Along Victoria Street, just north of the CBD, are a few Korean restaurants lined up next to each other. It seems odd that there is such a congestion so close together but it makes it easy when one choice is packed out, you can easily move to another. Donwoori has always been on my radar after many blog reviews and since we decided to have Korean barbecue for dinner, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to sway Mr A from our usual haunt in Box Hill.
Walking past the other Korean restaurants, Donwoori is the smallest of them all so by the time we arrived, the restaurant was already half full at 6pm. Since they offer great value barbecue meat sets, we decided to go with Combo Menu A which included top grade beef rib, topside beef with salt & pepper, marinated flank beef, kimchi hot pot and 2 bowls of rice. We weren't sure of the serving sizes so we also ordered a kimchi seafood pancake.
Straight after our order was placed, we were brought out some complimentary banchan, the small dishes typically served alongside your meal at Korean restaurants. The pickled daikon and kimchi were, in particular, our favourites and with a great zingy and spicy flavour. The other banchan consisted of pickled carrots, onions & daikon and shredded spring onion with soy bean paste.
I like dipping my meat into the sesame oil sauce as the toasty flavours go well with the charred meat with a hint of salt although gochujang paste is fast becoming a favourite of mine.
The waiter brought out plates of meat to cook on our barbecue which he vigilantly attended to, cutting up the meats for us and turning over when necessary, in between servicing the now-full restaurant. The beef rib was a thin layer of meat which while it wasn't incredibly tender but still flavoursome.
The topside beef was thicker than the previous cut of meat. I wasn't able to detect a difference in flavour. We left it a bit too long on the barbecue so the last few pieces were quite dry and tough - our fault though.
The marinated flank beef was vibrant and much thinner than the topside beef. It was marinated beautifully and was best eaten still pink. This was my favourite cut of meat from the Combo Menu.
The kimchi hot pot was brought out early during our meal and left to cook on the gas stove for 10 minutes. The waiter left a timer on our table and indicated that we could turn the gas stove off and eat when the timer was up. It was a wonderful, aromatic soup - spicy and sour with chunky pieces of pork belly, tofu and kimchi which were a delicious combination.
Although the Combo Menu was more than enough to fill us, we didn't regret ordering the kimchi seafood pancake because it was so tasty. The rings of calamari were very tender and the various vegetables and kimchi were well cooked in the crispy batter. This is now my favourite Korean pancake that I have encountered so far in Melbourne.
It was a great meal that was incredibly filling and satisfying on a cold night.
Will I return? Yes, such great value for the amount of food you receive.
276 Victoria Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051
No phone number