Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sinabro, Northbridge

Sinabro Korean Restaurant Northbridge reviews
Winter nights are the perfect time to have spicy and hot food.  In Perth, alongside a good warming Korean barbecue, the Koreans are known for their warm-you-from-the-inside spicy and hot food.  Just be prepared for the chilli!

Sinabro on Francis Street in Northbridge (closer to Russell Square) is a Korean restaurant I got recommended by a Korean expat to try a year ago and did.  When I went the first time (last year), the first thing I noticed was there were definitely Korean customers - a good sign.

Sinabro consists of two separate dining experiences - there is the indoor restaurant at the front which I understand serves buffet, and an outdoor area out the back (go through the driveway) which serves a la carte.  I haven't yet tried the buffet but have had the a la carte a couple of times.

The menu at Sinabro has a good selection of Korean food - the chilli dishes through to non-spicy dishes in precooked, cook at your table and barbecue at your table form.  Most dishes have meat or seafood in them but there's the odd vegetarian dish.

Kimchi jungol - $35

A soup based dish that suits winter nights is this Kimchi jungol.  The soup, which is meant to serve 2-3 people (I would suggest three unless you are very hungry or don’t order anything else), was hot in two ways – being served on a portable gas stove, and having kimchi and gochuchang (a chilli based paste) that you mix into it.  For those of you wondering how spicy the dish was, it was quite spicy though if you didn’t add all the gochuchang it wasn’t impossible to eat if you are used to some chilli.  However, chilli novices might do best to avoid this (or ensure they have lots of water on hand).

Mixed into the soup was a range of ingredients including clear vermicelli noodles, dumplings, pork belly slices, tofu, onion, Chinese cabbage, mushrooms, and of course kimchi.  Of the ingredients, I enjoyed the dumplings with their outer pastry filled with a well marinated pork based stuffing.  Despite the layers of fat, the pork belly slices added even more (very welcome) meat to the dish but I felt the dish could have had more meat in it.

The rest of the ingredients blended together to form a relatively chilli hot dish with lots of clear vermicelli noodles and Chinese cabbage.  Just be careful of red staining splatter and be prepared to smell a little like kimchi when you get caught in the wafts of cooking smoke.

Overall, this dish was quite spicy but otherwise a decent feed - though I could have done with more meat and dumplings as opposed to noodles and veggies.

Hot Seafood Soup - $25

The hot seafood soup came in a pot meant for sharing.  In the soup were king prawns, calamari, mussels, onion and egg.

The soup was of a watery consistency and filled with seafood flavours and spices such as chilli.  The soup was quite spicy, just bearable for my tastebuds - though I find that with that level of chilli I struggle with noticing a lot of the other flavours.  Definitely not for the non-adventurous.

The prawns were de-shelled and through the cooking process seemed well overcooked, but it also helped it absorb some of the soup flavour.  The calamari was very soft and not at all chewy, whilst the egg was mixed in and cooked to form small clumps soup flavour.  All components, being cooked in the strong spicy soup, had the distinct soup flavour.

Not a bad dish, but not quite as exciting as the kimchi jungol.

Seafood pancake jeon - $13

Pancakes for many of us are sweet and often consumed at breakfast.  Turning that upside down, you get this seafood pancake dish that consisted of a single savoury pancake – not something I would ordinary think of eating for breakfast.

The pancake's dough had a light flavour through it (perhaps it was made with a stock similar to okonomiyaki – a savoury Japanese pancake dish), but still had a doughy taste and a heavier but slightly aerated doughy texture.  As “filling”, the pancake was cooked with octopus and vegetables such as zucchini and spring onion.  All up, this pancake was a meal in itself.

A sauce would have been nice.

Kimchi Bosam - $25/$35 (small/large)

To me, this dish looked pretty interesting and I couldn’t wait to try it.  This dish came as separate ingredients that you were to assemble yourself.  The ingredients were a cooked pork belly, kimchi, garlic, chilli, and a couple of sauces.

The pork belly was the best part of this dish - it had its skin removed though, but was cooked with a mild seasoning, and was soft and moist.  The kimchi was long pieces of kimchi cabbage that you were meant to take and eat with the pork in a single mouthful.  Garlic, chilli, and sauces were provided as condiments to the dish, however the sauce really just added much of the sale flavours already present (i.e. the chilli flavours of the kimchi).

I enjoyed this dish despite the obvious question mark over how healthy it isn't.


Common with many Korean restaurants that I have been to, Sinabro provides some side dishes that come "free" with every meal.  Sinabro serves kimchi, along with a salad and a rice vermicelli dish.

The kimchi was quite normal in that it had kimchi cabbage marinated in the chilli based sauce.

The vermicelli dish was lightly oiled, and had small bits of spring onion, garlic, and carrot throughout.  The vermicelli was comparatively mild, cooked till it was soft but not fragile, and had a distinct garlic aftertaste.

The salad consisted of apple, onion, chilli, red capsicum, cucumber and cabbage seasoned with a light and slightly sweet vinegar.  The salad was quite refreshing (especially with the apple and vinegar) but the chilli and raw onion stood out quite a bit.

Steamed Rice

Steamed rice is served in a stainless steel made bowl - again something that I've seen in other Korean restaurants.  The rice was cooked so that it was quite soft but still reasonably firm.

In summary, Sinabro is a Korean restaurant that given its Korean patrons makes me think it's quite authentic.  The flavours are strong, and chilli is very apparent in its menu.

We liked:  Some of the dishes were full of flavour; the authenticity; menu had a decent range of dishes available.

We didn't like: The set-up is quite basic with one of the toilets being in a near state of disrepair when I went; the smells from the barbecuing but the outdoor area has good ventilation (and sometimes cigarette smoke).

Other things to note: Many dishes are spicy - so be warned and be prepared to ask if you are not sure whether you can stomach a dish.  The restaurant is licensed and has shoju, and has an indoor area up front (a buffet - book ahead) as well as an outdoor area out back which is a la carte.

100 Francis Street
(08) 9227 1222

Trading Hours
Tuesday to Sunday – 6pm to 10pm

Sinabro on Urbanspoon


Tricia Miller said...

I used to love Korean food until I got fed up with all the spicy food after living with Koreans for 6 months. It was a fun experience though but after that, I tried avoiding spicy food as much as possible. But I must admit I miss the side dishes! Koreans just have the best side dishes in the world. My all time favorite will always be samgyeopsal paired with lettuce! It's like heaven in my mouth and ofcourse the classic black noodle :)

Oh and with Koreans eating in that same restaurant, yes it is indeed a good sign! Hope you had a great time in there!

Adrian (The Editor) said...

Hi Tricia

Thanks, I did enjoy Sinabro despite the spiciness as I found the food tasty and most of the dishes were very flavoursome.

I don't mind spicy food every now and then but in moderation so the thought of eating spicy every day would be enough to make me fed up with it too.

I like Korean food (I mainly don't like wearing the smells when doing the BBQs and steam boat style) but it sounds like I have things yet to try!