Outdark SS15: Summoning all melted-cheesy lovers that willing to spend
July 30, 2017
Today, I'm going to introduce one of the most sinful yet irresistible temptation, one that could boost up your calorie and fats intake but also spice up your life, as long as you are a cheesy lover.
Up and running few months back, I can see that Outdark attracted lots of diners due to two things: their good name across the globe and the mysterious outer appearance. I was attracted by the mysterious outer appearance before they even started, and I believe many people is the same as me.
Student's Night Time Business to Successor
In 2010, a student name Robin Kim started his food business at Busan. The lone ranger get himself involve in almost every single business operation, fighting hard for his night time business while being a student at day time. In 5 years time, Outdark has more than 35 outlets across Korea and overseas by now.
The very first Outdark Malaysia in SS15 attracted lots of hipsters as expected, after all I say they get themselves a nice location to kick off their business. I can see that the strategy works very well when I see all of the tables consist of youths around my age.
While the appearance may look kinda mysterious, the name "Outdark" give me a good feeling that diners will dine in the dark, and that remind me of a restaurant I heard long ago where the food place dim the light so that diners have less attractions on surrounding and able to focus on their foods, thus the foods got tastier.
The inside of Outdark has dim lights, every table has one or few hanging yellow light bulbs as the main source of light. The place is not as dark as I imagine, at least it's clear to see the surrounding and able to see the walking path clearly.
This is one of the special strategy to allow diners to dine in a relaxing atmosphere when the main focus is the food, and then their friends and family.
Great Korean Grilled-Beer in the Dark
What's one of the things that you should try at Korea's street? It's eating Korean's grilled and fried food for a wonderful night time experience.
I'm not much of a beer person, but I can see lots of people favor good foods when comes to drinking beer to make their night meaningful. If you favor Korean's alcoholic drinks, for sure you can expect the serving of Korean's rice wine, Soju.
If you are not really interested in the conventional Soju, you may want to try Makgeoli, a sweeter rice wine which is usually favor by girls who don't really like the heavy taste of wine.
The first thing that caught my attention was the special drinks, Subak Soju, which is basically watermelon cocktail using watermelon and Soju. But the price is a little too over for me.... And it's actually quite easy to prepare at home. You only need watermelon, Soju, ice cubes and sprite.
Other than Soju, Makgeoli, and Subak Soju, you can also go for the usual bottled beer.
Non-alcoholic drinkers doesn't have too much of choices other than teas, smoothies and canned drinks. In overall, drinks variety is a little lacking, as the main thing that Outdark focus is the food.
While Outdark does not focus too much on offering many varieties of special alcoholic beverages, Outdark provide good range of nice foods but the main food for Outdark is cheese, topokki and sauce.
These combinations create the most unique food for Outdark. I have no idea what is the authentic name is this dish being called in Korean, let's just call it: grilling hot plate.
Almost all of the hot plate dishes have cheese, topokki and sauces, so you can't run away from them. The good thing about serving in a hot plate is to preserve the heat in the plate so that the food won't get cold too soon.
This is one of the specialty in this type of food culture where people can enjoy foods being hot when they can slowly enjoy their beer and have a relaxing, no-rush conversation.
Other than the hot plate with cheese, topokki & sauce, and fried chicken, you can also get some usual food like bibimbap.
I like the design of their menu. It started with their story and background, although it's not something that everyone would want to start with. The font type and size, how they arrange the layout frame for the picture and content, the overall look-and-feel of the menu is what fits a modernized menu. Even the quality of the paper is nice to touch.
The foods and beverages is just a few pages away, and they have good explanation about the origin and the content for most of the foods. Good for people who are new to Korean food, and good for us who are not new to korean foods but didn't know too much about them.
Other than the details, the design of the menu is quite modernized and neat. It's like you're holding a brand new magazine.
And the Cheesy Journey begins.....
Approaching Outdark from across the street give us some type of surprising feeling. Outdark located at the very corner of the shop lots, next to Taylor business school, but there isn't much people around at Sunday's evening.
The outside of Outdark have someone standing, obviously working for Outdark, greet us politely. After checking the menu, we decided to give it try. Afterwards, the waiter communicate to the insider's staff through a walkie talkie, which surprise me.
Once we stepped inside, another thing that surprise me is the amount of diners. They are almost full house, which is unable to be seen from the outside.
As far as I notice, there is a call button at every table. But pressing the call button for food ordering doesn't work for us, no one attend to us after some waiting time. We ended up call for waitress who happen to pass by.
The first time that comes to our table is the K-tea, which I pressume it's short for korean tea. Taste like any good genmaicha out there. Mild sweetness with nice aroma. Water is refillable. Ordering a hot tea is a good choice for what's coming up later.
At first glance, I thought that this is some type of mojito.
As a person who like the heavy sour with slight sweetness lemonade very much, this is not a lemonade that I favor.
The lemonade contain of some salt on top of the ice, mint leaves, lemon slices, and..... some blue syrup thing.
Tasting the lemonade at first sip is tasteless. The taste comes when the ice starts to melt and some stirring.
What I don't like about it, it's a lemonade full of sweetness but no sourness.
It may be a good drinks with good portion to pair with the cheesy food later. Just not my cup of lemonade.
