Suggesting a bout of karaoke to a gathering of mates is a way to slice a group down the middle. Like smelly cheeses and stray dogs, half (perhaps the snobbier) of your mates will turn their noses up in the disgust. The other half? They’ll umm-and-aaah and murmur excuses, but all the while be rifling their mental karaoke songbook, ready to let out their inner diva.
One of the many pluses of living in a cosmopolitan city like Dubai is that there’s ample opportunity to explore this guilty pleasure. We’ve long been fans of getting all X-Factor over at Harry Ghatto’s in Jumeirah Emirates Towers, but we’ve recently heard rumours of something more authentic at TECOM’s off-the-radar Kung Korean Restaurant & Karaoke. Predictably, the decision to venture to this altar of embarrassment, irony and shame quickly divided our group of seven (you know who you are), but luckily we were crashing a far bigger party already there.
Stepping out of the elevator onto the Byblos’s mezzanine floor, we were met with a crowd of Koreans leaving the restaurant: a good early sign of authenticity. We entered a very pleasant, brightly lit and well-decorated room, with low tables at which to kneel and a smattering of Asian families nibbling their Friday dinner. Tasteful and serene, but hand us the mic, please.
The mood is very different inside the eight private karaoke rooms. Long, thin and overpoweringly dark, the rooms are well-equipped with huge screens, decent mics and – most importantly – a huge tome listing the hundreds of musical delights that can be dialled up at the drop of a hat.
When the music cranked up and the party got going, the room quickly became overwhelmingly noisy and sickeningly smoky. But as the night wore on, it became increasingly cheery. A dozen ‘singers’ wrestled for the mic, while revellers started to clamber on the table for a dance – tucked behind a door in a family restaurant, you can’t help but feel a bit naughty.
With a drink in one hand and a mic in the other, you could sure have fun belting out classics here. But, like a plate of smelly cheese, you need to like that kind of thing in the first place.
Kung Korean Restaurant & Karaoke