Seorae Review: The Best Korean Charcoal BBQ in Singapore? [Must Read]

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  • Post published:February 12, 2024
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Seorae Korean Charcoal BBQ has become an extremely popular Korean barbecue restaurant chain in Singapore over the last few years. Known for its high-quality meats and signature galbi dishes, Seorae provides an authentic Korean barbecue dining experience right in the heart of Singapore.

In this seorae review article, we will cover everything you need to know about dining at Seorae in Singapore, including: About Seorae Korean BBQ, Seorae’s Signature Dishes, Galbi and Galmaegisal, Other Popular Dishes, Drink Options, Dining Ambience, Locations in Singapore, Price and Value, Service Quality, Reservations, Overall Dining Experience, Seorae Reviews from Locals, Pros and Cons and finally our Verdict.

This in-depth guide will provide an expert review of Seorae restaurants in Singapore, with plenty of details to help you decide if it’s the right Korean barbecue restaurant for you. Whether you’re a KBBQ novice or connoisseur, read on for the ultimate Seorae dining guide.

Seorae Korean BBQ Review – Introduction

Seorae Korean BBQ is a popular Korean barbecue franchise that originated in South Korea and has expanded to over 300 locations across Asia. Founded in 2007 by Chef Chul Park, the first Seorae restaurant aimed to make galmaegisal (pork skirt steak) more readily available and affordable to the masses.

Previously, galmaegisal was reserved for Korean royalty and considered a rare delicacy. By specializing in high-quality galmaegisal sourced from premium farms, Seorae quickly became renowned in Korea for its signature pork dishes.

Seorae opened its first international outpost in Singapore in 2015 at Plaza Singapura. Since then, it has expanded to 6 locations across the island.

The Seorae chain differentiates itself by focusing on the quality and cuts of its meats. The restaurants exclusively use premium breeds and cuts of pork, beef, and chicken. Seorae is particularly known for its marinated galmaegisal, which is massaged by hand daily using a special technique to achieve unparalleled tenderness and flavor.

In Singapore, Seorae provides the full Korean barbecue experience complete with banchan (side dishes), barbecue grilling at your table, and Korean drinks like soju and makgeolli. The ambience emulates an authentic Korean dining experience, making it popular for gatherings with family and friends.

Seorae’s Signature Dishes

Seorae Korean BBQ has become renowned for a few signature items that every diner must try. Two of the absolute must-orders are the galbi and galmaegisal, prized pork and beef dishes.

Galbi and Galmaegisal

The galbi and galmaegisal are two of Seorae’s crown jewels when it comes to taste and quality.

Galbi refers to marinated short ribs, a quintessential dish at any Korean barbecue restaurant. Seorae offers a premium version – LA Galbi made with U.S. beef short ribs. The ribs are marinated for a full day in a sweet and savory marinade that tenderizes the meat and infuses it with flavor.

The end result is ribs that are fall-off-the-bone tender and packed with umami sweetness. LA Galbi costs $38.90 for a full order, making it one of the priciest dishes, but worth it for special occasions or indulgent cravings. Get it on its own or as part of a combo set.

Then there’s the star of the show – galmaegisal, also called pork skirt steak. It’s Seorae’s signature dish made from a rare and treasured cut of meat from the pig’s abdominal area.

The pork skirt steak is tenderized through a labor-intensive process of marination and massage by hand for 30 minutes prior to serving. It develops a supple, buttery texture with a rich meatiness.

You can order galmaegisal on its own or as part of a combo grill set. The pork has an utter melt-in-your-mouth quality unlike any other pork barbecue. It exemplifies the tender and fresh qualities that Seorae is acclaimed for.

