I have a monthly play date day with my sister. We live in the same house but we don’t actually get to spend much time together, so we started this play date thing about two months ago. We go out for brunch or lunch and chat for 2-3 hours without any distractions. (Though on this occasion, I was quite distracted as I was busy taking multiple photos of food as it was arriving. *guilty*…Perhaps we should go to a non-Korean restaurant next time to spend real quality time together. )
A few weeks ago on our play date day, we decided to go to a Korean restaurant in the heart of Brisbane CBD. I didn’t have any particular food that I craved for as I’ve been cooking and eating Korean food for most of the meals since I came back to my blogging again, but my sister said she wanted to eat Sundubu Jjigae (Uncurdled Tofu Stew). While each restaurant might sell the same food, they all have different strengths in different food. According to my sister (who often visits various Korean restaurants here), soup & stew is best at Maru. So off we went. While Maru’s been around for a couple of years, this was my first visit. It was just after half past one, so it wasn’t as busy as it could be, but still tables were reasonably filled up.
As soon as we sat down a waiter brought us a menu. My sister ordered Sundubu Jjigae (Uncurdled Tofu Stew 순두부찌개) as she planned but I still couldn’t decide what to order. My sister then added that another of Maru’s specialties is “house made pork cutlet (Tonkatsu)”. Also it was a few days after the black day (14th April) and I missed having my Korean black bean noodles then. So I was determined to have something black as well. So here, I ordered Dolsot Jjajang Tonkatsu (Pork cutlet on rice in a hot stone pot with black bean sauce, 돌솥 짜장 돈까스). I know quite a long description, right? (Unfortunately I didn’t get to take a picture of the menu because the waiter took it away while I was visiting the ladies room). Anyway, the lunch menu is fairly reasonably priced – mostly just under AUD $10. (Also tips are not compulsory in Australia and people rarely tip here.)
The food arrived fairly quickly. We waited less than 10 minutes.
(Pouring the Jjajang (black bean) sauce onto my dolsot tonkatsu)
(Sundubu Jjigae: Uncurdled Tofu Stew – served with a separate bowl of rice)
(Humble complementary banchan (side dishes) – pickled onion, Kimchi and spiral pasta in sweetened mayonnaise sauce)
My pork cutlet was quite big. It was very meaty and tenderly cooked. I had to give some to my sister as I couldn’t eat it all. The quality of the pork cutlet was certainly better than I can ever make myself, at least for now. While the rice, pork cutlet and black bean sauce combination created quite an interesting fusion dish, I think it needed some stronger flavour to rule down the slightly bland overall taste of the dish. Yellow radish pickle perhaps? I also tried my sister’s stew and it was nice but I think my version tastes better. Haha… Though I have to admit, it was my first time having uncurdled tofu stew again in 6-7 years, so I really appreciated the flavour. (When I wasn’t blogging, I lived on stir fried dishes with some boring vegetables and soy sauce.)
(Rice and pork cutlet well mixed with black bean sauce)
(Large prawn from the tofu stew)
If you are visiting Brisbane and don’t know what to eat, why not try the affordable lunch menu at Maru?
- Address:157 Elizabeth St, Brisbane QLD 4000
- Phone: (07) 3012 9912
- Opening hours (open 7 days): Lunch till late
- Price: From AUD $9.90~