Lunch @ Guhng

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My high school friends (H, M & N) and I decided to go for Korean BBQ for M’s birthday since it’s her favourite cuisine. I don’t know about the others, but I thought Guhng was the right choice. Unlike other Korean restaurants, Guhng grills top quality meat to medium rare, just the way I like it! Not only did the meat melt in my mouth, but my heart melted along with it. Not to mention the interior design was absolutely stunning with four (yes four!) restaurant levels, each with extravagant and refined decor. The waitresses were efficient and attentive at the start, but this slowly diminished as more patrons rolled in.

LUNCH BANQUET $35pp (also includes complimentary sides/banchan of kimchi, pickled radish & onions, as well as various dipping sauces)

Pan-fried dumplings (4 pieces per person) – filled w/ soybean curd, onion, garlic & ginger
Guhng’s pan-fried dumplings were different to ones I’ve tried in the past because of its soybean curd filling. It was a bit bland but had an enjoyable mushy texture which contrasted the crispiness of the dumpling wrappers.
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Fried crispy pork belly – marinated in soy sauce w/ vegetables (carrot, capsicum, onion)
The pork belly was nicely cooked. ‘Marinade’ was kind of like black bean sauce; a lovely blend of salty and sweet, tying the dish together nicely. If I was to be picky here… and I am, then I must say I was kind of disappointed that the crispiness wasn’t there. The dish was too saucy, making the pork belly skin soggy (everybody loves a crispy skin).
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Scotch fillet (100g per person) – grass-fed marbled beef fillet
At every Korean restaurant I’ve been to, the waiter/waitress has given me a beautiful piece of meat, failed to give it the attention it needs due to their focus on serving other customers, resulting in tough overcooked meat and me leaving with an uneasy heart (I love my meat). But not this restaurant! The scotch fillet was well cooked to medium rare. The meat was juicy, tender and was just perfect on its own. Guhng truly appreciated the meat and let it shone.
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Galbi (100g per person) – traditional Korean (galbi) sauce marinated beef ribs
The beef ribs had a sweet and sticky marinade which enhanced the flavour. Once again, the meat was exquisitely moist and tender. I was so moved by Guhng’s efforts :’)
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EXTRA SEAFOOD HOTPOT (+$29) – w/ fish, king prawns, baby octopus, squid, mussels, abalone, tofu, mushrooms & cabbage.
The waitress came up to our table and literally cut. up. everything. The mussels, abalone, octopus, even the prawn were in tiny little pieces. I would’ve preferred them kept whole because it retains the freshness of the seafood. I don’t usually like water-based food, particularly hotpot but the broth was comforting, with a little hint of spiciness and a great depth of flavour.IMG_3749

EXTRA STEAMED BLACK BEAN RICE (+$2 per bowl, sorry no photo!) – I’ve never tried black rice before, but I’m very glad we ordered it. Black bean rice has a crunchier and chewier texture than white rice, which all of us collectively enjoyed, although it can get a bit dry if you don’t have any liquids to accompany it.

T’s Verdict:
Highlights: top quality meat cooked to medium rare
Lowlights: sitting in close proximity to the huge charcoal grill & a failing ventilation system = our faces feeling terribly hot and smokey
Quality of the food – 8.5/10
Price (based on food quality) – reasonable
Service – 7/10
Atmosphere – sophisticated and refined (ground floor)
Overall experience – 8/10

Interested?
Guhng (Korean)
19 McKillop Street, Melbourne (CBD)
(03) 9041 2192
Lunch: Open Monday to Friday 12PM – 3PM,
Dinner: Open Monday to Thursday & Sunday 6PM – 11PM, Friday & Saturday 6PM – 12AM
http://www.guhngkorean.com/
Guhng on Urbanspoon

 

