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“Loss of time and average food”
Review of The SOJU

The SOJU
Ranked #134 of 667 Restaurants in Reading
Price range: US$20 - US$33
Description: The SOJU Korean on the table B.B.Q offers authentic Korean B.B.Q taste and experience in Reading Town Centre along with various Korean beverage including Soju (Korean distilled alcohol drink) and Hite (Korean Beer). We offer both dine-in and takeaway for collection only.
Restaurant details
Description: The SOJU Korean on the table B.B.Q offers authentic Korean B.B.Q taste and experience in Reading Town Centre along with various Korean beverage including Soju (Korean distilled alcohol drink) and Hite (Korean Beer). We offer both dine-in and takeaway for collection only.
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

If you have TONS of time to lose in exchange for very average food - you are welcome.
I ordered one starter and Korean BBQ. You know, one that you cook yourself.
It took them 40 minutes to cut 3 thin slices of raw meat and deliver them to the table.
And never mind the starter, it’s not that it should come first, is it ? :)
And no deserts. At all. Absolutely.
I will never go there again, in the same building you can find exponentially better restaurants.

1  Thank Alexander N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1 - 5 of 61 reviews

Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Impromptu Friday night supper with our two (adult) boys and very pleasantly surprised. Appetisers were great sharing dishes - especially the prawns. Fun cooking main course on grill. Recommend marinated beef.

Thank Fuss1er
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2018

This new addition to Reading's most baffling of shopping centres, King's Walk, replaces the Lebanese restaruant and wine bar La Courbe, which I sadly never even got round to sampling before it shut down. Nearly every establishment that sets up shop in this cursed glass corridor seems to go out of business in fairly short order. Art of Siam, a very nice Thai place, Dolce Vita, the best Italian restaruant I've visited in Reading (the caveat to that is that I haven't been to Pepe Sale yet), and the aforementioned La Courbe have all been casualties, as was Master Naan, which is notable for providing me with one of the two or three most spicy dishes I've ever experience (their signature Master Naan itself). The high-end lingerie shop has scarpered as have, if memory serves me, a protein supplement place and a high-end audio establishmen. Even Burger King has been run out of town. I believe that The SOJU and Pho (a Vietnamese noodle soup establishment in the old BK unit) are all that's there now. I can't understand how the whole enterprise is profitable.

First impressions are that they could have done a little more with the decor. I don't mind boring and functional for a restaurant (the incredible Himalaya Momo House in Caversham Park is basically a plain white room) but this was just a little oddly oppressive. The long glass side facing King's Walk itself lets in a lot of light, which the room somehow seemed to eat. It looks almost a little bit like a club inside, where the main design aim of the decor is to camoflauge snakebite spillage. The drinks menu was oddly hard to read, with words going off at all sorts of odd angles and a lot of pictures of bottles that don't really need to be there. It was still clearly my fault that I ordered some sort of port-like drink made of berries when I thought I was getting a big refreshing long drink but I do think it wouldn't have happened had the menu been more sensible. The food menu was much more pleasingly laid out, with a few clear sections depending on what you fancy. There's nothing like the vareity that you get at Gooi Nara, the other Korean BBQ restaurant Reading boasts, but there's still the option to get a stir-fry with rice, a stew, a sharing hot-pot, or a bibimbap (in which your food cooks as you eat it in a hot stone bowl) if you don't fancy the main attraction of the in-table BBQ. It's the kind of menu I quite like: There's a good variety of major types of cuisine that are clearly separated and explained, with a small selection of dishes available in each category. It makes ordering a sort of two-stage process: First you decide what kind of meal you're up for, then you are directed to a few key examples of whatever you've selected. My one gripe would be that there should be more information on portion sizes. Korean BBQ is all about sharing (you grill the meat yourselves at the in-table BBQ and the general pattern is to get a bunch of stuff and sample it all), and to that end there are a few sharing options, but with no information about how far these might go. We had to specifically ask the staff for a reccomendation as to how much we should get to go between five people. That brings me on to my final gripe, which is that the service was pretty poor. Flagging down a member of staff to ask for some more drinks was really quite a task, and more than once they then just walked off after being given one request, while we plantively called after them to order more. That said, they were pretty good about the fact that we waited some time before ordering because one of us was quite heavily late.

But when the food arrived, everything started to change. Dak-Gang-Jeong, a spicy battered chicken starter, was absolutely superb. I've sampled something similar before, at Satay Bar, my favourite London restaurant (Coldharbour Lane, Brixton), and this was of a similar superb quality. Just the right balance of sticky and crispy, and just the right spiciness. Tang-Soo-Yook, a battered pork dish, was nearly as good, with a superb dipping sauce. I shared these starters with two others, and did not sample a noodle soup (I really don't like noodle soup) that was also ordered to complete our starter set, but was assured that it was both tasty and superior to the offerings available across the way at Pho. I'll leave judgement on that to those who like wrestling slippery noodles out of a bowl of hot spicy thin broth, flicking boiling hot and stain-happy globules of the stuff all over themselves and their surroundings.

Everything really ticked into turbo mode when the mains turned up, however. We went for Gogi Modum (assorted spicy meats) and So Gogi Modum (assorted not spicy meats) with some Ya-Chae Beo-Sot Modum (assorted vegetables) on the side, and, my goodness, was it something. The Mae-En Bul-Gogi (spicy pork) was utterly exquisite, the Pyeon Gal-Bi (boneless short beef rib, present in both meat assortments) was deliciously tender and juicy, and the Bul-Gogi (sliced beef) was amongst the best I've ever tried. The remaining items in the meat platters were not quite at that level but still fantastic. The vegetables were a little bit more of a mixed bag. Shitake mushrooms were as excellent as I'd expected, and the onions and asparagus were also very popular. Big slices of raw potato and sweet potato were a little baffling, as they took so much longer to cook than everything else but turned up last, meaning there was a period at the end where they were all we had left but we were still cooking them. They were decent but not really worth the wait, and seemed a bit like padding. In future I'd skip the vegetable plate and just get an extra helping of Pyeon Gal-Bi at the same price.

So the central attraction of SOJU, the BBQ meat, is utterly, utterly fantastic. I haven't sampled much of the rest of their menu but if the starters were anything to go by then a superb meal could also be had without using the BBQ at all. However, some vegetable side dish misfires, a baffling drinks menu, a lack of clarity on portion sizes for the BBQ sharers, confusingly disinterested service, and a slightly drab location conspire to rob it of that pivotal fifth star. But all of those are easily fixable. SOJU could easily be one of the top few restaurants in Reading; their central thrust is up there with the best. I hope they sort out the side issues before they become yet another casualty of King's Walk.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Benjamin T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 June 2018 via mobile

Lovely food in a different style of restaurant but why oh why must you have Halal meat? Seems there are few places you can go to avoid it. At least you mark it clearly on the menu though.

Thank Ian J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 June 2018 via mobile

We love Korean Bbq and this restaurant does not disappoint! Food is delicious, serving sizes are great and a fun atmosphere. Really good value, we'll be back.

Thank SarabUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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