Located on an upper floor of Lee Theatre, Sorabol’s Causeway Bay location is centrally-located address when the craving for Korean strikes. The interiors are standard as per their two other locations in Tsim Sha Tsui and at Hong Kong International Airport – wooden furnishings are laid out in a large open-plan dining area with booths to one side. Definitely request a table close to the window to take in the sweeping views of Causeway Bay.
The menu has a rundown of all the mainstay favourites, including an assortment of marinated meats and fresh seafood for barbecuing at the table, hot pot and a variety of starchy rices, dukboki and noodle dishes. Their banchan is a treat and we’re told that they change the selection regularly, though we hope the fish cake and the kimchi pancake remain a permanent fixture. Our barbecue dishes arrive first and are prepared at the table without us having to lift a finger. The wang galbi – king-size marinated top grade short ribs – is grilled to a perfect medium and cut into bitesized pieces for us. Unlike other restaurants, a basket of lettuce is ordered a la carte at an initially surprising pricetag of $80. When the order arrives, though, brimming full of fresh shiso, kale and romaine, we’re happy we got it to complement the salty-sweet charred shortrib. Skip the samgyetang ginseng chicken soup that was quite bland despite the promise of fragrant ginseng, which seemed to get lost in the slimy rice and bean muck at the bottom of the bowl. Other classics, such as the seafood pancake, are presented sizzling hot on the castiron skillet and is delightfully crisp without being overly oily. The hodduk “Korean doughnut” dessert – a pan-fried rice flour pancake with a rich red bean filling – was on the greasier side, but nonetheless satisfied our sweet tooth.
There’s a limited selection of wines on offer, but it’s best to stick with Korean beers, soju and maeju – the latter is a sweet plum wine said to counterbalance barbecued and fried foods.
Sorabol’s service is generally summed up as being courteous and efficient. But dishes can be brought out hastily – oftentimes, several at once – making the meal feel rushed. It’s not difficult to get a server’s attention, but some determined, rigorous waving is needed at peak hours, when the restaurant can seem rather understaffed.
It’s easy to order above and beyond what you want to eat here. But if you don’t go overboard, a meal for two including drinks is about $800, which is a pretty good deal for satiating a Korean cuisine craving.