See ya next week!
From Your Weekly Foodie,
– T

Dinner @ Oriental Spoon

After a couple of disappointing trips to different Korean restaurants only to find out they were completely booked, A.T and I were sure that our luck had run out. That was until our heavy footsteps lead us to Oriental Spoon, and thank goodness for that! The restaurant is huge and has the capacity to feed so many people. This meant that we didn’t leave the restaurant with a strong BBQ smell however, it was quite humid and stuffy in there so I think the ventilation wasn’t the best. Oriental is very modern and fancy, embedded with Korean tradition and culture. The service was great, the guy knew the menu and the other staff were friendly too. There were a lot of workers covering every area of the restaurant so you just know that you won’t be left unattended. Both A.T and I thoroughly enjoyed our food, we practically devoured everything without taking a breath. Loved it! I recommend sharing the main dishes though, because I’d imagine that it would not only be difficult to finish because of its quantity, but it would probably get sickening as well.
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Our complimentary side dishes (bean sprouts, seaweed & kimchi) – quite generous with its portions and very scrumptious! The kimchi was the freshest I’ve tasted from a Korean restaurant but I thought there wasn’t enough cabbage.
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Beef bulgogi ($17.90) – finely sliced beef marinated in Bulgogi sauce, cooked with vegetables and served on a hot sizzling plate.
When I eat at a Korean restaurant I usually go for the beef bulgogi so I’ve tried a few before and Oriental Spoon’s one is probably the best I’ve had!! The plate came out with the sauce sizzling and steam floating out. The beef was so tender and moist, amazing flavours and a great amount of oil 🙂

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8.5/10

Cheese Bul Dak ($21) – skinless chicken fillets, chopped chillies, onions and spring onions cooked in extremely spicy sauce (three chillies indicated on the menu) and served with mozzarella cheese.
This dish was AMAZING! I’m usually not very tolerable with spicy foods and tend to go for the more mild stuff but I couldn’t stop eating this. The cheese helps with the spiciness and especially when eaten with the sides and a lot of rice. The chicken was cooked perfectly, so tender and delicate. The sauce is actually quite flavoursome and it wasn’t as spicy as I thought it’d be, and the cheese just ties the whole dish together. I would go again just for this, I loved it!

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9/10

The aftermath… we annihilated it. Yum!

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T’s Verdict:
Quality of the food – 9/10
Price (based on food quality) – reasonable
Service – 7.5/10
Atmosphere – spacious, a bit fancy but can get hot and stuffy
Overall experience – 8.5/10

Interested?
Oriental Spoon (Korean)
254 La Trobe Street, Melbourne CBD
(03) 9654 9930
Open Monday to Sunday 12.00PM – 3.00PM, 5.30PM – 10.00PM
Minimum EFTPOS $25
No Split Bills
Oriental Spoon on Urbanspoon

From Your Weekly Foodie,
– T

Lunch @ Warra Warra

Warra Warra

Warra Warra is tucked away at the back of Tivoli Arcade and let me tell you it is completed PACKED during lunch time mainly with corporate workers. The restaurant has normal menu options but there are also items displayed at the food bar where you go up to the counter and order, kind of like a high school cafeteria. N and I did not know this and the workers didn’t bother to explain how it all works so we were clueless… as well as a number of other diners. There were people moving and standing about everywhere so everything was just all over the place. A very slow service to add to that… the couple next to us waited even longer than us for their food and the woman was so mad she received apologies from the staff and a refund, leaving without barely touching her food. The staff were cheerful though.

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Our shared meal:
Takoyaki Balls (50c each, total = $3) – SO CHEAP! The batter wasn’t cripsy but that can be excused because it was GREAT value for money. Quite tasty 🙂

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8/10

N’s meal:
Sizzling Stone Pot Bibimbap – assorted vegetables, egg on rice served in a sizzling stone pot with korean chilli or mild sauce.

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My meal:
Fried Chicken Tender ($1.50 a piece) – I think my chicken tender was left out on the food bar for too long because the chicken was dry and it didn’t taste fresh. It was pretty bland and needed some sort of accompanied sauce.

