With huge influx of international students each year taking advantage of some of the region’s best education system, Melbourne CBD is a place that is heavily influenced by what these students demand. When it comes to food, you can find almost as many Japanese, Korean, and Chinese food as you can with Western/Australian establishments.
Oriental Spoon, Korean Cuisine
Oriental Spoon, located just right across Melbourne Central on La Trobe, is one such places. Though labeled Korean Cuisine, like many Asian restaurants around the city, this place has assimilated to the demands of Australian and Asian alike.
What you get is not exactly authentic Korean food, the portions are huge, the kimchi less strong tasting, lesser variety of banchan, and generally tastes that are more “mainstream”. This isn’t something you’ll ever find in Korea, or even the little Korea in Ampang.
banchan, beef casserole, spicy pork bulgogi
While the purists might argue that it is a waste of time visiting a place that served heavily localized (some might even go to the extend of using the word bastardized) food, I prefer to leave the verdict after tasting the food. If Mellissa and friends like this place, it should mean something.
Even though it was a weekday night, Oriental Spoon was already packed when we got there. Customers consist of probably 60% Asian at this place. We waited for some 15 minutes before securing a table.
a big pot of boiling beef casserole, best for winter weather
Like most Korean restaurants, they offer a variety of grilled meats such as a few choices of beef, pork belly, and even seafood. There’s also your standard bulgogi, kimchi soup, bibimbap (mixed meal) and so forth.
Even though there was only two of us, we ordered a beef casserole ($30+) and a spicy pork bulgogi ($18 or so) to go with some steamed rice.
There were four types of banchan served, and seriously speaking, none of them worth a mention. The kimchi was especially disappointing.
best served with Korean steamed rice
The spicy pork bulgogi though, was absolutely marvelous. Generous portion of fatty stripes of pork soaked in spicy oil with some sesame, onion, and other seasoning makes the dish very rich and succulent but also come with a kick. It was very sinful yet irresistible. The pork went very well with rice.
The beef casserole is a rather huge pot of raw beef, mushroom, vegetable, glass noodle, and other ingredients stewed in a broth right on the table. The soup gets better and better with time and at the tail end of the dinner we had a very sweet and rather tasty broth to go with plenty of beef. It was very good, but it was also a bit too much especially for only 2 person.
Oriental Spoon is located right across Melbourne Central
We ended up having to bag some of the leftovers despite getting ourselves stuffed silly. It was a good meal and decently priced too. However, I think this place is best for a group of 4 and above.
Oriental Spoon is also not for you if you’re interested in really authentic Korean food, but if you want something different but yet still within most people’s comfort zone. This place is worth visiting.
254 La Trobe St,
Melbourne VIC 3000,
Tel: 03-9654 9930