B-One Korean Restaurant, Civic

Another Friday and yet again we’re struggling to find a place to eat in Civic. This happens to us way too often, wanting to go out and have dinner and not having really thought about it until 6pm on Friday, so any place that takes bookings is immediately done. After discussing it pretty heavily, we decided to try out B-One in Civic, or as we like to call it ‘Bone’.

I’ve never been to B-One before, I probably walk past it about 5 times a week yet it never really interested me in any way, for probably a couple of reasons. 1. it’s Korean food and I thought I didn’t really like Korean food, 2. the store just doesn’t really look that exciting. I know, it’s terrible of me to buy into that whole, “hang a bike on the wall, put up some flyers for local art shows” but it’s getting increasingly obvious that I tend to eat out more at places with proverbial bikes on their walls. Well, I’m happy to say, B-One was an exceptionally pleasant surprise, and I’ll be interested in going ‘bikeless’ more often!

B-One looks pretty small from the outside but once you walk in there is actually quite a lot of seating inside. The store decor isn’t amazing or anything, with a simple fit out and a couple of staff members. Some words of warning before I start talking about how much I enjoyed the food and what not. This is your typical Asian restaurant, service is basic. You order your dishes, it gets served, don’t expect ‘how’s your food going’ or anything like that. Also, the staff have limited English so that might lead to a bit of pointing and using the menu item numbers instead of the names (which was probably a good thing, since Korean is such an…interesting language). A plus side to this? Very easy to pretend you’re actually in Asia!

The food probably won’t come out at the same time and for us, our dishes took quite awhile as well, but it was all fairly logical. The fried chicken took ages, the noodles were really quick, kind of terrible if you’re out with a group and want everyone to eat at the same time (for some inexplicable reason) not too bad if you’re normal. If you’re happy with those couple of notes, B-One is a fantastic cheap eats place in the centre of Civic.

Anyways, here we go. The awesome goodies at B-One.

First up, Complimentary condiments. The one thing that I always loved about Korean restaurants (even when I thought I didn’t really like them) is the fact that when you sit down and order a meal, you’ll be served with some tasty condiments. Its even better at Korean BBQ, which normally comes with around eight or so different condiments. Here at B-One you get three different goodies, which is pretty on par with non BBQ Korean restaurant.

Here, at B-One we got some kimchi, steamed greens and thinly sliced up fish cakes. The kimchi was great, it had quite a bit of spice to it but I could have a couple so it wasn’t unbearable or anything. It also ended on that sour note, like every good kimchi should. The steamed greens were probably my favourite. Not sure what type of greens they were, could have been spinach but that doesn’t quite feel Asian enough. These were nicely steamed and flavoured in sesame oil. Finally, there was a serving of thinly sliced fish cake. Again another tasty condiment flavoured with soy and sesame oil.

Okay, this is very exciting, Super crazy hot spicy Korean fried chicken ($16, small).  I love Korean fried chicken but like all drinking foods, I find it extremely expensive. Normally, a plate like that would set you back about $30. Plus, you’ll need to get some beers as well. It’s definitely not a cheap dish to love. Here at B-One it’s actually quite affordable. For $16, you get about 10 (or even more) pretty decent pieces. On top of the affordability, it was absolutely delicious! We now have our own Gami right here in the centre of Canberra! The chicken was so crunchy, each piece had a super thick layer of fatty skin and deep fried goodness. As crispy, deep fried and delicious as it was, it was pretty light, there wasn’t oil dripping from it or anything, which was a massive plus.

As for the claim of it being ‘super crazy hot spicy’ it was indeed hot. Our friend, who absolutely loves all things chilli (He makes Pho look like lava by the time he’s done with it) agreed it was hot and we could see him sweating as he ate it. He of course maintained that it was delicious and not painful at all.

In my wonderful life as someone who generally avoids chilli, I had a terrible misstep here and decided to try one of these pieces. That was a horrible mistake. It started out ok, you could taste chicken, bits of spice but nothing too crazy, then as you sat there, it just built and built on your tongue to the point where I couldn’t taste anything for about 15 minutes. It was ridiculously chilli for me and I regretted it immediately, but for any of you spice lovers out there, this is for you.

Of course, we couldn’t just have one serving. Here is the Soy Korean fried chicken ($16, small). Like the hot version, the soy version was also super crispy, crunchy and absolutely delicious! The soy flavouring was also amazing. It was a sticky soy sauce that covered parts of the chickens, giving it flavour here and there whilst keeping other parts really crunchy. I can’t express how crunchy these chickens were, we ended up having a couple of pieces which we took home as takeaway. The next day I decide to have a quick nibble from the fridge, even then as I was biting down on the chicken, you could hear the skin crackling and crunching. So imagine how good it was fresh.

