Korean food has been increasing its popularity over the last few years. It seems like the Western side of CBD has become the new Korean town. Victoria St opposite Vic Market has a strip of korean restaurants – Wooga, Hallah, Donwoori and toodouri to name a few.
Near Little La Trobe you also have Darac (famous for its Army Noodles) and this little gem ChangGo. You will notice herds of people standing around waiting for a table in this popular eatery. You have to put your name down on this A4 piece of paper hope you get a table soon. You would usually see Uni students even sitting around waiting for a table. The place occupies two shop fronts and waiting time could be 30 mins – 40 mins plus on busy days. Its well known for it’s 8 flavoured pork belly. (as you can see theres a massive wooden tray outside the restaurant with each flavour written down. ) Menu mainly has the pork or beef combo. You can also do a la carte or even order cold noodles / soups etc. The portion for the pork is huge so you will usually need 3-4 people for it. Since it was only two of us, we opted for the beef combo.
Packed inside. Typical korean vents that dangle down to help get rid of the smoke emanating from the BBQs. Tell you what, our clothes still stink a bit no matter how careful you are. *Tip, put your clothes in the storage (where you sit) and don’t wear woollen or clothes which tend to soak up all the smell. (Its hard to get rid of!).
All korean restaurants have banchan (little appetisers) some have more variety and some have a few. Almost all should have kimchi and some bean shoots or something sourish.
Most korean restaurants have a in build hole where it fits the BBQ grill. Most use hot charcoal. The beef grill was a typical grill you see everywhere. The pork is different and more interesting – it has a iron cast plate which is placed on an angle so the oil can drop into the little steel container.
This came a little later, but Koreans seem to like Sourish things.
The beef was juicy and tender. Usually you add red bean paste with it or sesame oil and salt. Korean staff usually cook them for you. This busy place obviously had no time. Didn’t bother us, we rather cook it ourselves.
Too much meat can be a bit much. Wrap your meat in the lettuce, add some chilli and garlic and cucumber or carrot to offset the meatiness.
This soup has some crab in it, calamari, prawns and some tofu. Not too spicy either.
Our favourite. Ox tongue is thin and really tender. You usually dip it in with the sesame oil and salt. Make sure you don’t overcook this!
Last meat dish. Has some sweet soy and spring onions.
Overall, this place has some really hearty dishes. We can see why its so popular with the locals and even native Koreans. I spoke to the owner after and said they will be opening another one soon. No brainer considering how busy they are. There are other good places for beef sets in Melbourne. I would say you come here for the pork set. Mind you, you need probably 3 people and above to have it. The quantity is pretty big.
Rating – 14.5/20
Going back factor – hell yeah. Tip* don’t bring your family if they don’t like waiting! Or go super early. They open at 5:30pm
Other places to consider for beef sets
Wooga – 270 Victoria Street, North Melbourne.
Mrs Kims Grill – This new kid on the block is a nice alternative if you’re sick of finding parking in the city. Has beef / lamb / chicken sets. 2 types of beef, banchan, choice of salad, soy bean soup and some corn / potatoes. Nice architectural design by the Architect/Owner of Seoul Soul. 136 Koorang Road, Carnegie
Guhng. Means the Palace. Name says it all. More high end beef, has few floors in one of Melbourne’s laneways. – 19 McKillip Street, Melbourne
Donwoori – This sister restaurant of Wooga has a good beef set for $39. 3 beefs and a soup and some banchan. Gets busy and fairly smokey when at capacity. 276 Victoria Street, North Melbourne.