Miss Korea Kitchen located along Burke Road in Camberwell, serves fresh, healthy and authentic Korean cuisine. They offer the typical Korean dishes such as Korean Fried Chicken, Bulgogi, Bibimbap, Korean BBQ with customers being able to choose their protein (e.g. chicken, beef, pork or veg) with many of their offerings.
The Japchae at Miss Korea Kitchen is one of the better Japchae’s in Melbourne. It’s closest competitor and reigning champion is Don-Udon‘s flavourful Japchae. Here, the Japchae has that subtle work flavour with fresh vegetables and crispy lotus root on top. The flavour is a bit more subtle overall as compared to Don-Udon’s version but it’s tasty nonetheless. You can order their Japchae with Beef, Pork, Chicken, Tofu, Veg or Seafood which are pretty much all the options you could think of.
The best Cheese Buldak or Chicken and Cheese Bulgogi Hotplate is CJ Lunch Bar‘s offering. Here, I found the chicken to be overcooked and the seasoning unbalanced with the sauce being overly salty and needing just a bit of sweetness and more depth in flavour to match CJ Lunch Bar’s. The richness of the cheese though, helps complement the spiciness so that’s a definite plus.
I’m going to again, compare Miss Korea Kitchen’s Stone Pot Bibimbap with Don-Udon (Box Hill) where their Don-Udon has such amazing flavour to it from how they cook each of the components and the addition of the chilli paste. Miss Korea Kitchen’s Bibimbap isn’t bad, each element has flavour to it but it’s definitely not as flavourful as it could be.
I saw this Mini Patbingsu on the menu, which is basically a Korean version of an Ice Kachang or Japanese Kakigori. Their Patbingsu comes with chopped fruit, red bean, fruit syrup, condensed milk and wafers. For $8 it’s actually quite small and flavour wise it’s quite lacking. The shaved ice is very coarse with not enough condensed milk to add that richness it needs. The whipped cream topping lacks flavour as well so the overall result is a pretty bland and expensive dessert.
Ignoring the Patbingsu dessert, I found Miss Korea Kitchen to have overall tasty Korean dishes and it’s one of the better ones I’ve been to in Melbourne.
845 Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124
Located in Eastland’s Town Square, Kyoto Cafe provides a bit of Japanese flavour to Ringwood. Its interior is reminiscent of modern Japanese restaurants with its generous wood panelling all around. It has an open kitchen with kitchen-side dining, and room upstairs as well.
While Kyoto Cafe do offer a few Donburi’s (Rice bowls), they do have a more extensive Yakitori menu, as well as tapas dishes, sushi and bento choices. They also offer a few dessert options, most are displayed at the front of their restaurant which are basically a variety of cakes and cream puffs to choose from.
One of their bento options comes with fresh sashimi, tempura, chicken katsu and steamed egg with dipping sauces.
The sashimi were sliced into smaller pieces, but tasted quite fresh. The chicken katsu was crispy, and tender, while the tempura was also crisp with a light batter surrounding it and soft inside. There was also this odd vegetable wrap, I wasn’t fond of it and tasted a bit bland.
The steamed egg wasn’t as soft as I would have liked either and also was a tad under seasoned but still one of the better ones I’ve tried.
The Japanese Fried Chicken here has this very dark, sticky glaze on it. The chicken was tender and crisp but I wasn’t overly impressed by the flavour of the marinade. Just give me the normal Chicken Karaage.
To be honest, the main reason for coming to Kyoto Cafe was to try their desserts. The Yuzu cake had an amazingly punchy Yuzu flavour with a soft mouse layer, and a cake base.
The Green Tea cream puff wasn’t as crunchy as I’d like but it had a great Matcha cream flavour inside that kinda oozed out. The Black Sesame flavoured one is on the list to try!
The ambience at Kyoto Cafe makes for a great dining experience. The food here, while it may not be amazing, will give you a tasty meal and sometimes that’s all you’re after. The beautiful desserts don’t hurt either.
Eastland Shopping Centre
Level 3, 175 Maroondah Highway (Town Square)
Ringwood VIC 3134
I love mixing Western style desserts with Asian flavours and here I found a recipe from Just One Cookbook that combines that creamy and light French Crème Brûlée with Japanese Green Tea flavour for that slightly bitter tea note. Perfect!
Green Tea Crème Brûlée (adapted from Just One Cookbook)
360ml Thickened Cream
360ml Full Cream Milk
1 tbsp Green Tea Powder
5 Large Egg Yolks
100g Caster Sugar, plus 1 tsp for each serving
1. Preheat oven to 150°C.
2. In a medium saucepan, add the thickened cream, full cream milk, and sifted green tea powder and heat over medium heat. Stir the mixture often, until it’s very hot to touch but not boiling. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
3. Start to boil a kettle over the stove.
4. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the caster sugar and egg yolks until the mixture becomes pale in colour.
