Gu-E Brunswick caught our eye a few months ago while driving up Sydney Road. Despite the increase in restaurants and bars in Brunswick over the past few years, on thing that has remained the same is the lack of good Asian food in the area. When we saw that a Korean restaurant had opened up, we knew we had to check it out.
Walking inside, the fitout is very on trend with exposed brick and metal, concrete walls and large Korean prints on the walls. The atmosphere is funky and friendly, with a diverse crowd ranging from younger and older groups to singles and families.
Gu-E is a Korean term that is used to describe grilled dishes that contain meat as their primary ingredient. Unsurprisingly, grilled meats feature heavily on the menu which contains a mixture of familiar Korean dishes such as bulgogi, kimchi and bibimbap as well as dishes like steamed buns, grilled skewers and stews.
There are a number of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks on offer, including a quite decent list of wine and cocktails. One of the surprises of the night were the home made non-alcoholic fruit ales, such as this lightly carbonated grape-ade that was made fresh and contained real grapes.
Mushroom Buns ($13.00 for 2)
The mushroom buns were one of the favourite things that we ate at Gu-E. The steamed buns were light and fluffy and there was just the right proportion of filling to bread. The filling contained stir fried king oyster, shitake mushrooms & fried kimchi with a great balance of flavours.
K.F.C. – Korean Fried Chicken ($18.00)
The Korean fried chicken is something that’s become quite popular in Melbourne over the past year and we were intrigued by Gu-E’s offering of 3 different kinds of fried chicken. It was the coating, rather than any sauce which distinguished the 3 flavours – sweet chilli, garlic soy & original.
Our favourite was the sweet chilli, which had a great flavour to it. The garlic soy was also quite nice however the original fell flat and really did require a sauce of some kind. The chicken itself was moist and tender and the coating was crispy and not too greasy.
Traditional Kimchi ($2.00)
The traditional kimchi was very tasty and had the nice pickled flavour that we like in a good kimchi however we were surprised by the lack of heat. It had a slight kick to it, but wasn’t particularly hot.
Beef Bulgogi ($18.00)
The beef bulgogi was really tasty with a combination of beef with broccoli, onion, carrot, bean shoots & red capsicum. It came to our table still sizzling and steaming and when the time came to eat it, the sweet marinade and the slightly charred bits of meat combined beautifully. Stir this dish if you order it – at first we were disappointed at the lack of beef but then realised that most of it was at the bottom and had gotten stuck to the pan due to stone pot cooking process. These bottom bits were actually the tastiest!
While Gu-E might not serve up the best or the most authentic Korean food that we’ve tried in Melbourne, the food was nonetheless tasty and our experience pleasant, making Gu-E a welcome addition to the area.
51 Sydney Road
Mon – Sun: 7:30am to 9:00pm