Pan Asia BBQ – Nottingham
Pan Asia BBQ has been open for a short period of time on Upper Parliament Street next to May Sum. Walking past it you could forgive the thought that it was another high-volume all you can eat affair. However if you were to ignore the gaudy neon signs and venture in you will find something different. Admittedly décor is a slightly clinical and corporate imagining of this Korean BBQ and Japanese sushi bar. The BBQ concept sees grills placed in the middle of tables for the customers to cook their own meat with various marinades available. Upon being seated we were told that the restaurant did not have enough currently have enough ventilation for said grilling and it wouldn’t be available until next month. As a result of this they have done little marketing, no website or twitter page at this stage.
The menu outside of the BBQ element is still very appealing; with dishes from Japan, Malaysia and Korea. We decided to have three main courses between two and skip starters, although we were told that the sushi here is good. A sambal ayam hailing from Malaysia has a fragrant sauce with hidden warmth. The chicken is well cooked with some very nice stir fried veg, okra being a highlight. A second dish of Korean beef comes simply presented atop some perfectly sticky rice. The beef remains very tender with a fiery marinate/sauce that doesn’t fail to disappoint.
We remained in Korea for the final dish and this was the star of the show. Kimchi seems to be becoming a cultural phenomenon across the global, although its real cult status remains in its home country where it is the national dish. There are many variations of it, however the most common is a base of cabbage. The cabbage is cured and marinated with many spices (often significant amounts of chilli) and then left to ferment for months. The result is a hot and sour creation which can be eaten as a side dish or form part of something bigger as it did with ours. The ‘kimchi tofu pot with beef’ (catchy) you could loosely comparable to a ramen… but my do they pack the goodies in here. The broth itself is flavoured by that same punchy paste that the Korean beef dish has. They even leave some to add if you like it extra spicy, we do. Nestling on the surface of the shimmering liquid a fried egg had us fighting over ownership. A handful of varieties of mushrooms and broccoli provided freshness and texture. The kimchi itself lurks at the bottom providing a hit of flavour when you find that crunch of the cabbage. I haven’t even mentioned the beef or tofu, again well cooked but relegated from the headline act by other elements of the dish.
The portions being generous we couldn’t have managed dessert, there were just 2 options although they plan to add more. The service was charming with our waiter chatting about the restaurant opening, recommending dishes and being generally cheerful throughout. The food was reasonable at between £9-13 on average for a main dish. If you want to compare to the popular buffets nearby, yes you may get less for your money but I know where I will return.
Restaurant website: n/a