The Gaya is a less casual Korean dining experience. Leo’s vision was to introduce Korean food to the greater public as something other than Korean BBQ. Expect to find dishes that are more refined in presentation, but still retaining that classic flavour.
Next up were the banchan (side dishes) that accompanied our mains. These are a lot different to what you see elsewhere. There was a spicy mung bean salad, asparagus stir-fried with beef, marinated capsicum, pasta salad. My favourite was the mung bean salad, but it was a bit too salty particularly as these arrived long before our meals.
We only ordered one entree which were the crab croquettes. These were fried VERY well and came out hot. The crust was extremely crispy, encasing a creamy centre. Unfortunately, they use the seafood sticks rather than real crab. They were much too creamy for me, but my Dad and sister SC loved it.
The seafood stew ($28) was chosen by mum, and what a good choice it was! It was sweet with the seafood’s freshness and packed with ingredients. There were prawns, fish, squid and vegetables in there. I particularly like the addition of the bonito flakes which added a hint of smoke. This came with rice and would be a great choice in colder weather or when you need some comfort food!
The Gaya BBQ rib galbi ($30) was also quite nice, though fell short compared to the above beef dish. I would’ve liked for there to be more of the smokey grilled flavour, and it tended to be a bit chewy around the bones. That’s fine for me since I like chewing the bones, but I can imagine others would find it bothersome (i.e., GC and JC, hence why I got the bones). The flavours were spot-on with the moreish sweet-salty balance. The glutinous rice was a bit bland, but we liked the radish which added some freshness amongst the meat. Mum also loved the potato salad!
Now it was time for desserts! My favourite! We had 2 serves of green tea icecream ($6). That’s what one serve looks like! It’s easily about 3 scoops…for $6. They are extremely generous! It was deliciously creamy and smooth. I like a very strong matcha taste, so I would’ve liked for it to be more matcha, but I’m sure most people would be happy with it.
After seeing WenY and Kristy’s reviews, I knew I was going to order the Red Misu ($8). This was really nice! I thought it would have a stronger adzuki taste throughout it, but the coffee was still quite strong and overpowered the adzuki unless you ate chunks of the beans. I’m not sure if the adzuki beans are made in-house but they were a bit sweet for me. Nevertheless, it was extremely enjoyable and a nice cream:sponge ratio. I also love their spoons and want one!
I’m not sure why, but GC’s first choice was actually the pave chocolate ($8), and an extra ice-cream was ordered only after SC said she wasn’t going to share (yeahhh, she’s like that =.=’). Anyway, I thought the chocolate would be like Japanese nama chocolate but it definitely wasn’t as smooth and rich like that. It was actually too sweet for me and a bit grainy as well, which made me think if they were sugar crystals? It’s not something I would order again, especially with the red misu, and GC and I preferred the nama chocolates that I make at home.
And so that ends our feast at The Gaya! It was a shame I didn’t get to chat with Leo a bit further about his vision, and it was quite crowded when I was speaking to him as we left so it was a bit hard to hear.
As part of the invite, I was given 50% of the total bill, which was very good value for a family of 8! I would definitely go back for the braised beef short ribs and the red misu. Give me those and I’ll be in a happy food coma afterwards haha.
Thanks for the invite, Leo! We thoroughly enjoyed our meals!
Thanks for reading! ^^