Other Popular Dishes

Beyond the signature galbi and galmaegisal, Seorae offers a broad menu of Korean barbecue meats and classic dishes. Here are some other best-sellers and recommendations:

  • Wagyu Beef Short Ribs – For special occasions, splurge on this $68.90 Wagyu ribeye, the most premium beef on the menu. The gorgeous marbling ensures a wonderfully rich and buttery flavor.
  • Spicy Pork Belly – If you like a little kick, try the samgyeopsal marinated in spicy gochujang paste. The spice mix adds another layer of flavor.
  • Beef Bulgogi – Tender ribeye beef gets a sweet marinade in this classic Korean grill dish.
  • Chicken Bulgogi – A lighter chicken version that’s nicely grilled.
  • Seafood Pancake – The haemul pajeon offers a nice break from meat with a crispy seafood pancake studded with scallions. Share as an appetizer.
  • Assorted Japchae – Glass noodles tossed with vegetables and your choice of seafood, beef, or chicken. A refreshing, light dish.
  • Sundubu Jjigae – This spicy soft tofu stew makes a nice accompaniment or starter. You can customize the spiciness.
  • Bibimbap – Mixed rice bowls topped with beef or vegetables provide a well-rounded meal with meat, veggies, and rice.
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The menu has extensive combo grill sets that are great for sharing family-style. The sets include a mix of pork, beef, chicken, and seafood. Everything is prepared in the kitchen and brought to your table for grilling over the smokeless tabletop grill.

Drink Options

To complement the smoky meats, Seorae offers a range of Korean alcoholic beverages, juices, teas, and more. Some standouts include:

  • Soju – This iconic Korean rice liquor is a must. Go for the classics or flavored soju like yakult or coffee.
  • Makgeolli – The creamy, lightly carbonated rice wine has a refreshing appeal.
  • Bokbunja – A berry wine with sweet and tart flavors.
  • Plum Wine – Maesilju is lightly fruity and sweet.
  • Beer – Korean brands like Hite and Cass are light options.
  • Fruit Sojus – Watermelon, grapefruit, or apple sojus mix soju with fruit flavors.
  • Cocktails – Unique Korean-inspired cocktails like the Seorae Blossom with soju, yuzu, and elderflower.
  • Non-alcoholic – Barley tea, ginger tea, juices, and soda are also available.

The drinks menu gives you lots of options to pair with grilled meats and banchan. Share a soju bomb set for lively drinking games. Just ask your server for selections.

Dining Ambience

The atmosphere at Seorae is designed for an authentic Korean barbecue experience, whether you’re dining with family or friends. The spacious interiors have wooden accents and traditional Korean touches to emulate the feel of a restaurant in Seoul.

Ventilation systems above the grilling stations keep smoke to a minimum for a comfortable meal. Pop hits from Kpop groups like BTS, Blackpink, and Twice play overhead, setting an upbeat mood. The lively music and bustling sounds of grills sizzling make it a lively environment.

The tables and banquette seating have heating underneath to keep guests warm during the meal. Cooking stations with hot plates and grills are built into each table. The friendly servers bring out raw dishes to cook, assist with grilling, and exchange plates as needed.

They’re also happy to make suggestions and help with any questions. A salad bar provides unlimited vegetables, kimchi, and other sides to complement your meal.

Overall, the casual ambience is ideal for large groups sharing several dishes family-style. It makes for a fun and satisfying evening with homemade Korean flavors.

Seorae Review Locations in Singapore

Seorae now has 6 locations across Singapore to serve up Korean barbecue. Here is a breakdown of each restaurant:

Plaza Singapura Address: 68 Orchard Rd, #B2-48 Plaza Singapura, Singapore 238839

This 2-story flagship outlet was Seorae’s first location in Singapore. Centrally located in town, it’s always bustling with diners indulging in barbecue upstairs or downstairs. Reserve ahead here on weekends.

NEX Address: 23 Serangoon Central, #B2-24/25 NEX, Singapore 556083

Situated in the NEX mall at Serangoon MRT, this branch draws big crowds in the Northeast region with its quality meats.

Jem Address: 50 Jurong Gateway Rd, #B2-24 Jem, Singapore 608549

Conveniently located near the Jurong East MRT station, this Jem outpost is perfect for Korean barbecue cravings in the West. Go early to avoid crowds.

Suntec City Address: 3 Temasek Blvd, #B1-115 Suntec City Mall, Singapore 038983

In the heart of the CBD, this Suntec City spot is popular with office workers looking for an after-work Korean barbecue fix.

Compass One (Sengkang)
Address: 1 Sengkang Square, #02-36 Compass One, Singapore 545078

This spacious Sengkang restaurant is the best option for Korean barbecue in the Northeast region. Near the Sengkang MRT, it offers quality meats in a relaxed setting.