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5/10

Beef Bulgogi Box w/ Rice and Gyoza Salad ($11.50) – stir fried thinly sliced beef in sweet soy sauce.
The rice wasn’t fluffy and soft, it didn’t taste like it was cooked fresh to order. The gyoza on the other hand, was crispy with a yummy filling, while the beef bulgogi was moist with a sticky and sweet sauce.

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7.5/10

T’s Verdict:
Quality of the food – 7/10
Price (based on food quality) – cheap to reasonable (depending on menu item)
Service – 4/10
Atmosphere – disorganised and crowded
Overall experience – 6.5/10

Interested?
Warra Warra (Korean&Japanese)
Shop 19 & 20, 235-251 Bourke Street Melbourne CBD (Tivoli Arcade)
(03) 9662 2077
Open Monday to Friday Lunch: 11.30AM – 3.00PM & Dinner: 5.30PM – 11.00PM, Saturday Dinner Only: 5.00PM – 11.00PM Closed on Sunday
http://www.warrawarrakitchen.com.au

Warra Warra on Urbanspoon

From Your Weekly Foodie,
– T

Lunch @ CJ Lunch Bar

If you’re on a short lunch break, you just wanna go in, sit, eat and leave, you’re scrapped for cash and you’re keen for some Korean then CJ Lunch Bar is the perfect go-to place for you. The restaurant is pretty simple and small; no decor, just tables and chairs so closely placed together that you have to wiggle your butt in between the spaces. However this restaurant constantly has people lining up outside to get in so you have to be careful with what time you want to eat here. There is a lack of service; water is self-served (the only reason why the waitress grabbed it for us is because we asked her to) and customers have to come up to order. The staff there are Korean so it’s difficult to communicate in English, especially if you have a load of questions (like A.T did when we went haha!). I think they only had one guy who knew an adequate amount of English. In saying that, the food is cheap (you can spend as little as $6 for a filling meal), quick and the food is quite nice for its value. I am definitely keen to come back and try their famous cheese & chicken bulgogi! And upon A.T’s request, I would like to emphasise that he really loved it.

Our complimentary side dishes 🙂 I thought the flavour of the kimchi was alright, but it didn’t taste fresh. The bean sprouts were nicely cooked and the tofu was quite tasty considering I don’t usually eat tofu as well. Overall, the sides were delicious and great to eat with our main meals.

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Our shared meal:
Kimchi Pancake ($6 – small) – the pancake was really appetising, a bit spicy with generous fillings. However, I think they may have made the batter a bit too thick because it wasn’t as crispy as it should be. The edges were crispy but the pancake was pretty soft and mushy towards the middle.

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7.5/10

A’s meal:
Chicken Bulgogi Don ($7) – rice with chicken in a mild red sauce and salad… and a slice of orange for dessert haha

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My meal:
Beef Bulgogi Don ($6) – rice with beef in a mild red sauce, salad and an orange slice.
My rice was quite fluffy, the salad was bland (no dressing) but I guess it’s because they give you a lot of sauce on the meat. The beef was nice and tender and the sauce was sticky and spicy; great flavours. It does get boring about half way through… but for the price, I cannot complain. Great value!

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7/10

T’s Verdict:
Quality of the food – 7.5/10 (considering its price)
Price (based on food quality) – very cheap
Service – 4.5/10
Atmosphere – very small, confined space
Overall experience – 7/10

Interested?
CJ Lunch Bar (Korean&Japanese)
2/391 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD
(03) 9602 1155
Open Monday to Friday 10.30AM-10PM, Saturday 11.30AM-10PM
Closed on Sunday
CJ Lunch Bar on Urbanspoon

Hope you enjoy the rest of your week! Until the next,
From Your Weekly Foodie,
– T

Lunch @ Darac Grill and Bar & Dessert @ Patterns Cafe

Darac Grill & Bar

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Darac Grill & Bar has a cosy setting with heaps of cute, retro and vintage decor and ornaments at every corner of the restaurant. I think they should change their tables though because the legs of the table were more in the middle. You had to either sit at the very edge cramped towards the wall, or in the middle of the table (which is hard when there are two people on one side of the table), or you had to sit with the leg of the table in between your own legs… if that made any sense?