5. Add the milk mixture a bit at a time to the egg mixture, whisking vigorously so that you avoid cooking the eggs.
6. Once it has all been mixed together, place a sieve or a cheesecloth over a large bowl and strain the mixture.
7. Pour the strained mixture into 6 medium sized ramekins, then place the ramekins into a deep baking tray or pan.
8. Pour the boiling water into the baking tray or pan until the water comes up to halfway on the sides of the ramekins. Place the tray in the oven. Bake the crème brûlée for around 30 to 40 minute or until the crème brûlée is set when shaken but the middle still wobbles. Remove the ramekins from the oven and then allow to cool to room temperature before cling wrapping the ramekins and refrigerating for at least 2 hours (up to 3 days).
9. Take out the ramekins at least 30 minutes before caramelising the sugar on top. Then add one teaspoon of the caster sugar on top and move the ramekin around so that the sugar coats the entire top of the crème brûlée and discard any excess sugar. Using a kitchen blowtorch, melt the sugar until the sugar caramelises and browns. Leave the crème brûlée ramekins for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Getting in on the Soft Serve ice cream popularity is Tsujiri on Swanston Street in the Melbourne CBD. Tsujiri is a tea brand originating from Japan that excels in all things Matcha/Green Tea. With locations in UK, Canada and Asia, it has now opened in Australia. Tsujiri’s menu offers a wide range of Matcha and Houjicha flavoured drinks, as well as snacks such as cream puffs, swiss rolls and glutinous rice balls.
Tsujiri’s signature sundae you can order mixed (Matcha and Vanilla), Matcha or just Vanilla and it comes with the glutinous rice ball and sweet potato ball on top, Sakura flavoured wafer, red beans and roasted rice. Tsujiri certainly doesn’t skimp on the flavour of the green tea as it’s stronger than you would have at Rice Workshop or Nene’s Chicken. I also loved the subtle floral notes of the wafer, and the roasted rice for a lovely crunchy texture. The only thing I didn’t like was the price where it’s leaning towards $10 and especially for the price.
While Tsujiri excels in green tea, its pricing is on the higher end and I question whether it’s worth it even if it’s good.
146 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Want a deliciously, warm and sweet treat for the cold weather? These Chinese dumplings or Tang Yuan are perfect for a cold day. The ginger sugar syrup has a lovely subtle ginger flavour, not too overpowering and the oozy black sesame is always a winner in my book. These dumplings can be made with fillings or without, and that’s really the fun of it all. Well, apart from eating it!
Black Sesame Dumplings (Tang Yuan) (Adapted from Rasa Malaysia)
Serves: 4-6 people
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Black Sesame Dough
230g glutinous rice flour
1-2tsp black sesame powder (optional)
200g glutinous rice flour
1/2 tbsp sugar
Black Sesame Filling
60g black sesame seeds
45g caster sugar
45g unsalted butter
1200ml water (reduced to 4 cups after boiling)
180g rock sugar
4 slices ginger
2 pandan leaves (tied in a knot)
Black Sesame Filling
1. Lightly toast the black sesame seeds over medium heat until it’s aromatic. Take off the heat and let it cool.
2. Use a mini food processor to grind the black sesame seeds until it becomes a fine powder.
3. Place the cooled ground black sesame into a saucepan and heat over low-medium heat, and add sugar and butter and stir well to form a thick paste. If it’s too dry, add more butter. Place the paste into a bowl and let cool in the fridge so it’s easier to fill the dumplings later on.
Black Sesame Dough
4. In a big bowl, mix the glutinous rice flour with water (adding the optional black sesame powder too) until it forms a smooth paste and no longer sticks to your hands. Divide it equally into 16-20 balls (the bigger the balls, the easier it is to fill) Note: The coloured dumplings follow similar steps, just add the sugar when adding the water.
5. Flatten each ball in your palm, and then spoon in the black sesame paste and lay it in the middle of the flatten ball. Fold the edge to seal the dumpling. Lightly roll it into a ball shape using both palms, very gently and delicately. Set aside.
6. Boil the water on medium-high heat.
7. Add the ginger, pandan leaves and rock sugar into the water and boil for 10-15 minutes with medium heat. Lower heat to simmer and reduce to about 4 cups of water. Add more sugar if it’s not sweet enough.
8. Heat up another pot of boiling water. Drop the dumplings into the hot boiling water. As soon as they float to the top, transfer them out and into a bowl of the ginger syrup. Turn off heat and serve the black sesame dumplings immediately.