Clarke Quay Central Address: 6 Eu Tong Sen St, #04-62 Clarke Quay Central, Singapore 059817

Next to Clarke Quay MRT and the Singapore River, the lively atmosphere here is great for gatherings and drinking soju into the night.

Price and Value

Seorae Korean BBQ Review is classified as mid-tier pricing, making it quite affordable compared to high-end Korean barbecue restaurants. Lunch sets available on weekdays provide an even more budget-friendly option.

Here is a general overview of pricing at Seorae:

  • Ala carte meats range from $17.90 for basic pork/chicken up to $68.90 for Wagyu short ribs.
  • Most standard pork, chicken, and beef cuts are $20 to $30.
  • Combination sets are $78 to $128 for groups with a variety of proteins and sides.
  • Noodle soups and rice dishes are generally $15 to $25.
  • Appetizers like kimchi pancakes or japchae are around $18 to $25.
  • Soju and other Korean alcohol starts at $13 for beer and soju. Cocktails are $18 to $26.
  • Sides are affordable at $2 to $5 forbanchan, rice, kimchi, etc.
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Compared to casual Korean eateries, Seorae is priced at a moderate premium – but still very reasonable for the excellent quality you receive. The ambience and signature meats like galbi and galmaegisal make it worthwhile for special occasions or KBBQ cravings.

Lunch sets with a main dish, appetizer, and sides can be found during weekday lunch hours for under $25 total. This makes it an affordable option for office goers. You can easily dine at Seorae for under $50 per person at lunch or closer to $60 to $80 at dinner.

Seorae Review: Service Quality

Seorae receives positive reviews for its friendly and welcoming service that enhances the barbecue dining experience. The teams are praised for their warm hospitality that makes everyone feel comfortable.

From your first greeting at the entrance to your final goodbye, the service stands out as polite, attentive, and helpful. The servers double as grill masters who assist with cooking your selections to the perfect doneness at your table.

Some hallmarks of the excellent service include:

  • Enthusiastic greetings and introductions when you are seated. Servers aim to make you feel excited for the meal.
  • Detailed explanations of menu items and offerings for the day. Servers are knowledgeable about dishes to help you choose.
  • Efficient grill assistance and monitoring doneness so you get perfect results every time.
  • Swift clearing of grill plates and replacing banchan so nothing piles up.
  • Checking in periodically so food and drinks are replenished in a timely manner.
  • Quick responses to any requests – whether its adjustments to your dish, additional side orders, or help grilling.
  • Friendly assistance dividing up bills for large groups.
  • Sincere thank you’s and invitations to return again soon.

The staff are cited for enhancing the experience with their hospitable nature and enthusiasm. Language is not a barrier with English-speaking staff able to explain everything.

Reservations

Seorae Reviews continues… Let’s talk about the reservation.

With Seorae’s popularity, reservations are strongly recommended to avoid long waits, especially for weekend dinners. Walk-in diners may encounter waits exceeding an hour at prime times as BBQ grills are in high demand.

Reserving in advance guarantees you a table at your preferred timing. Booking can be easily done online via Seorae’s website or Chope. Just select your restaurant location, date, timing, and party size.

You’ll receive an email confirmation to show the staff when you arrive or add it to your phone. Do note reservation durations are capped at 90 minutes per seating to accommodate incoming guests. You can extend or do multiple seatings if arranged in advance.

If booking a large group of 8 or more, give the restaurant a direct call as they may have special arrangements or seating areas to best accommodate your party.

Seorae Review: Dining Experience

From start to finish, Seorae delivers an authentic and welcoming barbecue dining experience perfect for gatherings with friends or colleagues. Here’s an overview of what you can expect when visiting any Seorae location:

Right from your arrival, energetic hosts greet your group and confirm any reservation details. The interior feels lively yet casual, with upbeat Korean pop music setting the mood.

You’ll be seated at smooth wooden tables and leather banquettes. The centerpiece is the built-in tabletop grilling station with hot plates or charcoal.

The menu presents photos of each dish, with servers ready to offer recommendations for newcomers to KBBQ. Feel free to ask questions if you’re unsure!

Drink orders are taken while you browse appetizers, meats, soups and more. Soju cocktails, Korean beer or makgeolli are popular starter beverages while grill plates heat up.

Banchan like kimchi, salad, and japchae are served first – unlimited refills!

