Oriental Spoon

254 La Trobe St
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9654 9930

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who offered suggestions on where to go for decent Korean food in Melbourne. Oriental Spoon, it seemed, was crowd favourite and so I made a resolution to go there for lunch over the weekend. As luck would have had it, I was in the city today (okay fine, it wasn’t really “luck”, I had no choice but to haul myself to RMIT Business Library to work on my assignment which is due on Monday). Adam had an hour long lunch break which gave us a good opportunity to walk across to La Trobe St where the extremely popular canteen-like place stood.

It was just past 12pm when we arrived, so it wasn’t very busy. While the hotpot options looked oh-so-appealing, we didn’t have time for that today (and I didn’t want to go to the library smelling like smoke and meat) so we opted for individual dishes. I wouldn’t mind coming here for some hot pot action one day though.

I had their supposedly famous bibimbap with beef for $15.90 (you can also choose between chicken and tofu). It came in a cute stone bowl which was sizzling hot to the touch (I made the mistake of brushing my right index finger against the bowl which, of course, caused a slight burn). In it was a generous serving of white rice and cooked vegies. Resting on top of everything was a single egg, cooked sunnyside up. A bottle of Korean sweet chilli pepper paste was provided to spice things up a bit as well. I was instructed to mix everything up, which I did. On its own, the sweetly marinated beef tasted really good but its flavour was drowned by the rest of the ingredients and when mixed together, each spoonful rendered a bit tasteless. Tentatively, I added a bit more pepper paste which did made it taste better but I longed for a bit more sweet and beefy flavour. I don’t know whether bibimbap is actually supposed to be like that (the beef and its marinade not being tasty enough) or whether I’m just picky but I guess I’ll have to go try it somewhere else! (by the way, this was the first time I’ve had it ever. What, don’t look at me like that! )

Adam loves eels so he went for the grilled eel ($18.90). Marinated in a sweet soya sauce, the eel was chopped into pieces and roasted roasted before being served on a sizzling plate on top of a bed of beansprouts. I’m not a fan of eel at all but one bite of his eel made me go “mmmm” as it was so sweet and rich and so buttery that it fell apart in my mouth. You may also call me weird but it tasted a bit like lollies (then again, I HAVE been eating too much chocolate the last fortnight or so). Adam said that while it wasn’t extraordinary, he did feel satisfied and saw it as a “pretty decent lunch.”

10 billion little bowls of pickled vegies were also laid out on the table for us to nibble on, most of which I didn’t touch because I’m not a huge fan of kimchi (which is a shame really, because I would really love to like it ). I did manage to nibble on some fermented tofu and some nori pieces before the waitress asked us if we would like any more sides (presumably, they were free) to which we said no because we were full anyway. With 15 minutes left til the end of Adam’s lunchbreak, we got up and paid for our meal ($38.10, including drinks) and out we went. I really liked the cleanliness of the place. I really liked the friendly and attentive wait staff (they weren’t all brutuses so I don’t know what Joe was on about!). And while I don’t think that it was THE best Korean restaurant in Melbourne, at least it restored my faith in Korean food!

Oh and if you were wondering how my assignment-ing session went, well… let’s just say that I DID manage to get work done which is always a good thing. I was hoping to finish everything off by 5pm (closing time) but alas it didn’t happen . Apparently some poor kid’s laptop got stolen at the library this afternoon while they ducked out for 30 seconds to look for a book which prompted one of the libraries to run around and tell people to watch their belongings at all times. Having to pack up Adam’s heavy Powerbook numerous times (i.e. when I wanted to go to the bathroom or when I needed to find a book) and setting everything up again definitely wasn’t fun… hmmmrph.

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  1. OH with the bibimap, I think it’s best to use the gochujjang (the red pepper paste)with it. It’s not optional! Otherwise you would end up with tasteless spoonful of rice (like you did). I know, because I’ve watched endless amounts of Korean drama, and that’s how they eat it! So yeah, not recommended for people who cannot eat spicy food! But it was awesome right? :)The grilled eel looks awesome! :DOh, with the korean banchans (the side dishes), they are usually free! I’ve never been charged for it, so yeah. But the best side dish you’ve got to try would be the syrup potatoes! It’s so yummy!Well well well.. another theft happening in RMIT library. It’s not surprising at all. I hear those stories all the time, and the librarians sticks up caution notes, but no-one really bothers! Actually there was one particular time where I was working on my group corp accounting assignment where I went to lunch with one of my friend, while the other friend stayed back to look after our stuff. During that time, she actually left both my macbook and my friends laptop at the desk on its own, while she went and made a phone call!!! OH EM GEE! and she came back and found stick it notes stuck to my macbook. The sticky note was from the librarian, and it said “You are very foolish to leave your laptop alone”O_O. Needless to say, I take my laptop with me when I have lunch now, even if someone offers to look after it!

  2. That’s a bit pricey for a Bibimbap I reckon. There’s a Korean place or two on Latrobe St where it is in the 8.50 – 10 bucks range, likewise for the other crappy Korean places in Box Hill.I take it it was a crappy Bibimbap as well? Because the ones I have in BXH and in the city are pretty bland as well after mixing!!!LOL Bibimbap to me is Vietnamese Rice with Pork and Egg (Com Tam) in a stone pot bowl thingy. And the Vietnamese one has more flavour!

  3. I think Oriental spoon IS a bit pricey. I didn’t get to reply ur question last time. The korean garden restaurant in clayton is not visible from the station but is walking distance. It’s off Clayton road on Centre Road. Give it a try if you happen to be there. Price is obviously more reasonable.

  4. Hmm…seems like they jacked up the prices…When I first when there, their Bibimbap was less that $10. O_o And I also agree with what everyone says here about the chilli sauce. The first time trying it I was a noob so to call and it was rather tasteless and then the next time, you put a generous amount in, its not as spicy as you may think =], the bibimbap tastes much better. You may not want to try one of their noodle soups though…The chilli really makes your eyes water. T_T

  5. How come it was $15 when i bought it at lunchtime at Oriental Spoon it was either 8.50 or 9.50. Its usually 15 for dinner menu but the same dish is cheaper on the lunch menu.

  6. @peach_water – Yeah, I was reluctant to put so much of that pepper paste because the bibimbap would have been the first thing I ate for the day (went straight to the city without any breakie), so I didn’t want to risk a stomach ache. Ahh well, I’ll remember for next time.@icesabre – Haha I laughed at your comparison… I guess I could see some similarities. I wonder which country copied who…@fipar20 – @I_Luv_Cocacola –  Yeah, I think that the $9-10 lunch special only applies on weekdays because everyone else was handed the “normal menu.” I’ll remember that for next time…

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