400 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9670 3323
It’s been a while since I’ve seen Linda so when she told me that she was leaving for a month-long trip to Vietnam (jelly!), we decided to catch up before she flew off. Linda loves Korean food and funnily enough, I had been craving Korean that day so we decided to head over to Yami Yami in the city.
Now, it was Linda who first took me to Yami Yami’s first restaurant in Box Hill all these years ago. Since then, I’ve yet to find a Korean restaurant in Melbourne that consistently serves great Korean at a reasonable price (funnily enough, the best Korean I’ve had is up on the Gold Coast). And while Box hill is only a 10-minute drive from my house, I don’t actually go there or go past there all that often, so eating there is a irregular event. Thus, when I heard that Korean restaurant Flying Chicken was going to turn into Yami Yami’s second restaurant, I was excited.
On the night we went, it was miserably cold and pissing down rain. It was the kind of weather that, in hindsight, would have been perfect for hot pot or even a haemul tang (Korean seafood soup) to share. Instead, we decided on our respective proteins of choice, beef for me and fish for her.
But first, dumplings! We always order mandoo (Korean dumplings) when we are at a Korean restaurant and Yami Yami’s ones are reliably pretty good. $8 gives you eight decent-sized pieces of crispy dumplings filled with a lovely pork and glass noodle filling.
We don’t normally get miso soup at Korean restaurants but for some reason, we got one each. No complaints here – it was free, after all.
We do, however, get condiments/side dishes/whatever you like to call them at most, if not all Korean restaurants. On that night, we got pickled bean shoots, kim chi and sweet potatoes.
I had a bowl of dolsot bibimbap ($13.50), my default dish when I eat at Korean restaurants. I never got to ordering this dish on my visits to the Box Hill restaurant so I was keen to see if it was any good – and it was. They were generous with the marinated beef pieces and the sautéed vegetables, and the pepper sauce that blends it all together, rice and all and all, was flavoursome and not too pepper-y.
Meanwhile, Linda ordered the teriyaki salmon ($17). To have a Japanese-inspired dish available at a Korean restaurant struck me as odd but to order it in the first place did make me go, ‘Uh, Linda, teriyaki? Why?’ She told me that when she first took her Caucasian boyfriend to Yami Yami, he didn’t know what to order so he ordered the salmon despite her protests, and it turned out to be so good that the dish has become somewhat of a default dish for her. Too bad, then, that the salmon didn’t taste ‘as good as it normally is’ on the night. We both agreed that while the salmon was cooked beautifully, the sauce was too sweet.
And if that wasn’t enough protein, we decided to split a sizzling plate of beef bulgogi ($15). If we thought the teriyaki salmon was sweet, then the beef bulgogi was pretty much like eating a soft serve cone from McDonalds. Not only that, but the beef was stringy and tough and had a really bad smell. We didn’t bother finishing it.
Yami Yami’s CBD restaurant may not be as good as the Box Hill restaurant but they still do a pretty mean bibimbap in my opinion so I’ll be going back if I feel like a post-work bibimbap. I will, however, avoid the other two main dishes we ordered that night and order double servings of dumplings instead.