Red Spice Road Location: QV Centre, 37 Artemis Lane, CBD, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 8660 6300 My love for weddings is equally matched by my love of a good challenge. So, when I was tasked by C with the honor of organising her Hens party and corresponding dinner celebrations, naturally I was absolutely ecstatic. C, being the lovely lady that she is, gave me considerable freedom in scoping out restaurant venues for the night, with the only conditions being that: a) the place would be able to deliver a fantastic night in a ‘pretty’ setting; b) the venue wasn’t so noisy that the girls would be able to have a proper chat; and c) the per-head charge would fall within a reasonable price range.
Miss Korea Kitchen Location: 845 Burke Road, Camberwell, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9882 4999 This one-room Korean eatery on Camberwell’s bustling Burke Road serves all that sizzly, smoky, K-Bbq goodness without the fuss, and then some. Barbequed wagyu scotch fillet (7+ marble score) and black angus meat can be brought to your table and cooked in front of you. Large Korean army-stype stews are also on offer. What we love, however, are the individual dishes and shared plates – in particular, Miss Korea Kitchen’s seafood pancake is a winner, jam-packed with flavour and crisp at the edges.
Suda Location: Shop c2, Healeys Lane, 550 Lonsdale Street Contact: 03 9942 6422 Like all hidden gems in Melbourne, finding Suda is a bit of an adventure in itself – the quaint restaurant is located in a little laneway towards the quieter end of Lonsdale Street. Yet the walk up to this end of the city is worth it; one step in and the eatery oozes warmth, with wooden panelling, polaroid pictures and hand written signs littered throughout the romantic space. The menu is playful and inventive, with the dishes focussing on Korean favourites with a fusion twist (think kimchi-filled quesadillas, plum mint soju cocktails and rice cakes with haloumi, to name a few).
I am constantly astounded by the quality and diversity of food that is offered in Melbourne. Having recently returned from travelling and working overseas (where I had the pleasure of dining at quite a few Michelin-starred restaurants), I can comfortably say that Melbourne offers some of the best restaurants and cafes in the world, which, believe it or not, I much preferred over their Michelin-starred counterparts. This past month I have been very ‘busy’ re-acquainting my palette with Melbourne food. Here are a few favourites that I’d happily eat at (over and over) again: Hinoki Japanese Pantry Location: 279 Smith Street, Fitzroy, VIC 0065 Contact: 03 9417 4531 Fonda Mexican Location: 248 Swan Street, Richmond, VIC 3121 Contact: 03 9429 0085 Jinda Thai Location: 7 Ferguson St, Abbotsford, VIC 3067 Contact: 03 9419 5899
Yong Green Food Location: 421 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, VIC Contact: 03 9417 3338 Yong’s is your one stop shop for all things vegetarian: raw, vegan, gluten free – you name it, they’ve got it. The crowd rolls in and out fast, so stake your claim early or come during the quieter hours to ensure you grab a spot at one of the tables before things get a little too hectic.
Thai green curry ($18)
The Thai green curry was quite enjoyable – my organic tempeh came immersed in a light, not too creamy house-made Thai green curry paste characterised by quite an amped up level of spiciness. I must admit that I am not one to usually order tempeh (it is one of those tastes that takes a little getting used to), but I quite liked the pairing. All of this married well with a bowl of biodynamic brown rice with just enough outer crunchiness to add some texture.
Thai green curry ($18)
Warra Warra Location: Shop 19 & 20 Tivoli Arcade, 235-251 Bourke St Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9662 2077 After failing miserably to obtain a table at Movida (sadly we were a little too hungry to wait until 10:30pm), we made our way back towards the city centre. Warra Warra wasn’t too far off, and walking in felt like we were entering a hidden gem – the Korean restaurant is tucked away in Tivoli Arcade near Swanston Street, and is every bit quirky, modern and fun. The place may be small, but the slick interior design of Warra Warra immediately sets this place apart, with clean lines oozing a contemporary, simple feel.
Darac Grill and Bar Location: 51 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9662 2441 Darac Grill and Bar is hidden away from the main fare in A’Beckett Street. And with a rather dark exterior and small sign, it’s quite easy to walk by without noticing it.
With a name like ‘Gangnam Station’, we walked into this restaurant slightly curious as to whether we’d be confronted with this:
Gami Chicken and Beer is where every man’s dream to devour an entire plate of fried chicken comes true.