I’m surprised to find Braised Mushrooms Bibimbap ($24) on the menu at Walsh Bay Kitchen. With charred vegetables, pine nuts, brown rice and abundant slippery oyster mushrooms, it’s a bibimbap that warrants being eaten piecemeal, rather than mixed.
Alongside the Consul-General of Korea, Whie Jin Le, and a host of chefs and food media personalities from Danny Russo to Lyndey Milan, I attended the Korean Cultural Centre for a fabulous multi-course Korean Banquet Showcase. We were treated to an array of dishes, including seasonal hwe (Korean-style sashimi) of abalone, salmon, kingfish and cuttlefish, and Korean pancakes (jun) with flavourings like zucchini, mung beans and oysters.
The first thing you’ll notice after stepping into Damda, beyond the strong design aesthetic, is the monstrous, smoke-belching oven. It’s admirably manned by a smiling, tattooed, Korean coal-master.
Korean comedian Kang Ho-Dong greets you at the door in cardboard cutout form. He’s also a cartoon on the storybook menu, where his American chain is given a distinctly Aussie twist.
Venturing down an alleyway running between Event Cinemas and La Guillotine, you’ll find a spruced up Korean restaurant called Danjee.
Two Claude's chefs, Ben Sears and his Korean wife Eun Hee An, are "learning what it is to manage a restaurant in Sydney," according to former Claude's manager Abby Meinke.
Ten minutes outside the Inner West, a circus tent of lighting alerts you to this Korean mecca of meat. Pull your vehicle directly into what appears to be the centre of the restaurant; get met immediately by a smiling waiter.
Ousting trainee shock-jock Sandilands and his colourful Kings Cross mates, The Piano Room replacement is somewhere you might actually want to drink. The crowd’s young, but mostly attitude-free; the booths are fast to fill.
At the blaring k-pop end of Korean, there’s this underground Pitt Street hang. It’s brightly lit, and none-too-fancy, but worth checking out for two reasons: the late-night 3am kitchen, and the Korean fried chook. You’ll find piled high platters of double fried chicken gracing nearly every table, with most parties opting for Boneless Fried Chicken Half and Half ($33).
Korean’s my current go-to food every time a winter cold threatens. If you’re new to the cuisine, this modern Crown Street entry - awash with the bright colours of the Korean Tricolored Taegeuk - is a good place to start. Charismatic owner Joshua Kim cut his teeth on a Japanese restaurant in Leichhardt.