Monday, March 31, 2014


Finally tried out Joomak on a friend's recommendation.

Joomak is located just north of Melbourne Central and can be a little hard to's hiddne down some stairs in the basement of the building.

The inside has an 'izakaya' type feel, despite not being Japanese. Just inside the entrance there are two small tables designed more as seating for drinks than for a proper meal. Private booths line the hallway leading into the main restaurant area, with round wooden tables and wooden stools on one side, and a long bar down the other.

We haven't booked, so get seated at the small tables to make our orders before eventually being moved to a proper table that frees up just in time as our food arrives.

We get a little carried away with the ordering, partly because Teapot is under a misapprehension that 'share dishes' in every other cuisine are as small as they are for Spanish tapas, and partly because I just think she's super hungry.

too much food?

And to top it off, we order two mango rice wine cocktails, which end up arriving in a giant bowl with a ladle and two small rice bowls to drink from.

mango rice wine
corn and cheese
The 'corn and cheese' is the first to arrive. Kernels of sweet pop-in-the-mouth juicy goodness are piled onto a miniature sizzling plate, loaded with mozzarella cheese and grilled until the cheese melts all over the corn. It may sound a little weird, but the cheese is stringy like on a good pizza and works surprisingly well with the fresh bursts of sweetness from the corn.

fried chicken
The fried chicken is crispy and well seasoned, but it's just fried chicken and nothing Korean about it barring the two sauces on the side - a soy garlicky one and a sweet chilli. The soy garlic does the job for me.

kimchi and pork pancakes

The pancake is crisp and not too heavy. The kimchi flavour seems to have been lost in the batter so it tastes more like a cabbage pancake than kimchi. The pork is used sparingly and doesn't have much flavour. Not the greatest pancake I've had, but eating it with the complimentary side of uncooked kimchi does compensate for the missing flavour.

beef bulgogi

The beef bulgogi is served in a small clay pot like the ones used for single serve soups, rather than a iron sizzling plate as I'm used to. The beef is still thinly sliced, and sits in a light bulgogi broth with onions and some potato noodles. I find it's a little too soupy for my looking, particularly as it's lacking that smokey chargrilled flavour and aroma that is typical of Korean BBQ (and which could have been achieved by serving on a sizzling plate).

cheese egg roll
The cheese egg roll is the least impressive dish for me as it just tastes just like an egg pancake, stuffed with cheese and rolled up, then covered with tomato sauce. There's nothing special about it for me, a little on the bland side, and I tend to be more critical when ketchup is used as a major seasoning base.

Service is reasonably quick despite it being very busy. The wait staff are polite, friendly and responsive. The food is good and that mango rice wine is definitely worth a revisit.

Overall impression: 7/10
Joomak on Urbanspoon

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