Alright, I’ve just been to the best Korean BBQ joint in Sydney. Kang Ho Dong 678 is actually a chain from Korea started by the comedian of the same name. Mr. 678′s latest venture is here in Sydney, located on the corner of Pitt and Goulburn in Haymarket just above Mr. B’s Hotel. Actually, the owner is a friend of an acquaintance of mine as well but I can unabashedly say that I’m completely unbiased.
I first heard about 678 from my colleague, a Korean dude who’s also an avid eater. He went there twice in a week so it’s gotta be good. My girlfriend heard it was pricey but good. I was keen to find out for myself.
The interior is actually kinda nice. Lovely high ceiling, nice wood booths, tables and chairs with big windows that would surely provide heaps of light in the daytime. Then you got the plentiful smoke suckers and these actually work really well. Honestly, I enjoy the smoke myself and don’t mind smelling of chargrilled meat at the end of a night but I guess most people prefer cologne. I also think smoke with grilled meat is part of the eating experience too but it’s a concession I’m willing to accept. I love the attention to detail here. Ssam lettuce is served on nice wooden trays and individually as well so everyone gets their own tray. The aluminium dishes are also of a higher, thicker walled variety than you’d commonly find.
We ordered 3 cuts of meat plus a Haemul Soondubu Jigae/Seafood Tofu Soup to share for 2. We got 8+ Rib Eye, 6+ Skirt and pork shoulder. But first to arrive were the ban chan/side dishes. We got some paechu kimchi (cabbage), dongchimi (cold radish soup), ojinguh jut(raw pickled squid), radish kimchi, sweet potato, lettuce salad and gyeran jjim (steamed eggs). The only minus was the gyeran jjim which went a little over and got a little browned on the bottom. (I have now been advised that this is actually more authentic) Flavour wise though, it was good and eggy. Everything else was a solid 7. The squid, in particular, was a highlight. It came with the cutest little glasslock container of seaweed to wrap with some rice. My dad would love this.
They then bring out glowing hot charcoal which looks really good. I mention this and my girlfriend thinks it’s just standard fare in Korea. Well we’re in Sydney honey, it tends to be shit here. I get interrupted next by the ribeye.
What caught me was how cleanly cut the steak was. It also came as a nice slab of meat, lovely marbling even if I’m not 100% that it’s 8+. Clearly they either have a nice sharp slicer or a good sharp knife with a good butcher. You could be fooled into thinking that the slab they give you is a piece of plastic is how clean it was prepped. They do the meat in house by the way so it ought to be good. The steak seared off nicely. I tried to take a peek and moved the vacuum smoke sucker which let loose a bit of smoke. The staff immediately came over, stopped me and made sure nothing escaped! I found this a little intrusive but I suppose ultimately, it kept the restaurant devoid of smoke. As for the meat… Well, it’s fucking good. The flavour is light and superbly clean. No funk, no smell. Texture was sublime at medium rare and still great even at medium well when it was left on the grill for a bit. All you need is the beautiful quality salt they give you.
Now the skirt. I generally prefer secondary cuts nowadays and was trying to look for something aside from the usual ribs/ribeye/scotchfillet at K BBQs. Thankfully, the specials had inside skirt. Fantastic. I love inside skirt cos it’s got that wonderfully bloody, meaty, beefy flavour and the way they scored the meat went a fair way to making it tender too. Overall, I prefer the skirt but the ribeye is a nice luxury and well worth it.
By the time I got to the pork, I was almost all done. I could only do 2 out of 7 pieces of the shoulder. The meat was again nice and fresh, no smell and really clean tasting. The serve came with a generous amount of fat, which gets better on the charcoal. The shoulder tends to be a little tougher than other cuts but I like the flavour of their pork and with the fat, it’s just great.
The seafood tofu soup was also excellent. The stock isn’t spectacular except for the addition of crab, which gives a brilliant sweet flavour. The serve is also generous and comes with clams, zucchini, mushrooms, onion and some pork belly as well as big hunks of whole tofu not broken up plus a beautiful egg that still had the yolk runny when I ate it. Sublime. The crab itself isn’t meaty or anything but I still find the serve great value.
Across the board, 678 ticked all the right boxes for me. For the quality of meat, the generosity and the standard of stuff aside from the meat, it’s a superb meal and really good value to flavour ratio. We ended up spending 90+ including 3 bottles of OB lager but I reckon 50-60+ is a more normal figure. This works out to about 30ish pax. I pay about the same when I smash it at various different K BBQs across the city and outside it.
One of the specials was a 9+ cut of beef that went for $39. Considering their portion to be around 150-180g, it is again, generous. You can get 9+ at like fucking Rockpool Bar & Grill or something like that but that’s a 3 figure steak. For the money, you really can’t find a better steak in Sydney, albeit one you cut up with tongs and a pair of scissors. If you compare against the various Strathfield, Homebush, Chatswood, Eastwood, Campsie etc K BBQ joints, this one is the clear winner in terms of quality meat.
This is straight into my favourites. That’s how fucking good it is. Keen to try the marinated meats and also the lunch specials.