193 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane
I blogged this place about a year ago as a lunch spot. I noticed at the time that the dinner time menu was very different and I resolved to try it again at night. The perfect occasion presented itself when my old friend Andrew came up to Brisbane for a business trip earlier this week. We decided to catch up over dinner in West End. Originally, we planned to meet in the central dining area (Melbourne Street meets Boundary Street) but when Marc and I got there first, Hong Depot smelt so good that I decided to forgo all other options.
At night, Hong Depot is primarily a Korean barbecue restaurant. There are lots of those tubular ventilation arms that extend from the ceiling to prevent the place from getting too smoky. We kept it simple and went for the barbecue with three varieties of meat, plus a large seafood pancake to share. The seafood pancake turned out to be so delicious that we ordered another of the same.
Hong Depot is licensed so there are a few good casual drink options. Marc had a Korean beer but I went for a sweet plum wine because I'd never tried it before. I remember that my friend Mochi once brought over some plum wine for us to cook with and I had a swig of that. It tasted very much like something you should only ever cook with and never drink on its own. This one, on the other hand, was very sweet and drinkable without being too syrupy.
A few appetisers were brought out for our table. There were fish cakes, kim chi and pasta salad. Our waiter advised us that at any point, we could get top ups for any of these appetisers for no extra cost. Andrew became quite taken with the fish cake and requested two extra serves of that. We also had 3 types of dipping sauce to use throughout our meal.
Large seafood savoury pancake
I get Korean savoury pancake every time I eat at a Korean restaurant. It's almost always good but I have noticed that there is by no means a standard formula. The worst I've had was too spongy and flavourless. I will confidently say that this one at Hong Depot is the best savoury pancake I've tasted. It was fabulously crunchy around the outside. I think they leave their pieces of spring onion and veggies quite large so that it provides nice texture when they crisp up.
DIY Korean BBQ - with marinated beef bulgogi, pork short ribs and spicy chicken
As for our barbecue itself, I enthusiastically munched on everything that was plopped on my plate. Marc took on the task of turning and cooking the meats. I liked the beef bulgogi best but honestly enjoyed everything on my plate. There is something about Korean meat; it always seems so thoroughly marinated, full of flavour and tender. Our barbecue plate was initially presented with some onion rings, mushrooms (awkwardly, two to share between 3 of us) and corn cobs. The veggies weren't nearly exciting as the meat or maybe that's because Marc managed to reduce them to charcoal. It's a shame that we saw on the bill that they cost extra. Next time I don't think I'll have any vegetables.
After my second visit and Marc's n'th visit to Hong Depot, we're both still loving this place very much. The vibe is casual and fun and the staff are so friendly. We got a cool and unexpected 10% rain discount because of the bad weather. The barbecue was very tasty and I highly recommend their seafood pancakes.