Alright, it has been awhile since we last posted a restaurant review. Stan injured his Achilles tendon from playing tennis whereas I re-injured my lower back just a few weeks ago. With Stan needing to rest his foot and sitting more than an hour causes discomfort on my lower back, we have not been taking the time to try out new places to eat. Last year, we had a double date at The Gaya with two friends, who we have not met for quite sometime. The Gaya serves Western fusion Korean cuisine.
When we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by friendly staff and were treated to a ‘magic show’. I kid, Stan and I are just easily impressed by simple tricks. The waitress poured some hot water onto this small bowl, which contained 4 pieces of small dehydrated towels and they began to expand. Most impressive… After we made our orders, we were served two complimentary dishes- fried cheese puffs drizzled with a little condensed milk with a dollop of some sort of fruit preserve on each puff and crispy rice cakes drizzled with spicy mayo. The complimentary dishes were nice, light starters but nothing to shout out about.
We ordered two entrées to share. Stan chose the salmon entrée which was topped with mixed mayo and salad. He was slightly disappointed as it turned out to be slices of smoked salmon and thought it was not as worth it for the money that he paid for. The second entrée was the Arrancini, which were shallow fried soy risotto served with basil pesto, stir fried kimchi, topped with berry sauce. The arrancini balls were creatively presented and garnished like giant takoyaki (Japanese octopus balls). The berry sauce provided a subtle tanginess to the dish but we could not really taste the soy in the risotto.
For mains, the couple ordered Tteokgalbi and 36 Pork, whereas Stan and I ordered Gaya BBQ Rib Galbi and Salmon. The Tteokgalbi dish is basically grilled beef patties, served with deep fried rice cakes, pickled mushroom and a small serve of coconut rice topped with fried shallots. The Gaya BBQ Rib Galbi consists of Korean style grilled BBQ beef ribs with a side of coconut rice, grated daikon and potato salad. Stan and our friend agreed that the coconut rice was a tad dry; the meat of both dishes were well marinated with a balance of sweet and saltiness but nothing out of the ordinary.
The salmon on the other hand was nicely cooked and the sourness of the yuzu sauce cuts through the sweetness of the Korean chilli sauce, bringing a nice balance to the dish. Out of all the mains, the standout dish was the 36 pork, which was sous vide pork belly with potato pumpkin purée, roasted cinnamon apples, soybean paste and Korean style chives salad.
To finish off the meal, three of us ordered the Red Misu and the other ordered the Gaya Yokan. The Red Misu is a fusion of tiramisu and red bean paste, topped with crumbs and crunchy candies that resembled colourful pebbles. The combination of red bean paste and tiramisu surprisingly went wonderfully well together and the crumbs and candies added another texture to the dish. The Gaya Yokan, a traditional Korean jelly made of red beans was a simple and light finish to the meal.
Overall, some of the dishes were hits and misses but they were still delicious. The staff were friendly and services were prompt and we all had a pleasant dinner and a nice catchup.