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Anyway, the menu was quite interesting. They have your typical Korean dishes such as bibimbap, or you could order the lunch set which is your choice from three steps. You tick which ones you want to eat and bring it up to the front counter. I thought it was quite unique, however it also means that the staff don’t really have to serve their customers. I was also really disappointed at how eager they were at rushing us to leave… As soon as we put down our chopsticks, they took our plates away. We didn’t even get time to sit there and digest a bit because the place was full and there was a group of people waiting for a table. The owner (guy in the photo above) was quite nice though, greeting us with a huge smile on his face as we left.

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H’s meal:
Yaki Noodle, Chicken Teriyaki & Crispy Chicken Tender (Regular – $10.50)

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M’s meal:
Steamed Rice, Spicy Prawn & Crab Meat Salad (Regular – $10.50)

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My meal:
Yaki Noodle, Beef Bulgoki & Takoyaki (Regular $10.50) – the noodles weren’t as weird as I thought it’d be. It was actually quite nice but it was sickening halfway, I think I would’ve preferred steamed rice. The beef was unevenly cooked; some pieces were dry while others were moist and tender. The moist ones tasted really nice. Takoyaki was more batter than anything, and it was very bland. The salad was unevenly dressed and they gave us a little piece of bread which I thought was random… and stale. Overall, an average dish with a few flaws here and there.

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5/10

T’s Verdict:
Quality of the food – 5/10
Price (based on food quality) – overpriced
Service – 4/10
Atmosphere – vintage, cute, cosy
Overall experience – 5/10

Interested?
Darac Grill & Bar (mainly Korean but also serves Japanese)
51 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne CBD
(03) 9662 2441
Open Monday to Friday 11.30AM-3PM & 5.30PM-11PM, Saturday 5.30PM-11PM
Closed on Sunday
Darac Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

Patterns Cafe

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Patterns cafe doesn’t really provide an atmosphere. The staff looked miserable… not even one smile was flashed at any of the customers. It was hard communicating with the worker who served me. I don’t think she knew how to speak English. I tried to ask her what was in a particular dish but she nodded and it just went awkward… huge language/communication barrier.

H’s dessert:
Creme Brulee ($4.50) – I’ve never eaten a creme brulee before so I don’t have anything to compare this dish with. However, I do know that this dessert is meant to be light and creamy. Patterns Cafe’s one was extremely eggy and not very light at all. It had a rather grainy texture… contrasting to what I believe should be smooth and silky. The caramelised crust didn’t have that clear “crack” sound that you’d want in a creme brulee.

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3/10

M’s dessert:
Waffles w/ Vanilla Ice Cream, Mango, Whipped Cream & Mango Sauce ($6.50) – The image on the menu had the waffles as a square block however when it came out on the plate, we only got half of that (the photos are so deceiving!). I thought it was quite tasty… just your average mango pieces, whipped cream and vanilla ice-cream. The waffle was pretty light and fluffy and the mango sauce wasn’t too sweet.

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6/10

My dessert:
Mango & Pomelo Snow Ice ($9.90) – I didn’t really enjoy my dessert… the snow ice at Dessert Story is much better in my opinion. Patterns Cafe’s snow ice did not look anything like the one on their menus. The menu made it look so fluffy and delicate but the one I had was very flakey. It was less creamy, more icy… and I prefer a creamier texture for snow ice desserts.  Everything was just sweetness overload so it got really sickening, I couldn’t even finish half. 

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4/10

To sum it up – I will not be returning.

