Good news, South Melbourne. A new lunch hour legend has opened, serving sweet fluffy snow and plenty of pickles
You just can’t go wrong with Korean right now. The city is filled with the fragrant funk of fermented cabbage, and we’re chuffed that it is. Patbingsoo is the latest Seoul-loving venue to join the fray, jazzing up the entrance to the York Street Safeway complex with kombucha tea and K-pop.
It's a beautiful room – all sleek tiles, Korean newspaper wallpaper with the cross secion of a tree trunk braced to the wall acting as an undulating bench. Still, behind the plate glass frontage it looks little more than a smash-and-grab café – and it does serve that purpose. They sell golden little egg tarts and lattes made on Industry Beans. They also do a handful of takeaway lunch boxes packing chilled, creamy tempura tofu or crumbed trout croquettes with many shades of pickles and sesame-flecked soba. They’re good, but you’re a fool if you don’t dine in.
From chef Kim-Maree Moore's full menu you can order one of the prettiest bibimbaps in town – a stoneware bowl of rice peppered with black sesame and an egg yolk with a second platter of pork bulgogi (spicy-sweet sizzled meat) and all your favourite veg turned pickles including kale. It's those vegetables, embracing all styles of preservation, that make this place. Cucumber spears are chilled sticks of crunch with a fiery chilli kicker giving them icy-hot appeal. Then there's the ferment funk of the kimchi, the delicacy of sweet vinegary enoki mushrooms and the subtle brininess of the kale.
For maximum freshness, order the ssam parcels where you’ll be furnished with thin tongues of juicy charred wagyu with all of the above, plus a bowl of crisp baby cos lettuce and glossy, grassy-tasting perilla leaves. The idea is to make fresh little DIY wraps.
In other news, they’re soon to start pumping out their namesake bingsoo – a classic Korean dessert of milky shaved ice, topped with fresh fruits, jellies and sweet red bean paste. They’ve imported a special machine, which apparently churns out an incredibly fluffy, almost dry milk snow, to be topped with the likes of coconut sago, kaffir lime marshmallows and pomegranate jelly. Soju cocktails and dinner service is on the agenda when the liquor license comes in. For now, it’s the ‘Gangnam fries’ pulling us back for more – a $9 boatload of hot crunchy chips, swamped with sour cream, green onions and the fiery funk of kimchi and a red pepper sauce. Get in for a hot serve of fun.
|Venue name:||Patbingsoo (closed)||Contact:|
128 York St