|Banchaan - always welcome and meant to get your appetite going further.|
This was an evening when winter reluctantly seemed to still hold on, but got diverted occasionally to allow spring to gently still come in. Still, it was good to gather around the grill at the centre of the table, with hot coals a burning and having thin slices of well marinated meat sizzling in front of us. There was much to chat about, to catch up and not just over food.
The place was full of diners and both of us were fortunate to perhaps get the only remaining table, albeit outside under the pergola. My fellow diner had been to Seoul recently. The highlight of the dinner that evening was the dumplings, looking plain at the outset, but gratifying delicate and subtle tasty at the end.
Jonga Jip has tables crammed with young men and women out on the suburb. I thought this was so like gatherings around a campfire spirit. Rowe Street at this side may be a mess of roadworks but no one cares. The dip sauces are especially good and the service is rather fast. I think of worker's safety as the young man deftly handles the hot pan covers and at the end of the night, pulls out holder with the dying charcoal ambers. The tables may be small but diners clear out the food fast in a communal feast. We abstained from alcohol but most diners do not.
Korean prepared meats are soaked with flavour, keeping the texture on the bite uppermost in mind. The grill styles are really for keeping warm with severe winter temperatures outside, so sitting tightly close up becomes natural. There are more than a few outlets now in this part of Eastwood dishing up what was once a niche and ethnic food in Australia. Jonga Jip has another outlet just around the corner at Railway Parade - some say this one along Rowe Street provides the better dining experience.
We both loved handling the short metal chopsticks and required lots of tissues to manage the sauces. I reckon depending on the time of day you visit this place and whom you meet, the service you get can vary. We were happy with the staff this time around, even if they were really busy. Downsides of the venue are that tables are packed together, it can get smoky above your comfort level and also the chatter level can increase as more drinks flow.
My impressions of Jonga Jip at Rowe Street are that it is an evening tribal hub. Good to consider if you love your meats, do not mind sit huddled together and it is cool outside. It is lacking in desserts but there are lots of omelette and potato noodles. To some it may be comfort food, to others something different - and the debate goes on if the food here is more Westernised than authentic. Those below 30 years old do not mind whatever...the wine list is interesting and a necessary accessory to all the hot meats.
Jonga Jip visited is located at 87 Rowe Street, Eastwood NSW.
Opening hours are from 10am to 11pm every day.
Contact +612 9858 5160