The #SeoulfulKitchen: Gaja Korean Kitchen at Poblacion

by - Monday, May 27, 2019

Poblacion is one of the busiest places to find yourself in at night time. It's not only filled with live-music, drinking, and parties on every street, but it's also where you'll find hidden gems in terms of dining. 

Gaja Korean Kitchen is one of those restaurants in the area, although it's not as crowded and dim as the others. It's located on the second floor of a building, and with its modern and spacious interiors, it is a place you'll find extremely comfortable

One thing you should expect from the restaurant is their not-so-typical Korean food. They have a lot of offerings with price range that go from affordable finger food to expensive quality meats. You'll find a few familiar items on the menu, as most of them have modern twists to it.

Here's a photo of the sides we were given upon arriving the restaurant. 

Itaewon Army Stew P480

The soup is the winning dish from our dinner. It's the dish most loved by all. It's a bowl with sausage, spam, beans, glass and ramyeon noodles, mushrooms, cabbage, tofu, and broth that's filled with a lot of kick. So if you're into really strong, spicy flavors, then this is the perfect soup to order.

K-Taco P320

The K-taco is made with a really soft, house-made kimchi tortilla, and filled with Korean pulled pork and pickled vegetables. It did not seem like much, but I liked how tender and flavorful the pulled pork was. This, combined with the pickled vegetables, was something I easily appreciated.

Kimbap Aburi P360
I knew I'd like the kimbap aburi even by just looking at it. I mean, what's not to like? It's a Japanese-Korean sushi filled with beef bulgogi, and generously topped with cheesy aburi sauce! It's my favorite!

Honey Butter Chicken P375

The honey butter chicken is your twice-fried beer-battered chicken fillet thighs covered in honey butter sauce, almond, pickled radish, and rice puffs. It seemed like a whole new different dish based on the description, but it really wasn't as unique tasting as the other dishes, though it also did not fail to impress.

Ribimbap P480

I chose the ribimbap over the kimchi fried rice (which you can opt to add cheese in) just because I read that it had rib eye cubes in it. It was served to us in a pot with the gojuchang butter on the side. I as hoping that it would taste as flavorful as I imagined, but that wasn't the case. Right now I couldn't stop thinking if the kimchi fried rice would have been the better choice.

LA Galbi P700
The LA galbi is a 350g of Kitayama wagyu sous vied for 48 hours before being grilled. It has a sweet and salty glaze, although the meat was a bit dry for me. 

Gaja Signature Chops P375
We ordered the Gaja signature chops because it is one of the cheapest available out of the main dishes. It's a 24-hour brined thick-cut tomahawk pork chops smothered with Korean BBQ red sauce and grilled. Like the LA galbi, this meat was also a bit dry for me, although I still have to give them credit for making it more tender than it looks.

Gaja is a Korean restaurant, but it does have a secret bar named "The Odd Seoul", and the restaurant is the way in (I'm not sure if there is another way to get inside this bar). Anyways, we were having a nice Friday dinner at the restaurant, where a group of people in a long table were also celebrating someone's birthday. Halfway through the night at around 10pm, it started to get really noisy, and it seemed like the restaurant became an extension of the bar. I was already a bit agitated as some of the lights have already been switched off. My friends and I then decided to have coffee where we can understand what everyone was saying, and so we asked for the bill. And while we were scanning through the bill, the staff FULLY switched off the lights of the restaurant, which to me is a totally unacceptable move. The least the restaurant could have done was to inform us that they were going to switch off the lights and not while we were trying to read the bill.

I know people may criticize me for expecting to have a more peaceful time in Poblacion area, but for what I know, Gaja is a restaurant. They serve delicious Korean food with a unique twist that kind of sets them apart from the others. But what they can deliver in terms of culinary experience, I hope they can also do in terms of ambiance and overall feel.

Do they have a different kind of set up at night? Do they really merge into one party venue? Please do let me know.

My Scores:
Pricing - 3/5
Service - 3/5
Ambiance - 3.5/5
Taste - 3.5/5

Hungry for more,

Address: 2F 8445 Kalayaan Ave, Poblacion, Makati City
Operating Hours: 11am to 12mn Daily
Contact: +63906 493 0799
Budget: from P500 per person
Parking: Limited Parking 
Instagram: @gajaph 
Facebook: @gajaph 

(Date of Visit: April 5, 2019)

Gaja Korean Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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