I’m so glad we decided to try out the Korean fried chicken at B-One. We noticed it a while ago but were sceptical because it’s essentially some texter on an A4 page with a (admittedly cute) drawing of a chicken. We didn’t think that anyone in Canberra could make Korean fried chicken as good as restaurants in Sydney or Melbourne. Plus, even if it was decent or on par, we just assumed it would be a tiny serving, or excessive expensive.

I’m so happy to state that B-One has proven us so wrong, I foresee plenty of take away Korean fried chicken from here on in. Maybe next time, if we get a couple of people, we might even go for the large serving which we saw being karted around to other diners and was massive. It was a giant plate with a mountain of chicken on it, for $32, it was a pretty decent bargain. Finally, yes B-One also has beer and chicken combos.

Onwards, to the normal dishes at B-One, first up the Dolsott bibimbap ($15). I guess the only difference between this and a normal bibimbap is how its served. This bibimbap comes in a sizzling hot ceramic bowl which is kind of cool, for a couple of reasons 1. it keeps your rice warm for ages, we were probably at B-One for about an hour and a half and my rice was still warm when I placed my leftovers into a take away box to take home 2. the coolest part, the rice on the edges beings to char and becomes really crispy. I guess you kind of have to watch it a bit at the start otherwise you’ll end up with some burnt rice but if you keep mixing it, you get crispy rice!

This bibimbap was served with a slightly spicy and sweet sauce and a little bit of miso like soup. I think this made the difference for me, I’ve had a couple of bibimbaps in the past and I never really enjoyed them, I found them too bland and boring. This one was full of sweetness from the sauce and savouriness from the soup. There was also plenty of texture from the various veggies including cooked bean spouts, mushrooms, greens, cucumber, carrots and I think radish as well. Plus there was a egg yolk which was oh so creamy.

Onwards, to something quiet traditional (apparently), the Jajangmyeon ($14). So I’m not actually sure if this is anymore traditional than any of the other dishes at B-One but I’ve never heard or seen anything like this. Plus, our Korean friend recalls his parents making this for dinner when he was growing up so, this is like the ratatouille of Koreans I guess.

This dish comes with vermicelli like noodles with a generous  serving of sauce with bits of meat throughout it. The meat and sauce was really rich with plenty of creaminess to it. It wasn’t like creaminess from milk or cream but rather creaminess from fat. I know that sounds really weird but it was really tasty. Since there was a lot of thick sauce, every bit of noodle was completely covered in this delicious sauce, making it really tasty and flavoursome. The addition of the cucumber was great too, giving the dish a little bit of freshness, some great colour and some crunchiness as well.

Our last dish for the night, a Beef short rib soup ($14). In hindsight, I don’t know why we got this considering it was 36c outside. But man was it good! There’s one thing I love about Korean food that I’ve always loved, and that’s potato noodles. Potatoes have always been the king of carb to me, nothing comes close, there are lots of people out there who think “oh potatoes are ok but noodles are better” and they might have a point, until they find out that people have made noodles out of potatoes, and they’re freaking amazing. Check mate. Noodle people.

The flavoursome beef broth with 3 or 4 decently sized short rib chunks and potato noodles is delicious. Like with the bibimbap, this soup comes in a hot sizzling ceramic bowl which kept our soup really warm for ages. The soup was pretty standard, it’s a nice subtle meat bone flavour but nothing incredible, and it wasn’t helped by the fact that they put in a LOT of onion and spring onion (I kind of hate raw onion). This would’ve been a fairly unenjoyable dish if not for the amazing flavour of the beef short rib itself. Absolutely amazing. Really tender, lovingly and marinated in what felt like a Korean bulgogi style sauce. The short ribs turned this dish from average to delicious.

Of course something to cool down, the Sikhye ($5). This was really interesting. When I go to resturants, I really like trying out their cultural drinks. Here at B-One they had two. This one, which I’ll talk about in a second and another drink made out of persimmon. Since I’ve had quite a few persimmons and know what they taste like I deicded to opt for the the sikhye. I don’t quite know how to explain this outside of, it tasted like a brown rice milk tea, minus the milk and tea part I guess. It was a really nice, sweet and really cooling drink.  There was a strong rice flavour to it and bits of soft (but not mushy) rice bits throughout the drink as well. I know this description sounds pretty bad but it was actually a really nice drink, though a warning for anyone who doesn’t have a sweet tooth, this drink is definitely on the sweeter side.

I’m a little disappointed that B-One doesn’t have any desserts, I didn’t ask but I didn’t see any on their menu or anything around their store indicating that B-One served sweet goodies. It’s such a shame because I really wanted a try of Korean desserts. Outside of that and the slow service, this was a really enjoyable meal. Its definitely opened up my eyes to Korean cuisine and I’ll definitely be coming back to try some of the less known goodies and of course ordering plenty more Korean fried chicken and beers. It looks like one fantastic summer ahead!

B-One Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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