THE smells and sounds of Korea rippled around the walls of the Cori Anna Restaurant and my lunch companion and I enjoyed the feeling of being in a world away from home.
Kimchi is a staple of Korean cooking, and the fermented cabbage features in a number of dishes on this menu.
We kicked off with kimchi dumplings ($6.50), which can be deep-fried but on the advice of our delightful waiter we opted for the traditional steamed version.
The slightly chewy wrapping of the mini-parcels concealed a delicious mix of vegetables and were wolfed down.
As was the kimchi pancake ($8) a thin, golden orb of deliciousness, with a savoury sweetness and a light texture.
An entree of vegetable and prawn tempura ($7) was pure decadence and no doubt contributed to artery hardening, but it was worth it.
I’m not sure what possessed us to order so much food, but we ploughed on, undeterred by feelings of gluttonous guilt.
There’s fried kimchi and tofu ($16.60) for a main, or spicy kimchi soup with pork ($14), but having kimchi’d out on the entree I went for the spicy stir-fried squid ($14).
The sauce was fantastic, and chilli-spluttering warm, while the squid was so tender it almost melted in my mouth.
A beef bibim-bab ($14) stopped my mate in her tracks, the huge serve of rice, beef, mushroom, fried egg, zucchini, bean sprout, spinach, carrot and sesame seed and sesame oil defying her usually loquacious description of her food.
It’s a signature Korean dish and literally means mixed rice. The various ingredients are virtually layered to be stirred through just before eating.
It came with miso soup and a trio of pickled vegetables, including—wait for it—kimchi.
Kimchi on its own as a side dish has a chilli kick that knocked us back on our seats and was treated with cautious respect thereafter.
Cori Anna is your typically low-key Asian eatery, simple decor, gentle, pleasant service with great food at ridiculous prices.
For a mere $50—I mean, come on, really—we left stuffed to the gills, and even took home a doggy bag.
by JENNY D’ANGER
Cori Anna Korean Restaurant
347 William Street, Northbridge
open 7 days 11am–9pm