When Common Ground Kuching at Saradise first opened its doors on the 11th of October 2021, there was hype and buzz behind this new Korean restaurant.
The establishment only accepted reservations back then, and I remember how long the waitlist was, with slots being filled all the way up to December or January.
Although I have been to Common Ground Kuching more than a few times, I decided to revisit the restaurant to check if it was as good as I remembered.
Making a reservation
It was a while since I had been to Common Ground Kuching, so I wasn’t sure whether bookings are still required, because I did hear news of being able to walk in on certain days.
However, I went ahead and made a reservation just to be on the safe side, as I didn’t want to be turned away at the door.
To make a booking at the Common Ground Kuching, you have to message them on WhatsApp using this link.
Once you get in touch with them, you will be presented with a short message describing the details you need to provide for the booking:
- Phone Number
When the booking is confirmed, the reservation is only on hold for 20 minutes and in the case of a no show, the table will be released for the next customer.
Dining at the Common Ground Kuching
The Common Ground Kuching is located in the middle of Saradise, right by Zero O’Clock, Trevi Café, and Saradise Feast.
You’ll find that the restaurant occupies four floors including the rooftop and outside dining areas.
There is a rough yet chic aesthetic: think metallic chairs, concrete benches, chipped edges, and unpainted walls.
If you’re planning to have a large group of people over for a party, you can even book the VIP room which comes with a widescreen television.
What’s nice is that their menu is entirely online, so you can easily decide what you want to eat days beforehand.
However, it is not uncommon for the restaurant to have some dishes and drinks unavailable. These out-of-stock items will be listed to you on the ordering paper so you will know as you decide.
The food and drinks at Common Ground Kuching is certainly on the pricey side as dishes easily range from RM20+ to RM40+ depending on what you order. There’s also a 6% service charge on top of all this too.
But the question is, are these dishes worth the price you pay for them?
Side dishes and drinks: Kimchi and Strawberry Slushy
My cravings for kimchi surfaced so I had to order it. Unlike other Korean restaurants, Common Ground Kuching’s banchan (small side dishes) are not free or refillable.
The kimchi they served was decently sour and spicy and totally satisfied my need for pickled cabbage.
I also ordered one of their slushy barbican drinks, which are giant glasses filled with fruity blended ice and a barbican drink, a brand of non-alcoholic malt drinks.
More specifically, I ordered my favourite strawberry slushy that is made of strawberry blended ice and peach-flavoured barbican.
As you can see, these glasses are so huge, one slushy can easily be shared by two or perhaps even three people, so you can split the high price.
Despite being on the sweet side, I loved the fruitiness of the strawberry slushy as it was the perfect pairing to go with my savoury main dishes.
Main meals: Kimchi Bokkeumbap, Yangnyeom Boneless, and Tteok Mandu-guk
Moving onto my main course, the kimchi bokkeumbap or more known as kimchi fried rice.
Rich and flavourful, the dish was not spicy and more savoury. It comes with some toppings such as seaweed and mayonnaise, so you have to mix it before eating.
The portion size is okay if you were to be dining alone, but those who have bigger appetites would not be full with this serving.
The next dish that arrived was the yangnyeom boneless which came in a small metal bucket.
For the uninitiated, yangnyeom chicken is a sweet and spicy Korean fried chicken seasoned with gochujang, garlic, sugar, and other spices.
The chicken was tender and was just the right amount of sweet and spicy. Again, the portion is on the small side, best enjoyed by one or two people.
The last dish that arrived at my table was the tteok mandu-guk or rice cake soup with dumplings, which was recommended by my friend.
This dish was by far my favourite of everything I ordered, as the soup was hearty and flavourful while the chicken dumplings were huge and filling.
You can enjoy six big pieces of chicken dumpling in this soup, which is the perfect portion for a single person or to share with two people.
I can totally see why this dish is one of my friend’s favourites, and it has possibly become one of mine too.
What online reviews say
After one year of Common Ground Kuching’s opening, the restaurant managed to garner 4.0 stars out of 5 with 193 reviews.
Many reviewers love the food served here, especially the quality of the drinks served. However, common complaints include the high prices and small portions.
There are a few reviews who say the food does not have an authentic Korean taste, but do praise how extensive the menu is.
A lot of people also say that the staff are very friendly and helpful, and the restaurant itself is a great location for photo taking.
For me, while Common Ground Kuching is a bit overhyped, I would say my experience was good enough to keep me coming back once in a while.