T’s Verdict:
Quality of the food – 4.5/10
Price (based on food quality) – overpriced
Service – 3/10
Atmosphere – casual
Overall experience – 3.5/10

Interested?
Patterns Cafe (Hong Kong/Taiwanese Dessert & Snack Food)
254 Swanston St, Melbourne CBD
(03) 9650 8868
Open Monday to Thursday 12PM-12AM, Friday 12PM-1AM, Saturday 11AM-1AM, Sunday 11AM-12PM
http://www.patternscafe.com.au
Patterns Cafe on Urbanspoon

Be here next week. Tuesday. 11AM! 🙂
From Your Weekly Foodie,
– T

Lunch @ Big Mama

Hey guys, welcome to my first post! (Eeek how exciting!) So my best friend C and I went to eat at Big Mama to celebrate the end of her exams. When we walked in, I was confused and disappointed as the waitresses did not walk up to the door to greet us. Instead, they called us from down at the end where the cash registers were and pointed at our table. The staff remained fairly friendly, however a bit reserved and only focused on taking orders instead of catering to their customers.

The venue was quite small and congested, and we were placed at a table closest to the kitchen. The sounds of clinking pots, frying pans and chopping knives were distracting… and to be honest, sitting at the back of the restaurant was not the prettiest sight. We went during lunch time so the place was pretty packed and busy. One of the walls was painted a bright red and had a huge flower decor with lights across the wall, matching with the menus and adding a bit of character to the overall restaurant (sorry, no photo!). When looking at the menu, we were pleased to see a great variety of Japanese and Korean food, as well as a lot of my favourite dishes!

The menu cover :)

The menu cover 🙂

We were given complimentary seaweed soup, which we found quite salty but hey, free food is free food.

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Our food came out fairly quickly so there wasn’t much of a wait.
C and I shared our entrees:
Takoyaki ($7 for 6 pieces) – very delicious, though it would have been even better if the batter was crispier. Their sauce was a bit different to the traditional takoyaki sauce, having a lighter brown colour but it complemented the dish very well. Would recommend (though I am a bit biased as I love takoyaki)!

Yummy

8/10

Seafood pa jun/pancake ($13) – this dish was awesome! It was only my second time trying korean pancakes but Big Mama makes it very cripsy and light! Great texture and a generous serving (I suggest sharing this one!).

8/10

8/10

C’s meal:
Tok Bok Gi with noodles ($12) – I only took a spoonful of C’s dish but it was pretty amazing! It had a good hit of spiciness, which really lifted the dish. The ricecake was cooked well, and the addition of noodles added a different texture. The noodles were cooked… could you say al dente? So it balanced out the heaviness of the ricecake.

8.5/10
8.5/10 (based on that spoonful)

My meal:
Cream garlic prawn & kimchi fried rice ($15) – The combination between the cream sauce and the kimchi fried rice worked well together, so it was quite tasty… until I was about halfway through the dish. It started to get really sickening and one of the clams was closed so I couldn’t eat it, I was disappointed with this one.

6.5/10

6.5/10

As you can see, when C and I eat, we feast haha. The food was so filling that it kept me out of hunger until the next day, no joke. I didn’t eat for another 28 hours after this… I guess my tummy was satisfied? Overall, I was quite pleased with Big Mama’s reasonably priced food and its great location (down the road from Melbourne Central, passed the bath house). It’s a great go-to place when you’re in need of a quick Korean fix on your lunch breaks (though I can’t speak for their Japanese mains just yet, next time!).

T’s Verdict:
Quality of the food – 7.5/10
Price (based on food quality) – very reasonable
Service – 6.5/10
Atmosphere – very casual, congested
Overall experience – 7/10

Interested?
Big Mama (Korean&Japanese)
466 Swanston St, Melbourne (CBD)
(03) 9347 2656
Open Monday to Sunday 11.30AM – 9.00PM
Accepts Cash Only
Big Mama on Urbanspoon

Hope to see you next Tuesday!
From your weekly foodie,
– T