This is a story of how three food bloggers couldn’t organise a dinner to save themselves.
Even with the three of us, we couldn’t think of anywhere we wanted to go. After racking our brains (aka Haz and I bullying the youngest into coming up with ideas) the first suggestion was shot down as we would have needed to line up.
The second suggestion didn’t open on a Sunday.
The third suggestion didn’t open on a Sunday. (Are you sensing a pattern here?)
We were all happy with the fourth suggestion (aka it was coming up to Sunday and we had to make a decision). Unfortunately, after Haz and Wince turned up outside the venue, they found that it was closed… even though it was meant to be open.
A last minute suggestion – the fifth so far, for those playing along – was packed, with zero chance of us getting in.
We ended up at Yeonga solely because it was 1: open, 2: close by, 3: had free tables. Winner winner.
Yeonga is near that part of Victoria Street across from the Queen Victoria Market that has a cluster of Korean BBQ restaurants, with at least four next to each other. Yeonga isn’t actually on Victoria Street though – it’s around the corner on Cobden Street. The cluster seems to be spreading.
The restaurant is located over two storeys, so has ample room, and inside it’s all moody dark wood. The menu has Korean BBQ banquets which are amusingly named (The Lord of the Cows, What the Pork !, I Am Marinated, The Beef Wear Prada), but they are a bit pricey at $39-$50 per person. However, there were plenty of other options so we decided against grilled meat, even though you can order meat to grill separately and not as part of a banquet.
After ordering, complimentary banchan was delivered – pickled onions, fish strips and kimchi. The fish strips in particular were delicious.
Next we had Korean dumplings ($12 for 8 pieces) with a vegetarian filling inside a fried crispy shell.
The Kimchi pancake ($17) was pretty good, though rather floppy. Still, some parts had a slight char and the pancake had a nice kimchi flavour.
This dish was sliced steamed pork with spicy noodles ($29). The pork was served cold, with the buckwheat noodles coated in a sweet, spicy, beany sauce. It was enjoyable, though the sauce was quite sweet.
Pork again – stir fried pork belly ($16) with onion, served in spicy chilli sauce. Again it was nice but on the sweet side.
Wince insisted we order the Cheese spicy chicken ($18) – pieces of chicken in a sweet-spicy sauce covered with mozzarella cheese. It was surprisingly tasty, though (this is becoming a common complaint) too sweet again. The menu says this one is hot hot hot (yes, three hots) so be warned if you can’t eat spicy food, as Wince and Gaz found it too spicy.
The spicy seafood soft tofu stew ($16) WASN’T too sweet – hooray! It included a bowl of steamed rice, and the spicy broth contained soft tofu, a bit of seafood and egg. I think I could happily live on Korean stews, I love them so much.
The boys then shared the cheesecake for dessert ($10) – unbaked cheesecake with peanut chocolate praline crunch. Well, the cheesecake looked like it had been perched was on a chocolate rice cracker or something, but the boys seemed to enjoy it.
Dinner turned out quite well for such a poorly organised night out. I did find things on the sweet side, and would have enjoyed it much more if the sugar had been dialed down. But dinner was still fun and it all turned out a-okay in the end.
Donwoori remains my favourite on that strip of Korean restaurants, but Yeonga was a good compromise.
View Off the spork in a larger map
1 Cobden St
West Melbourne / North Melbourne
Phone: 03 9326 8834