The server prepares your grill with care, giving a quick rundown of how to use it safely. Meat selections ordered are brought raw to cook yourself on the sizzling grill top, assisted by the staff.

The hands-on grilling and aromas fill the air. Sauce and veggie pairings complement each juicy bite.

Servers vigilantly tend the grill, flipping meats and sliding off cooked items seamlessly. They’re happy to provide recommended cooking times or preferences.

Empty plates are cleared promptly and banchan restocked so you never have to wait long.

Once you’ve had your fill of savory barbecue, sweet bingsoo desserts are a perfect final treat.

Bill payments are a breeze with servers dividing totals for large groups by person or item.

You leave satisfied after a joyful night of food and company – already looking forward to the next visit.

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The restaurants excel at delivering quality meats alongside welcoming service for the best Korean barbecue experience.

Seorae Reviews and Complaints from Locals

With many locations across Singapore, Seorae has become a go-to spot for both Korean expats and locals craving authentic cuisine. Here’s a compilation of real customer reviews from Singaporeans on their experiences dining at Seorae:

Positive Seorae Reviews

“We ordered the Wagyu beef ribs and they were amazing – literally melting in my mouth! My partner had the Galmaegisal pork and couldn’t get over how tender it was. One of the best Korean BBQ places we’ve tried in Singapore.”

“The lunchtime sets here are very worth it – you get a good amount of top quality meats, soups and sides. Great value and very satisfying. Staff are also very attentive with cooking and orders.”

“Came with my colleagues on a Friday night and had a fantastic company dinner. We did the all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet which was awesome. So much variety of meats and seafood. Highly recommended!”

“The service really stands out here. The guys manning the grill cook everything perfectly to your taste, then seamlessly swap out plates and keep sides fully stocked. Also so friendly.”

“My wife loves Korean food and for her birthday I booked a VIP room here for her surprise celebration. She was so happy with the beautiful Wagyu beef, homemade banchans and special touches.”

Negative Seorae Reviews

“Food was decent but a little overpriced, especially the Wagyu selection. Service also dropped the ball – slow with drink refills and made a mistake with our order. Not terrible but did not wow.”

“Came without a reservation on a Fri night and had to wait 1.5 hours for a table even on a weekday. Should have booked in advance, that was my mistake. Food was good once we got in.”

“Very smokey inside and hard to carry a conversation near the grills. Ventilation could be improved. Also tables were jammed tightly together.”

“Received wrong orders twice even when speaking to staff in English. Mistakes with sides and missing items. Servers seemed a bit disorganized.”

As these real reviews demonstrate, guests consistently rave about standout dishes like Seorae’s galbi and galmaegisal. Service is very good overall, but experiences can vary occasionally at busier times. Reserving in advance is highly recommended.

Pros:

  • Melt-in-your-mouth signature meats like galbi and galmaegisal
  • High food quality using premium beef, pork and chicken
  • Authentic Korean flavors and ingredients like gochujang
  • Cooked right at your table on built-in grills
  • Unlimited banchan side dishes included
  • Energetic and welcoming service
  • Casual ambience great for large groups
  • Online reservations available
  • Reasonable prices compared to high-end Korean BBQ
  • Convenient locations near MRT stations
  • Menu suitable for meat lovers or vegetarians

Cons:

  • Can get smokey at times from tabletop grills
  • Very busy at peak times without reservations
  • Some locations have tight seating between tables
  • Prices still moderately expensive overall
  • 90 minute dining limit per seating
  • Some inconsistencies in service reported at busier times
  • Not suitable for informal small meals due to grilling

Seorae Review Singapore: Our Verdict

Seorae Korean BBQ became a top destination in Singapore for authentic, quality Korean barbecue. The restaurants check all the boxes from melt-in-your-mouth meats to hospitable service in a lively ambience. Signature dishes like galbi and galmaegisal plus banchan sides are menu highlights.

While pricier than casual Korean eateries, Seorae offers excellent value at its moderate premium. The high food quality and cooking experience make it worthwhile for Korean barbecue lovers. Just be sure to reserve in advance to guarantee tables, especially at busier locations.

Seorae is highly recommended for memorable gatherings and celebrations with family, friends or colleagues. For the full Korean barbecue experience paired with hospitality in Singapore, make a reservation at your nearest Seorae outlet soon.

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