Samgyupsal, undeniably, is among the hottest food trends today. We all love the idea of unlimited Korean food, shabu shabu, and grilled meat combined in one dining experience. However, the popularity of this food craze is often tied with one dilemma: enduring the long lines.
Thankfully, there is a newly-opened Samgyupsal restaurant in Venice Grand Canal Mall that is not yet joining the hyped long queues — All4U Unlimited Grill and Shabu Shabu! All4U has become one of my favorite Korean restaus after trying its branch in Century Mall, Makati.
All4U was the venue for our early team Christmas party last November.
All4U McKinley accepts reservations up to 6 PM only. After that time, customers have to walk-in. Our team dinner was set at 7 PM. Luckily, the place wasn’t filled up before that so we were able to reserve seats quickly even without the formal phone reservation.
We took advantage of this time that the restaurant is not yet as swamped as the other branches. I won’t be surprised if it will be crowded in the next months or so that reservations will no longer be accepted such as the one in Century Mall.
The rate per person is Php 599 and is inclusive of unlimited meat and seafood (shrimps) for grilling, vegetables, Banchan (Korean sides), shabu shabu, rice, bottomless iced tea, and Korean ice cream.
The exciting part about Samgyupsal is grilling the meat yourself. In All4u, they have unlimited shrimps, chicken breast, beef brisket, and pork belly. These sets are served with two sauces, soy sauce and hot sauce (not sure if that was Sriracha) and sesame oil which you can use as marinades for the meat before grilling.
I liked that the shrimps are fresh and are not stale or bilasa. One indication is that the head of the shrimp is not easily detached from the body. The pork, chicken, and beef, are cut thin into thin proportions that makes it easier to cook in a short time. If you are having a hard time to adjust the temperature of the induction cooker, you can ask the servers to assist you. The grill time is about 2 to 3 minutes, or depending on how do you like your meat to be well-done.
As usual, my favorite grilled selections are the shrimps and beef brisket. I didn’t eat much pork, but my teammates went crazy over it. We wrapped the grilled meat in fresh lettuce, dipped it in soy sauce and oil, and ate it with our bare hands. It was such a festive mess!
I was the only one in our team who had the most servings of shrimps — you know I love seafood! I either wrapped it in greens or ate it with rice. I didn’t care if my hands got dirty peeling those shrimps. Yes, I was also among the few people in our team who ordered rice. Sarap sa kanin e!!
You have three options for the shabu shabu broth: Organic soup, Kimchi soup, and Bulgogi soup. The organic soup was a bit bland and the Bulgogi soup was more flavorful. You will also be given a pack of Korean noodles and you have the option to include the chili powder or not. My teammates and I skipped it and just dropped the noodles in Bulgogi broth with vegetables. We also added fish cake in it.
Including the meat in the shabu shabu would also work, but for me I prefer to eat it separately and enjoy solely flavor of the grilled meat.
Be wary of the cooking time, as overcooking the hotpot will make the noodles too soggy.
Banchan is a collective name for small side dishes, a popular item in the Korean cuisine. All4U has a few varieties of sides, such as lettuce, kimchi, Dilis (anchovies), fish cakes, and picked radish. I have to commend the size and freshness of the lettuce, which seemed to be handpicked carefully. Other Korean restaurants would just serve any type of lettuce even if it is not that fresh or too small in size.
While waiting for the meat to be cooked, you can start off munching these Korean sides. Among these, I liked the fish cakes. You can eat it on its own or like I said earlier, include it in the noodles.
I’d have to say that the waiters are attentive, always smiling, and courteous. In a typical restaurant setting where the place is filled up with customers, it is common to see frowning servers. But here in All4U McKinley, they are all wearing smiles on their faces. It is understandable that the service is a bit delayed due to different customer demands, but if you make a gentle follow-up, they’d be quick to attend to your needs. When we requested the replacement of a melted ice cream, they immediately exchanged it for a frozen one.
My teammates and I had an enjoyable time at All4U. It was messy yes, but fun! The grilling experience, mix-matching the sauces, and bingeing on unlimited side dishes and grilled Samgyupsal became an instant team bonding activity.
For the price of Php 599, I should say it is definitely worth it.
All4U Unlimited Grill and Shabu Shabu
Second Floor, Venice Grand Canal Mall, McKinley Hill, Taguig City
Opening hours: 11 am to 11 PM daily
Facebook: All4U Unlimited Grill and Shabu Shabu