Tag Archives: tapas

Suda

I must admit, Suda was a great find. A small modern Korean restaurant serving tapas dishes and more, this place is everything a small and unique restaurant should be.

20140619_181225It’s located on a laneway in the quieter end of the city, just off Lonsdale St. Healeys Lane has a strip of eateries to choose from and Suda’s cosy decor and warm atmosphere make a good bid for customers.

My first visit was on a Thursday night, and business was quite steady with their largest table reserved. There’s only about four-five larger tables and a few smaller ones for two, so I’d suggest booking in case. There is also an L-shaped bench in the corner.

Owner of Suda, Kayoung Alice, was such a great host that I came back for a second visit. She is playful and talkative, and said her restaurant had only been open for about two-three months.

She encouraged us to try modern Korean dishes that young Korean people eat, rather than traditional dishes such as bibimbap, which we were about to order. She made a good point – so we followed her advice.

20140619_182612

I enjoyed her passion for this modern cuisine, which was a refreshing change from other common Korean restaurants. Both my visits and her Instagram page prove many young Koreans frequent the restaurant, thus this culture seems prominent.

Due to my two visits, I’ll be comparing dishes from both experiences.

Drinks – menu
Suda has a drinks menu full of reasonable prices. For example their soju cocktails are only $6 compared to $17 at Joomak. However, it is a only a tall glass at Suda, whereas Joomak is a small jug. Still, if you were only after a drink or two, Suda would be great.

20140619_183147

As I was driving, and I liked the sound of their iced teas, I went with a plum mint iced tea ($4, above). They brew these flavours earlier in the day so the drink comes out quickly. You have to stir a bit for the plum and mint to combine, but these ingredients seem to really compliment each other.

20140619_182509

Alice also kindly provided two complimentary glasses of their own sangria, which she insisted was mild. I still let my friend have both and she enjoyed it as it wasn’t as strong as your typical sangria. I find this a good trait, because I personally dislike the wine-like taste of sangria. A jug of Suda’s sangria would only cost you $19.

20140627_173146

My second visit, I felt the need to try another combination of flavours. Once again the designated driver for the night, I went with an orange yuzu ade ($4.50, top left). I was told yuzu is another citrusy fruit. Somehow my drink still tasted alcoholic, so I’m not sure if that was a result of the yuzu or what they use for the ades.

Meanwhile, my friend had a lemon ginger soju cocktail ($6, top right) which looked nice and easy to drink. I remember my lychee cocktail at Joomak was quite strong, so if I was after something light to have alongside dinner, this would be suitable for a laidback night.

Tapas – dinner menu
Suda is quite proud of its unique Korean tapas menu, and its understandable when you have a read through. We were curious as to what the kimchi fritters ($10, below) would taste like and how it would come served.

20140619_192950

Upon questioning Alice, she was happy to provide us a complimentary half-serve, so the above picture is not a full serve. They were pretty much fried balls of goodness, full of compressed calamari and kimchi and steaming hot inside.

20140627_173722-new

The second time, I was eager to try the mini burgers. There is a tofu burger and also a tteok-galbi (like a beef patty/meatball) burger ($4.50 each), which both demonstrate different flavours.

IMG-20140628-WA0014

The tofu burger has your familiar taste of kimchi, whilst the tofu itself was a large juicy chunk. It’s not bland and seems marinated or cooked in something that provides a bit more flavour.

20140627_173801

The tteok-galbi immediately had my friend’s approval. It was so tender and beautifully demonstrated the power of Korean marinated food. I’d say this burger was the winner for our tapas dishes and is a must order.

Pasta
When we were dissuaded from bibimbap which “you can order anywhere”, the Korean pasta section caught our eye and seemed worth a try.

IMG-20140624-WA0012

We went with the beef bulgogi pasta ($15, above) with shitake mushroom and shredded egg. I loved the presentation of it and it definitely exemplified this modern Korean cuisine.

20140619_185121

The beef at Suda seems to be a standout, so any dish including it is a safe choice. We also ordered the fried beef udon ($12, below) the second time, which was a bit saucier served with sweet soy. Both dishes had a bit of a chilli for those who like a bit of spice.

I prefer the pasta, as it feels lighter so you have more room to enjoy the beef, whereas the udon reminds me more of Chinese takeaway restaurants. The udon wasn’t part of the pasta menu but I felt it was suitable to compare with.
20140627_175509-newAnother dish on the pasta menu, but more rice based, was the tteok-galbi and kimchi gratin ($16). I’d seen this one on the Instagram and became attracted by the cheesy goodness. The cheese covers the top whilst underneath you’ll find some spicy, kimchi rice.

IMG-20140628-WA0006-new

It’s served with only two pieces of tteok-galbi, which I cut into smaller pieces and mixed it with the rice. I enjoyed this dish mainly because of the layer of cheese. My friend who is not a fan of red Korean sauces preferred the beef udon.

Miscellaneous
The other dishes I tried include the crumbed seafood pancake ($13, below). I liked the thickness of the pancake and the use of bread crumbs. You do need a bit of the sauce for the more batter-y parts of the pancake and it does have a lot of spring onion, so if you don’t like them, steer clear!

IMG-20140624-WA0009

Due to the cold weather lately, I also gave into the tempation of the spicy tteokboki soup ($15, below) or spicy ricecakes. It also came with an interesting side of dumplings, a prawn and an egg.

