Here I have been waiting, waiting waiting. Waiting for the Melbourne foodie blogosphere to discover my newest secret lunch and dinner spot, my newest food love. I thought that despite it’s hidden location, word would have to get out. SURELY. Food this good doesn’t stay a secret in this town. They would come. I had faith.
I waited MONTHS.
I scrolled through all my favourite blogs. I looked at the trendsetter foodie blogs, run by folks with their noses to the ground and their fingers on the mayo-filled pulse. Not even the slug-a-beds at the printed press had a whisper. Not a word.
Maybe folks just don’t get as excited by good Korean food as I do. Or maybe the tricky location is the reason! Whatever it is, this grave injustice MUST BE RECTIFIED.
So, let me introduce you to Warra Warra Korean Kitchen.
I was first introduced to Warra Warra about a month after it opened by my friend Julian, who is the best kind of friend because he facilitates new Korean food experiences. When was the last time your friends took you out for bibimbap? Never? GET RID OF THEM. With it’s handy location close to work, I was very excited to have potentially delicious Korean food within lunch break walking distance.
Head down the Tivoli Arcade from Bourke Street right to the end where you come out onto Rainbow Alley, turn right, and you will find Warra Warra in the second storefront on the right. It’s a super cute place, with three long outdoor tables (this is where barbequing happens, if that is your Korean cuisine jam), before you head inside into the bright interior. The staff are enormously friendly and attentive, with often the owner himself looking after you.
After being seated (with a complimentary little bowl of spicy pumpkin seeds), I normally go straight into ordering the tofu bibimbap, because bibimbap is where it’s at. I have rhapsodised previously about how bibimbap is the perfect meal, and Warra Warra dish up a pretty damn good version, filled with many vegies and tofu and the glowing orb of egg yolk that sits on top just asking you to pop it and sizzle against the hot stone bowl. Make sure you put plenty of Korean chilli sauce on top before you mix it all up – some Korean restaurants skew their chilli sauce too much towards the sweet side of the spectrum to appease Western palates, but Warra Warra rides a nice balance between sweet and proper spicy heat.
Loving bibimbap as much as I do, I find it hard to stray to other things on the menu, but I’ve manged to try a few of Warra Warra’s other vegie dishes. The jabchae – stir-fried sweet potato noddles with vegies – is a lot more saucy than I’ve come to expect the dish to be, but is still delicious and is served with a little mound to rice to soak up the excess. The vegetable pancake is a huge meal, filled with all kinds of fried vegetable goodness and served with a wee bit of salad to give you a slight aura of health. Non-vegetarian wise, most of the friends I’ve dined with who haven’t gone with bibimbap have gravitated towards bulgogi, particularly the beef, and have heartily enjoyed them. Combined with the complimentary banchan dishes, which can include kimchi and various types of pickled vegetables, dinner is a solid proposition here.
For those working in the city hunting for a good lunch, Warra Warra has cheap deals on bibimbap, bulgogi and soups, and a food bar where you can build together a lunch out of all sorts of little savoury treats, where there’s PLENTY of vegie options, like tofu steaks and seaweed salad and pickles and crispy sweet potato.
I honestly can’t encourage you enough to look into Warra Warra sooner rather than later. It’s the sweetest place, and it deserves a large and loyal patronage. So put on a big parka and meet me at Warra Warra for some bibimbap and a jug of soju, and we’ll all pretend we’re in a Hong Sang-soo film.
Warra Warra Korean Kitchen
Shop 19 & 20 Tivoli Arcade
235-251 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD
Ph: 9662 2077