315 High St
(03) 9481 3027
If you want Korean but don’t want to wait in line at Kong, head on down to Seoul Soul on High St, Northcote. This neon-lit eatery, owned by 3 interior designers, is serving up tasty lunch and dinners 7 days a week at a very reasonable price.
With a sister restaurant of the same name on Victoria st, you know these guys must be doing something right. The menu may not be the most authentic – you’ll find teriyaki chicken and dumplings along side the regular stuff – but that’s not the focus here. It’s “modern” Korean that’s “a bit sweeter and less spicy – more Westernised” according to owner Insu Kim.
The Kim Chi pancake for instance that’s “cooked with various vegetables and kim chi” ($8.00) according to the menu, has definitely had the chilli dialed down from more traditional versions. Deep fried with a side of pickles, it’s the a great way to get your daily dose of veggies for the day.
For something a little different, the Dduk Bok Ki ($13.00) is like a Korean take on pasta. Tubes of rice cakes, similar in texture to gnocchi, are served in either a sweet chilli or soy sauce with mixed vegetables, spring rolls and triangular parcels. Be warned: unlike the other "Westernised" dishes, the sweet chilli has a good hum of chilli to it, so opt for the soy version if you can't handle the heat.
It wouldn’t be a Korean restaurant without Bibimbap – a piping hot stone bowl filled with steamed rice and topped with various veggies and meats and a fried egg ($16.00). Available in a range of meats – beef, pork or chicken as well as vegetarian options vegie, tofu or kim chi – finish off the meal by adding your own sesame oil and as much chilli sauce as your can handle.
There is also a chargrilled BBQ section on the menu that serves up various grilled meats and veggies on a sizzling plate. The sweet soy shitake mushrooms ($17.00) are an excellent choice. Served in a sweet sauce with mixed veggies, these meaty fungi are sure to please both veggos and meat eaters alike.
There’s a lot of great cheap Asian eats around Melbourne but there’s few that have the style and atmosphere of Seoul Soul. The staff are friendly, the fitout is cool and modern, and most importantly the food is good and well priced.