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Hanbat Korean Restaurant recently opened its doors in Box Hill, in the predominantly Korean side of town (on Bank Street). According to the owners, Hanbat is from a famous franchise in Korea. Only doors down you can find Yami Yami and Korean BBQ as well as a Korean grocery store and hairdresser. It seems like the Korean community is certainly growing in Box Hill, much to my liking!

I love Don-Udon‘s Jap Chae and that’s the standard I will uphold all other restaurants too. Here the Jap Chae just lacks that oomph in flavour, as well as being overly wet. It beats Crunch Box but no where near as delicious as Don-Udon.

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Their Pork Bulgogi isn’t too bad either, but again I find the flavour just lacking a tiny bit compared with the other Korean eateries around.

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Their Hot Stone Bibimbap adds numerous fresh ingredients, and with the chilli sauce gives it the much needed kick. My only negative is probably the egg being slightly overcooked.

DSC01354-1Hanbat’s Spicy Seafood and Tofu soup again isn’t my favourite, that award lies with By Korea in Richmond but taste wise it’s actually quite decent with the soft tofu and flavoursome soup base. Nothing to write home about but again I’d say a good dish.

Impressions

Overall, I wasn’t too impressed with the quality of the dishes served here. Which is unfortunate as you never want to dine at a place that disappoints and I want restaurants to succeed. However, it seems the food aren’t up to the standard of Yami Yami or Don-Udon in the area. I’m just hoping we were just unlucky and didn’t select their standout dishes.

 

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 Guu Sakabar definitely has an interesting atmosphere and if you haven’t dined at one of Guu’s locations in Vancouver or in Toronto, you may be surprised as you walk in. For all guests that arrive, you are warmly greeted with cheers from the employees as well as when you exit. So it can get quite noisy on a busy night but that’s all part of the charm.

Guu offers a Japanese-tapas style menu some options having a bit of Korean influences. What I like about tapas menus is that it’s great for sharing and trying a bit of everything from the menu.

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The Okonomiyaki here is deep fried with squid tonkatsu sauce and karashi mayonnaise. I haven’t tried a deep fried Japanese pancake before as I only have found the pan fried variation in Melbourne (Australia) before, however the pancake certainly left an impression on me.

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Probably my favourite dish was Guu’s Kinoko Bibimbap in a stone pot.With mushrooms, cheese and a seaweed sauce, the combination of flavours worked a treat together. Packed full of flavour, can’t go wrong with it and even for me who would prefer not to have mushrooms in anything!

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You can’t leave Guu without trying their drinks, however being a non-local and wanting to do a tapas drinks, we ordered the Sake Sampler that came with 6 different types of sake. As a non-expert in Sake, I can’t really offer my opinions on them but the cloudy ones were more memorable than the rest for sure.

Guu also offer Japanese Vodka, Beers, Wines and Cocktails and your non-alcoholic beverages as well.

Impressions

Guu is definitely for those seeking a good night out with friends and/or family and the atmosphere at Guu allows for that. Food-wise, most of what we tried was great, but on the smaller side of things.  Though, I certainly hope a restaurant like this pops up in Melbourne to enjoy.

Guu Sakabar on Urbanspoon

Guu – Sakabar

559 Bloor St W
Toronto ON M5S1Y6

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By Korea on the bustling Victoria St may get overlooked by many passing by but it certainly is a pleasant and enjoyable dining experience. From the outside of By Korea, you might not even know it’s open but don’t fret it is open for Lunch and Dinner. The decor inside is wonderful, fusing the traditional Korean with industrial style.

By Korea offers most of the usual Korean staples such as stone pot soups, Bibimbap, and of course BBQ. Being a fan of the Korean Spicy Seafood Tofu Soup served in Stone Hot Pot with Rice I had to order it here.

The soup here is definitely spicy and I love it, and with the addition of fresh seafood (shrimp, clams) and a generous offering of soft tofu it is a treat to eat. My only concern is the graininess of the clams itself but that didn’t detract too much from the flavour of the soup.

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The Sweet Chilli Fried Chicken is also another tasty delight. Korean food does lean towards being sweet more often than not, and this doesn’t stray too far from the norm. Wonderfully crisp, with added sweetness and topped with a sunny side egg.

IMG_0510The Beef Bulgogi is another winner and very generous with their servings. The Beef is tender and juicy with both sweetness and spiciness, served with sunny side egg, salad and Kimchi.

Impressions

I’m uncertain why By Korea doesn’t have the same popularity as another Korean restaurant only minutes down the road (Seoul Soul), even though I find the food to be better for value and tastier here. Plus, for Lunch you receive tea and a free soft drink as a bonus. I do recommend giving By Korea a try, it definitely shines amongst the plethora of eateries on Victoria St, Richmond.

