Suda was a happy accident - and a great one at that!
LiLi stumbled upon Suda when she was scanning Zomato trying to find a tapas restaurant on Hozier Lane. She was on a dinner date with a friend that wasn’t JoJo (oh dear, God forbid!) and it popped up on the sidebar luring her in. One click instantly changed her life: what was modern Korean tapas? Who even does this?
She was excited at the prospect of this food adventure and trekked from Flinders Station to Lonsdale St in the business end of town. It’s not easily seen from the street, so it took a wander down the side lane to find some random snail sign, which was home to this Korean restaurant.
The menu has a number of West-meets-East curiosities with homage to delicious, traditional Korean flavours. From pasta to pizza, bibimbab to bulgogi and burritos to burgers; she thought, “how will this even work?”. All she knew was that she needed those lotus root chips in her life if that was the last thing she ever did that night.
LiLi could not stop going on about her precious new Korean discovery and could not wait to go back and enjoy the experience all over again. So one week after LiLi's first visit, here she is again, sharing the love with JoJo.
Cut to present day and JoJo running over thirty minutes late, en route from Camberwell to the CBD whilst madly texting LiLi from her Uber ride a dozen "love you looooooong time"s and, "don't hate the player, hate the game"s.
Even though the train would have been a much more sensible mode of travel, JoJo apparently has an incurable aversion to public transport.
When she finally arrived, LiLi was seated with an unsettlingly calm look on her face (perhaps add a dash of 'murderous' too) at a table along with their friend, Rich.
First things first - drinks. It's a weekday and everyone is a little cranky. LiLi raves on and on about the sangria she had last time that was simply to die for. JoJo, having recently discovered Soju from her last KBBQ venture, was adamant that a Soju cocktail was the absolute bee's knees.
Because we couldn't settle, we got both. We don't have a problem. Maybe LiLi does though because she ordered a JUG of Sangria.
We asked for some help with the menu because it was massive and a little intimidating. Luckily for us, the staff at Suda are super friendly and do not hesitate to make personal recommendations.
Because we couldn't settle on any one thing and were looking to experience a variety of flavours to get a feel for the restaurant, we ended up going with the "Feed Me" degustation. It normally requires a minimum of four people but they ended up making an exception for us. Perhaps the staff took pity on LiLi, Rich and their bad start to the evening.
"Feed Me" is a collection of popular dishes from the menu, which in hindsight turned out to be a great introduction to Suda and is something that we would recommend.
The degustation starts off with a couple of entrées which were widely enjoyed at our table:
- Soft Tofu Green Salad
- Lotus Root Chips with chilli mayo
- Fried Tteok (rice cake) and Halloumi with plum honey, seeds and nuts
- Korean Popcorn Chicken with spring onions, chilli and peanuts
Some seriously special stuff right there.
The "KFC" was delicious and well seasoned but we all came to the consensus that the Tteok and Halloumi dish was literally heaven on a plate. Upon tasting it, immediately wondered why it wasn't already a part of our main diets. EVERYTHING on that dish worked and we couldn't help but praise each ingredient that played a part in tantalising our tastebuds.
Just as we were trying to recover from our entrées, these were planted in front of us. Like, whaaaat.
Before we proceed any further, please take a moment to admire this gorgeous spread of:
- Gorgonzola Garlic Pizza slices with sweet potato, plum honey, nuts and seeds
- Kimchi Tuna Quesadilla with kimchi salsa and sour cream
- BBQ Meatball K-Sliders
As if that wasn't enough food, we also had our main courses to get through.
Creamy Tteokbokki in creamy sauce, mushrooms and chilli
Beef Bulgogi Bibimbap
Cranky Friend Rich
Spicy BBQ Pork Bibimbap
Did we stop there? No. Have we learnt anything in the lesson of ordering way too much food? Definitely not.
Here are some Mini Yuzu Cheesecakes with peanut crumble and a berry compote to finish.