Here comes our main character: the signature Cheese Kingdom. I was expecting a mixture of many variety of cheese, but actually it's just mix of cheddar and mozzarella cheese.
Let's take some moment to remember that this is a RM79 dish for two.
When the food is served, the waitress will turn on the heat and cook the cheese for 5 mins before serving. So what you can do when you have a growling stomach is to take some side dishes on the bowl and watch the cheese get cheesy.
When the cheesy ritual is almost complete melting, you can call for the waiter/waitress to turn down the heat a little, and stir up the cheese with the chicken and toppoki.
Pressing the call button doesn't work again. But we didn't wait for too long before getting a waitress attention. The waitress will wrap the chicken with thick layer of cheese and serve at your plate.
Or, I think you can just do it yourself without waiting for the waiter/waitress because it's easy.
Here is the mess after stirring up the cheese with other stuff on the plate.
Awesome Melted-Cheesy + Korean's Fried Chicken
As you may have guessed, the cheesy is the protagonist of Outdark. That great amount of melted cheese (Reminder: RM79) is definitely heaven for cheesy lovers. There aren't many places out there that give you this great amount of sinful cheesy savory on the tongue.
Pair with the soft, tender, juicy, big tasty fried chicken leg meat, biting with thick layers of cheese definitely melt the heart of cheesy lovers, and even convert some of the cheesy atheist to full time cheesy lovers (I believe).
But....... just feel like something is missing about the cheese. I would prefer if the cheese is more wet & melty rather than being thick and chewy.
Flavorful Seaweed Rice
The seaweed rice is quite nice to eat with the cheesy chicken, although both may be better eaten separately. The thing I like about the seaweed rice is the flavor and...... i think that's it. Nothing too special other than that.
Other side dishes?
Perhaps it's just me, but I find that the side dishes should not really be there, or at least not at the same hot plate.
I'm not a big fan of kimchi, but this is the first time I eat a hot kimchi. Feels weird, can't determine if it's nice.
Pineapple slices taste good at first, but not when they stay at the hot plate for too long. They got dry and losing the sweetness. So finish them up soon instead of leaving them for last.
The one that I think it's okay to stay at the hot plate is the smashed potato with sweet corn. Taste good especially after it got warmed up. Nothing too great about the texture of the smashed potato, but it's a good appetizer and side dish.
Upon finishing this Cheese Kingdom, I learn that this is a dish for at least two big eaters, or at least three pax. There is no room for other foods if you are in a group of two.
Very Warm Reminder...
So, something to remember when you are eating this dish:
1. Stir the cheesy-cheese time to time because leaving the heat on for too long will burn the bottom part of the cheese. Same for the rice and other side dishes, but the cheese is more fragile and easier to get burned
2. Pick up the side dishes and put it aside or let them stay comfortably at your plate before they got overcooked, unless you favor dry pineapple slices and hot kimchi.
3. Don't make the same mistake like me: Happily wrap every single chicken meat with thick layer of cheese and got defeated before we manage to finish 60% of this dish.
When the stuffiness is too much, there's no way to tell if you are full or not. That's what we can feel at the end of the meal and throughout the night.
In summary, side dishes are okay, seaweed rice is good, k-tea is nice, lemonade is too sweet, the main protagonist, cheesy-cheese with his friend Mr. Chicken, is great pair and hope that cheesy-cheese could be more melty and less thick-face so that they would get along better.
Have a toast for the great pair of cheesy-cheese and Mr Chicken (Reminder: RM79). Both are great by themself, pairing up really give another new savory experience. Despite the lacking of taste and specialty in the side dishes and beverages, the excellency is worthy for the main dish itself.
It's the cheese that create the stuffiness that got me defeated. well done. Good to remind me that there are foods that I can't finish as well.
That aside, I would say Cheese Kingdom should be appropriate for at least two big eaters. Otherwise if you come in a group of 4+, it may be good to order one Cheese Kingdom for sharing and order other dishes for sharing.
Despite cheesy-cheese and Mr. Chicken made an excellent pair, I find it hard to accept the price of RM79. I can assume that the cheese + chicken worth the most on this dish.
If we assume the cost of the cheese + chicken + toppoki is around RM40-50 for two, we can get a some nice meals with drinks for that price at other food places.
The k-tea for RM5 is quite nice, but over-sweetened lemonade for RM13 is not really my liking.
Other than the Cheese Kingdom, I notice that most of the foods are quite pricey too. Quite hard for me to consider trying other foods.
From the moment we step into the food place, we got a warm and lively welcome. There are plenty of waiters/waitress around, but we are sitting at the corner, inside a room, not that easy to attract their attention. We used the call button several times, but seems like not working at all.
Serving wise is quite okay, everything is served within 10 minutes. Most of the waiter/waitress is quite friendly, come with a smile and serving fast.
The dark theme is the main thing that make them unique and outstanding. Not just the "dark" element that do all the work, the decoration and the arrangement of table/chairs are well done, except that the chair a little too heavy and too hard. Kinda suitable for nightlife people.
I'm impressed that the air ventilation is good too. Nothing like too full of burning/grilling smell around the place.
...... Nope. The foods was great, but the price in overall is too much. I can only consider this as once-in-a-long-while luxurious spending.