 

By Korea on Urbanspoon

By Korea

5/240 Victoria St
Richmond VIC 3121

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Don-Udon recently opened in Box Hill and joins the other Korean restaurants now established in Box Hill along. I’m guessing there is a sizeable Korean community here as there are also many grocery stores around too. Unlike the Box Hill Korean BBQ, Don-Udon doesn’t offer BBQ but they have plans to do hot pot in the winter months.

Currently they offer a great selection of Korean and even a few Japanese dishes ranging from Udon noodle soup, Stir Fried Udon dishes, Ramen, Korean and Japanese rice dishes and even a few sizzling and clay pot dishes for something a bit different.

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We ordered the Bibim Bap in Stone Pot that is served scolding hot. It comes with beef, vegetables and fried egg with Korean chilli paste on rice. The stone pot retains heat remarkably well so if you’re ordering, it’s best to not touch the bowl. I love clay pot/stone pot dishes as the rice cooks and turns into this crunchy delight. All the ingredients here are fresh and especially tasty with the slightly sweet beef. A really nice, light dish.

IMG_0479Don-Udon also offers soups in clay pot. I think Korean soups with rice are one of my favourite type of dishes. I could really have warm, spicy soup with rice all day, everyday. The soup here is a Seafood Silken Tofu Soup (Spicy) with mixed seafood, vegetables and of course silken tofu. I loved the flavour of this soup, it’s spicy enough if you consume all of the soup and it’s basically like this gradual hotness that lingers throughout the meal. Very satisfying. The seafood here are basically a couple of small (very) prawns but the tofu is the main protein here. Although the soup is a tad oily, I loved the soup all the same.

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The Donkatsu Udon is your typical Japanese dish with crispy deep fried pork, with a clear stock soup. Subtle flavours from the soup and maybe a bit of Togarashi just adds a bit of spice to give it a bit more seasoning. A pleasant dish that even betters Ajisen Ramen in Box Hill.

Impressions

Don-Udon is my go-to Korean eatery in Box Hill. Flavours hit the mark, friendly staff and all for a decent (the standard) price. It’s just a bit of a shame that this restaurant isn’t more frequented by customers. It’s slightly out of the way, a few minutes walk from the main shopping hub in Box Hill but close by to the tram stop and the many Computer Gaming places. I’d say it’s definitely worth the small effort to visit.

Don-Udon on Urbanspoon

Don-Udon

951 Whitehorse Road
Box Hill VIC 3128

Opens for Lunch and Dinner

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Seoul Soul, can easily be missed by passers-by. It is this extremely tiny restaurant, almost hidden on the always populated Victoria Street, Richmond, near The Hive Shopping Centre. In between The Hive SC entrance and a corner cafe, you’ll find this little gem. Only housing less than 20 people, it is always popular inside and waiting around lunchtime is common.

As you may have guessed from the name, Seoul Soul serve Korean cuisine from their most commonly known dishes such as Bulgogi, but also the more obscure and spicy dishes. Typically, they also do BBQ/grills so it really caters for most.

I’ve previously had the Spicy Tofu bulgogi and that was a delight to eat. It comes with stir fried tofu with a spicy sauce, salad and oddly enough a slice of orange. You’ll find this is common for most of the bulgogi’s served. The spiciness of the sauce is fantastic but isn’t too spicy, just enough to give the always bland tofu some flavour and kick.

The salad is very similar to the Japanese salad dressing you can buy in Asian supermarkets, it has that slightly sesame taste to it. I really do love this dressing so it’s always appetising.

You might be saying, Denny, what is that delicious dish you ordered that is pictured. Well, my friends, this is their Special Stone Pot Bibimbap. It comes super sizzling hot and crackles with delight as it’s served. It’s primarily a vegetarian dish with the bean sprouts, carrots, beans and capsicum. There are a couple of stone pot bibimbaps, prawn and beef. I’m uncertain if there was a stone pot vegie bibimbap but it doesn’t seem out of plausibility.

I ordered the beef, which comes with minced beef and cannot currently be seen as it sits underneath that sunny side up egg. The yolk that oozes out just binds everything together. It is simply a refreshing and satisfying meal.

Impressions 

Seoul Soul is quite a treat if you can get a table. Well presented food but leaning on the pricier side of things but it’s okay here because the  food here is tasty and doesn’t disappoint.

Seoul Soul on Urbanspoon

Seoul Soul
323 Victoria St
Abbotsford VIC 3067

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