Danjee is a newly opened Korean restaurant that is hidden away in an alleyway across from Town Hall station, situated just behind Albion Hotel. I was in the mood for Korean cuisine and my friend suggested that we go to Danjee one evening. I was led down a narrow lane way and into Danjee restaurant.
Entrance of Danjee from Albion Place
Chic decor at the entrance of Danjee
On this occasion I was pleasantly surprised by the simple, chic ambience and polite demeanour of the staff. I hadn't expected for the ambience of the restaurant to look as nice as it did, as I've been to several Korean restaurants in the CBD which were more sparsely decorated, and with ageing décor. The restaurant was split up into two sections, and we were shown to the split off section of the restaurant that was further away from the entrance.
Danjee's daily seafood menu
As Danjee was only opened around the end of January, the restaurant was fairly quiet that evening, with lots of members of staff on despite the small numbers of customers, however this wasn't a bad thing. We never had any trouble getting a waiter as there were always some members of staff standing near our table attentively.
Appetiser of Saeng Seon Hwae
We shared an entree of Saeng Seon Hwae ($8) consisting of slices of raw salmon, kingfish and snapper. It was served with a wedge of lemon and a few pieces of ginger on the side. The sashimi slices were cool and fresh, and were cut more thickly than sashimi served at most other restaurants I've been to.
Assortment of banchan on offer
One of the best things about dining at Korean restaurants, are the complimentary side dishes that accompany your meal. They usually differ according to each restaurant, but I was pleased that Danjee's offering of side dishes, known as 'banchan' in Korean, looked very appetising indeed. Included was some mashed sweet potato, chilli kimchi, steamed broccoli, Chinese greens and a white leek jelly. I think the offering of the complimentary side dishes is a good way to fill out, and it always feels like such great value. The staff also offer refills of the side dishes, which is quite generous.
Dwe Ji Gal Bi - soy marinated pork ribs
The two main courses we'd ordered arrived fairly quickly after we had finished our entree. The Dwe Ji Gal Bi ($22) was a dish of soy marinated pork ribs that were served on a sizzling hot plate. The pork ribs had been marinated to perfection, making the meat extremely flavoursome. They had been cooked just at the right amount, and the meat was soft and succulent.
Bul dak-literally "fire chicken"
The Bul Dak ($35) was intriguingly described as 'literally fire chicken' on Danjee's menu. Being a chilli addict, I naturally wanted to order this. Lovers of chilli should however be aware that Korean chilli dishes taste somewhat different from chilli dishes that come from other Asian regions though. Spicy Korean dishes are generally flavoured with 'chu go chu jang', which is the Korean name for chilli pepper paste. The Bul Dak was heavily seasoned with chu go chu jang and melted mozzarella cheese and included additional rice cakes (ddukbokki). The Bul Dak is probably too spicy for people who can't handle chilli well, but for those who can, it's an exciting dish that is bursting with flavour. The melted cheese adds creaminess to the dish, and takes away a little spiciness from the chicken. The pieces of chicken included thigh pieces only, so we didn't have to eat awkwardly around bones. The chicken was tender and well cooked, and the rice cakes were firm and had a nice texture. Overall I really enjoyed the Bul Dak, and thought that this version was probably the best I'd had in any Korean restaurant in Sydney.
This occasion was one of the rare events in which my expectations were exceeded; I'd expected a standard dinner but was surprised by what I'd found. The ambience, service and quality of the food had all exceeded my expectations on this evening, and I was glad for it.
Korean traditional ceramic pots at Danjee - also named Danjee which the restaurant is named for. These ceramic pots are used to store foods in the fermenting process.
It was my dining partner's second trip to Danjee since it opened, and she also enjoyed the restaurant a lot too. There were some Korean clay pots used as decorations around the restaurant, which my friend said were quite traditional.
Many ceramic pots decorate the ambience at Danjee
Although the prices were roughly the same as an average Korean restaurant in the city, I thought that Danjee was more elegant, and the service much better than any other Korean restaurant I've been to. I also really liked that the menu had Korean names for their dishes, with explanations of the dish written below in English. It's a good way to increase the restaurant's appeal to both Korean natives and westerners.
Where: 1-7 Albion Place Sydney NSW
Why: Traditional Korean cuisine in an elegant environment.
Cost: Medium range - mains start from $18
When: Lunch and dinner seven days a week