Melbourne, the food capital of Australia, where multi-cultural cuisines reign supreme. You've arrived at a food blog where good food has no boundaries - be it restaurants, cafes, takeaway joints and any other eating places. Recipes to try out with successes and failures blogged to no shame. The focus is on authentic Asian (Singapore) food found right here in the heart of Melbourne. Just remember, the best dining experience could surprise your tastebuds when you least expect it. Get ready to be surprised on my food journey. Bon Appétit!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Let's Bap - Korean Down to Basics Food

Let's Bap 
623 Warrigal Road
Holmesglen or Chadstone
(03) 9569 9183

There's a whole row of Korean restaurants down this strip of Asian student hang-out. Ok, probably more for a quick meal than a proper hang-out. Food can be a bit of hit-and-miss here. We went to a now-defunct Korean restaurant at the very corner of the strip, and left before we ordered. Unless sticky tables and ants crawling on the table and past your arms are what you consider delicacies, I would say this restaurant has a serious hygiene problem from what we can actually SEE. Imagine the kitchen...


Anyway, we discovered Let's Bap by chance couple of years back when all the other restaurants were shut. Not expecting much, I mean visually it really was as pared down as you would expect any eat, pay, leave place to be. They've recently undergone a reno though with more seating so that can only be a good sign.


Now shockingly I really do not know what the proper Korean names are for these dishes, but I suspect you probably don't either. 


When you order a main dish, it's more like a set. Usually includes rice, soup and those little appetitisers that a lot of Korean restaurants offer.


I ordered my fave, spicy seafood soup with soft tofu. The accompaniments were fun but obviously lacked the miso soup as I ordered, um, soup.

The soup was rich in flavour and pretty spicy. Unlike some Korean eateries where these soups tasted like those Korean instant noodle packs, the taste and richness of Let's Bap's version far supercedes the msg packets. The spiciness is another factor that surprised me. I didn't actually expect the soup to be quite as spicy as it is. Level of spiciness is nose-dripping worthy but not on a burnt-my-tongue and teary level. Hey for all we know, and quite likely, msg is used but we can all live in blissful oblivion if the food is acceptably tasty. Be warned though, it gets served in a stone or iron pot, so the heat stays bubbling for quite a while. Give it a stir and you'll find pipis, zucchini, whole egg, silken tofu, calamari and shrimps in the mixture of goodness. I'm salivating in a very unladylike way thinking of it. Yumm....I hardly touched the rice to be honest.


Those little dishes that came with it were not spectacular as they really are not meant to be. Great little cold dishes to munch on but that's about it. I have to say though, do ask for their mashed potato, sooo creamy and smooth! With their tofu, it tasted a lot better without the brown sauce. 
Not satisfied eating only 2 main dishes, we decided to order some sweet chilli chicken wings. It's passable, but I wouldn't exactly drive the whole way to eat it. The soup, sure, but not the overly doused portion of battered wings. The sweet chilli is thick and somehow too sweet. And the batter of the chicken is more hard than crispy. You have to give the chef props for consistency, but every time we get sucked in and order this, it tastes the same as usual - dry, hard and sauce cover up.
S rarely orders anything other than meat. But I've tried the Salmon a few times and he really liked it too. So this time he ordered the Salmon Terriyaki. As usual, completely fool-proof. The Salmon was cooked perfectly and the sauce was not sickeningly sweet or salty. The price was really reasonable as well (about $10 I think) especially when it was also served with rice, pickles, soup. 
I've tasted most of their other dishes. I do like their Specials, especially the Kim Chi Fried Rice with Garlic Creamy Cheese Sauce. The standout dishes are still the soups and the salmon. The rest are your typical bulgogi dishes done pretty well. They do sell those in vacuum-sealed bags for people to cook at home at their convenience ($15/kg).


Do try this place out. Parking is a pain though. Max half hour parking so you have to go out and check constantly. If you see me there, so say hi, I'm usually carrying a Birkin and ordering the same dishes.

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