A Korean restaurant in a Melbourne city car park? Strange but true, the first surprising thing about Seoul Metro is that it is located through the same entrance as a Lonsdale Street car park. The second strange thing is that given its weird location it is so much better than you’d expect.
When you enter the restaurant it’s actually quite nice, done with an appreciation that restrained and simple can mean stylish and comfortable. Service is good, welcoming and polite. While I was expecting that it would be very quiet with us potentially the only customers, within minutes of our arrival it was around two thirds full so the word has obviously got around of a newish place worth visiting.
There are a range of lunchtime options available with Bureaucrat opting for the beef bulgogi while I chose the prawn tempura udon. Bureaucrat was also curious to try the rice cake skewers, something she had seen on menus before but that neither of us had tried.
With nicely cooked beef a little more tender than most of the bulgogis we have tried and generous enough in size that even with my help she was struggling to finish, Bureaucrat proclaimed herself more than satisfied with her choice. I was pleased with my main too. One of the major issues I have with tempura soups is that the batter usually goes soggy in the soup. While that did happen to some extent here, particularly with the potato tempura (but not so much the prawn), I was mollified by the perfectly cooked noodles. These hit that al dente mark, tender but still firm enough to add a bit of texture when being eaten. The soup was pretty good too.
The rice cake skewers were certainly not what we were expecting although that’s probably because we’d never ordered them before. Bureaucrat was expecting something like the fried turnip cake you get as dim sum, and well, I was expecting skewers. Instead these were more like tofu chips, with the texture and taste vaguely similar to potato chips. They even came slathered in their own tomato sauce! Despite doing my head in a little they were good, at least until they started to get a little cold. When luke warm I found them a bit ‘gluggy’.
The thing which did my head in the most though was all the K-Pop posters you walk past before you get to the café. Well that and the fact that they inspired one of us to imitate the pose struck by the singers in one poster. I’ll give you a clue as to which one of us it was, it wasn’t me. You just can’t take some people anywhere…
[You'd be glad to know that I haven't quit my day job - Bureaucrat]
Cheap, cheerful, tasty, good service, Seoul Metro is another of those places that it’s really hard to find anything not to like. I think the fairest description is that it does a very good job at everything without standing out in anything.
Food – 7.5
Service – 7.5
Ambience – 7.5
Price – 7.5
380 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9078 3778