teleported to Korea in the blink of an eye. So when someone says welcome to Korea you might just fall for it. The waitresses greet you in a typical sing song way the moment you walk in setting your mood for the day.
Ms Suk Hee Kim, mother of Mr Baekkyu Kim, President & CEO, Gung informs that she came and settled here when her husband came to India to work at the Korean Axim bank. At that time she didn't see any Korean restaurants while there were numerous Chinese and Thai restaurants. She felt that she had to cook for Koreans settled here and also of course foreigners were always welcome. Though initially overwhelmed with culture shock, they opened up Gung The Palace, which helped create a sort of a mini Korea and sense of family within the three floors of their first restaurant. The food is very authentic and unadulterated by the influences of the Indian taste. To maintain this, the sea food and meat products are especially flown in from Korea.
Spread over a large area, the branch at Gurgaon easily seats a substantial number whereas the one in Hauz Khaz takes up three floors. Both done up in identical fashion. compartments separated by walls of rice paper ensure privacy. In the center of each room sits a low rectangular table with cushions for seats. But before you enter the seating place you must open your shoes. That is the protocol. Of course there are the regular tables for those who prefer dining the regular way.While waiting at the table for the food to arrive, one can't help but soak in the beauty of the décor done in polished wood with antique furniture at places, vases filled with beautiful flowers, little replicas of Korean people in traditional garb and beautiful porcelain. Not to mention the paintings on the walls painted by Ms Suk Hee Kim.
If you like what you saw on the walls, you can look up Gung Gallery in Hauz Khas Village. It is a custom interiors shop that offering design consultation, free of cost run by Mr Baekkyu Kim. The Gung Gallery also displays a wide collection of Korean furniture, both antique and modern.
Waitress dressed in pink hanbok make trips to the table with a number of bowls of side dishes known as kimchi - which are, by the way, unlimited. Each one made of different variety of vegetables that have been fermented.
The eating experience is elevated by the prospect of watching your food being cooked in front of you at the grill set at the table. Paul might not be on the menu but a number of his cousins definitely will, that although entirely depends on you. By the time the food is ready, the aroma that filled the room as the steaks and chops sizzled and spat makes you appreciate the food even more.
Of course it must be mentioned that vegetarian dishes are served as well. The menu is impressively filled with images of plates laden with mouth watering dishes. That is specifically because the names and descriptions of the dishes are all written in Korean.
To go with the food, Sojo which is Korean wine prepared from rice or sweet potato must be tried.
The fun doesn't end there, after 10 pm the Karaoke machine is plugged in and bathroom singers find the chance to live their dream. The machines have Korean, English songs as well as something for Bollywood enthusiasts.
A meal here may be slightly heavy on the wallet but it saves you a whole lot more, considering the flight fare and the time it takes you to get to Korea. From Rahul Gandhi to Lee Myung-bak - the President of South Korea, a Korean to a foreigner (Indians included), Gung The Palace has fans that will swear by its food. The Portions are generous so do remember to walk in hungry.
First Published: Jul 16, 2010 16:44 IST