At just after 5pm, it wasn't surprising we were the only table. We enjoyed a spacious booth a friendly welcome and before we knew it, drinks had been ordered. Cocktails come around $13 and I really enjoyed the tart fruitiness of the number known as Mo Problems.
The dining area is large and roomy with some bar tables, high level seating actually at the bar, booths for larger groups and a DJ station. It's charcoal and neon with the odd shot of hot pink - it feels contemporary, a little bit hip and a lot of fun.
There's some tongue in cheek humour at Seoulja Boy. He's a funny chap; cheeky "Seoulex" logo as well as other fun pokings of that RnB life but credible enough with live DJs playing music at a reasonable volume that it doesn't make conversing difficult. DJ started later in the evening and not when we arrived at 5pm! Also if you enjoy a good quote to make you smile, take a trip to the bathroom for some inspiration.
Through the course of the night we saw couples come in for a date; some lingered, others enjoyed a quick bite to eat. There were families and like us groups of friends so a good cross section of folk. I liked that mix of clientele and that some spent an hour there and others longer and we ended up there for 3.5 hours! But more on that later...
- Kingfish sashimi, white kimchi and fish roe with yuzu soy dressing and wasabi mayo
- Nori crumbed prawn Kdog with mustard mayo
The Kdog is a plump croquette on a stick. More prawn flavoured mashed potato with a crispy crumb so more soft and fluffy rather than anything dense or meaty in texture. It's fun to eat and I don't like mustard but didn't find the mayo too overpowering.
The other anju dishes were:
- Lightly salted taro chips
- Edamame with roasted nori salt
Granted, on paper these two dishes didn't sound that interesting but they were actually very good. The edamame was good quality and didn't have that slimey goo that sometimes happens and the nori salt gave it a bit of a twist to the usual sea salt. The taro chips were crispy and not greasy so had a nice "beer snack" feel to it. Again, generous servings.
Our greediness meant we wanted supplementary items to the $35 menu! We were tempted by fried chicken, dumplings, pancake, corn...but we went with the interestingly described Sushi Slider - tuna on tempura kale, spring onions, fish roe and Seoulja Boy sauce.
It was attractive to look at - cubes of deep red tuna against a white cracker with shades of green running through as well shades of orange sauce and roe. Probably less slider and more sashimi on a cracker if I'm going to be fussy about words. It was a but difficult to eat as the kale is quite tough being the vegetable it is. The sauce is that Korean spicy chilli sauce with some sweetness; gojuchang and it's super tasty but I did feel it overwhelmed the fish a bit. Not a terrible dish by any means but not as well balanced as the kingfish sashimi.
- Korean style slow cooked braised short ribs sticky glazed and simmered on a low heat for tender, sweet meat
- Char grilled Porterhouse steak with Korean spicy ssamjang sauce and roasted garlic
The ribs were just as tender as described and definitely had the sweet sticky glaze but not too heavy. Pretty tasty with the rice and a little but of the sliced green chilli and spring onion to make it a bit fresher. I really enjoyed the steak and we were advised to take a piece of the medium rare meat and have a bit of the chilli sauce, some ribbons of the spring onion and a garlic clove and eat it altogether. What a delicious mouthful and the garlic isn't too intense as it's been roasted to mellow it out.
Now having put in a sneaky sushi slider as an extra and with dessert to come, we really didn't need any more food but talk tuned to one of Seoulja Boy's specialty dishes being the Ddeokbokki Carbonara and we were lucky enough that the original Seoulja Boy i.e. Benny the owner provided us with a complimentary serving to try.
The chewy ddeokbokki (rice cakes kind of like gnocchi) were perfectly cooked; soft but still bouncy and that creamy, bacon and onion sauce was just amazingly delicious. It's definitely a rich dish and I don't know if I could eat a whole serve to myself but I'm they type to struggle with a whole portion of pasta carbonara anyway. This is a must order and yes, share away but make sure there's enough for everyone!
So having put away all this food, we were so full. The attentive waitresses checked in several times to see if we were ready for dessert and we had to ask for a ten minute breather. After a couple of ten minute breathers, we faced dessert. By the way, when we were asked about dessert it wasn't to rush us and we felt no pressure to have to leave.
Dessert was the creatively named C.R.E.A.M which stands for Cakes Rule Everything Around Me! Described has homemade cheesecake icecream and banana cake with a lemon dressing, we weren't sure about how all these flavours would work. But, no fear, dessert didn't let us down. The banana cake was soft and moist. The icecream had a lemon cheesecake tang. It wasn't the smoothest of ice creams and we mentioned that to Benny and he explained that because of some technical issues with machinery, the ice cream was being churned by hand! Well no wonder there were ice crystals and I can forgive that knowing there is some poor kitchen team member having to hand churn ice cream!
Seoulja Boy is a hit! It's not unlike Rice, Paper, Scissors which is close by but it's less frantic. I think it is excellent value for money and I'm looking forward to trying more of the menu. There's an incredible sounding pork belly main dish for two to share which I must sample! It's a place that can be all things to all men - casual lunch joint, quick dine and dash or a longer leisurely meal like our's. Suitable for couples and groups, it's a good place for good times!