What do I love about Suda? I love the cute homely setting, their chalk wall filled with Alice in Wonderland drawings, the more than accommodating staff to our trio of clueless friends, the owner that remembered my face from the previous week, the food concept, the drink options and free Wifi.
The staff allowed us to have the "feed me" tapas special, which usually requires a minimum of 4 people and we had 3 (boo hoo to me for not having a partner). She did warn us to only have this if you're really hungry.... There is a lot of food.
I ordered a jug of Sangria... Yes a jug! It goes down like fruit juice and is one of the easiest, fruit filled concoctions to drink. It's what you need after a hard day at work. There wasn't much of an atmosphere when I arrived, though I noticed more Asian couples/families come to visit. The restaurant reminds me of visiting an old friend; you might have mismatched furniture but it's about the company you have that makes your meal fun.
Lotus root chips are a must because they are complimented with chilli mayo and who doesn't like chilli mayo? I'm not the biggest fan of tofu so the salad was hard for me to eat. From my perspective needed more dressing to drown the tofu. Popcorn chicken is popcorn chicken. There's not much to it but the added chilli gives it a good kick. The slider was what you'd expect with any burger so don't anticipate anything overly exciting. The best part of the tuna quesadilla was the dob of salsa near the crust. By the time I got to mains, I had about half of it as I was too full by this stage. I never get disappointed by Bibimbap as it has the right balance of rice, meat and veges. There was room for dessert (it came in a shot glass) and there is a cute, pleasant surprise when you get a taste - I won't ruin it for you.
The highlight of my meal was definitely the plum honey which makes me want to buy some to add to my every day meals. It was drizzled over the Garlic Gorgonzola pizza and the Tteok and Halloumi. I have to admit, these 2 dishes are the highlight of Suda so it's a must on your next visit!
I'm not actually too sure where to start! An apology to LiLi for my lateness? Nah.
I was intrigued by the Tteok I had for the entrée - I'd never had a rice cake like that. It had a soft crispy exterior but was pleasantly doughy in the centre and the plum honey and cranberries gave it a pretty interesting dimension. It's a dish I will remember for a very long time.
I unfortunately ordered too heavy a main which sent me so far into a food coma after everything else that it wasn't funny. I remember flailing in my seat when the waitress coming over beaming, "dessert?" and so, I would recommend you go with a much lighter option for your main. I will admit that the sliders were a little average but other than that, I enjoyed this set, but then again, I enjoy the concept of tapas in general.
It's apparent that the owner takes her aesthetics very seriously. The food was served with pride and the interiors were quirky! It's definitely one of those places where food and visual concept come together really well.
The Alice in Wonderland chalk drawings added an element of cheekiness to the otherwise intimate dinner setting of Suda. This place would be great for a date night or a group of friends - there were a few tables on the side for couples, but then you'd get a few larger tables throughout the room. The mismatched look added to the whole 'curious oddities' theme and hats off to Suda because it is very tastefully done without trying all that hard.
I can't end my segment without talking about Soju at a Korean restaurant. As I feel like it is my duty to spread the good word of the Soju cocktail far and wide, I implore you gentlefolk, please go and seek out the cocktails at this fine establishment. You will not regret doing so - they are ridiculously, stupidly easy to drink, not to mention insanely delicious.
Food and Drink: 4.0
Customer Service: 5.0
General Atmosphere: 3.0
Value for Money: 5.0
Food and Drink: 3.0
Customer Service: 5.0
General Atmosphere: 3.5
Value for Money: 5.0
All in all we had a pretty great experience - certainly different to the normal Korean ventures we are used to.
The "Feed Me Banquet" was a steal at $32 per person including desserts. Jo picked up her very generous "glass" of Pomegranate and Berry Soju cocktail for $7 and LiLi's jug of Sangria was $19*
*Prices are subject to change without prior notice. Please enquire for details on pricing and availability with Suda directly.