The stew was a medium level of spicy and had a good amount of tteokboki to satisfy my hunger. The other two soups sound appetising too – slow cooked pork belly with kimchi or tofu and seafood soup sound like they’ll be on my list for next time.20140619_184717-new

If you know me, you’ve probably already heard me rave about how cute this place is and how friendly the owner is. I love the different experience and I’m glad I can see them getting more popular. Last Friday almost all the tables seemed reserved.
IMG-20140628-WA0017

I am yet to figure out their fascination with snails, but its provides a nice quirk to the decor. It’s also admirable that Alice embraces social media for her restaurant even though English is not her first language. I remember her confessing that she found Instagram quite confusing, but to me she seems to be getting the hang of it.
20140627_170822

You’ll find from their social media that Suda often holds small functions too. Alice also runs a blog in Korean and mentions that many Korean friends or partners like to show it and translate to other people. If you’re one of those people, click here.

Suda is located at 550 Lonsdale St, but you will need to turn into Healeys Lane and spot their sign. They are open Mon-Sat for lunch and dinner until 11pm and only for dinner on Sundays.
You might need to check with them for specific times as Urbanspoon, Facebook and their menu say slightly different things.

Suda on Urbanspoon

Fond of Fusion Cuisine


As I searched Melbourne’s south eastern suburbs for somewhere nice to dine, I trawled my way on Urbanspoon through take-away places and places with apparently good food, but no service to be heard of.

And then I came across Fond of Fusion, a new Taiwanese place in Malvern. As a new place, I thought I’d take the chance and try it out although I was a bit worried that the “Fusion” title indicated it may be run by non-Taiwanese people. It certainly knows how to make an impression, on a main street with various dine-ins and take-aways, with an open entrance showcasing tall pink candles, comfy armchairs and relaxing tunes to passersby.

IMAG6836

Even before perusing their menu specialising in tapas dishes and larger, main dishes, I enjoyed the decor of antiques and signs around the restaurant, including candles, plants and quotes of all different kinds.

IMAG6844

As we finally got around to ordering, we started off with some tapas dishes. The owners did seem to be Taiwanese, as I heard one of our hosts explaining the origins of a dish to a lady next to us and then she proceeded to speak Taiwanese/Chinese (I’m not too sure since I’m not Chinese!) to her.

Thus, I thought I would try their bubble tea and see what a supposedly traditional version is supposed to taste like (below, $5-6 I think) and it came out in an impressive tall glass. It tasted similar to normal tea and not as sweet as your bubble tea chains. I liked this, as it felt more natural and not saturated with sugar. It was large and difficult to finish, with little time to chew all our pearls when we had all this delicious food coming out.

IMAG6846

Our first tapas dish, I was eager to try the Kumara (Sweet Potato) Chips ($9, top left). They were so addictive, a bit salty if you eat a lot as with any chips. I kept going back to them all night and despite the dash of saltiness, I believe I would be able to eat these all day. They were crispy but had a decent amount of soft sweet potato inside.

As they had recently opened, the owner was also providing diners with a complimentary serving of the Special Beef Salad from the tapas menu ($9, top right), which was a very light dish with a summery presentation of greens and a flower. I also recall it being a little spicy, if you happen to eat the chilli section of the sauce.

IMAG6848

Next up was the Gourmet Sausage with Roti ($9, above), which was served like a wood-oven pizza. I loved the presentation and like a pizza, the roti was cut into triangular pieces and crispy. There’s a light, brown sauce on the sausage, which my friend wasn’t a big fan of, but it tasted similar to various Asian sauces and was fine for me. I liked the crunchiness and the way it was almost like a disassembled wrap – with greens, meat and sauce to eat along with it.

IMAG6853

To the mains, which were a tad pricey, our first was a favourite of the night. The Snowflake Prawns (above, $28) included three XXL Australia tiger prawns, lightly fried then wok-tossed with fermented rice and special sweet and sour sauce. It then comes served with noodles and greens.

The sauce was very nice and flavoursome, not thick and oily like Asian take-away restaurants. There’s limited noodles underneath but they go very well with the prawns, the only downside is there’s only three – although I do understand that prawns are quite expensive!

IMAG6855

And our final dish was perhaps the opposite of the prawns, too much for us! The Crispy Pork Knuckles ($25, above) involved country style meaty pork knuckles, slow braised in a special recipe gravy, deep fried until crispy before serving. It was served with sticky rice and garlic soy sauce.

I usually don’t like fat, but because it was so crispy (this seems to be a theme on this post) on the outside, it made the fat a bit more bearable and edible. But I still couldn’t eat too much of it – the actual bits of meat were tender on the inside and eaten with sticky rice it was very filling. For my friend and I, this dish is a bit too overwhelming with the giant pieces of pork and glutinous rice, which is filling in itself. Thus, together we couldn’t finish it but if it was shared by a larger group say of four or five, I think it would be fine.

IMG-20131227-WA0004

To add to the overall experience, I enjoyed the openness of the entrance and the rustic yet comfy feel of the decor. The owner seemed very generous and caring and the staff checked on us regularly. Even the music seemed to complement the restaurant’s feel, no tacky Asian pop but acoustic songs and soothing blasts from the past. I was so lost in the atmosphere and music at times that I could have been put to sleep, in a nice and relaxing way.

When paying, they also had a large bowl of Favourites’ chocolate for us to choose from. Everything from this trip stood out – the service, the ambience, the food and the decor. The only thing to do now is to wait and see as they get busier and more known, if all this will be maintained. Fingers crossed they do not lose everything that currently makes them seem so attractive and special!

IMG-20131227-WA0005

Fond of Fusion is open Monday for dinner, closed on Tuesdays, open for dinner all other nights and also lunch on the weekends. They are located at 233 Glenferrie Road, Malvern – call 03 9942 1384 for more information.

Fond of Fusion Cuisine on Urbanspoon