I must admit, Suda was a great find. A small modern Korean restaurant serving tapas dishes and more, this place is everything a small and unique restaurant should be.
It’s located on a laneway in the quieter end of the city, just off Lonsdale St. Healeys Lane has a strip of eateries to choose from and Suda’s cosy decor and warm atmosphere make a good bid for customers.
My first visit was on a Thursday night, and business was quite steady with their largest table reserved. There’s only about four-five larger tables and a few smaller ones for two, so I’d suggest booking in case. There is also an L-shaped bench in the corner.
Owner of Suda, Kayoung Alice, was such a great host that I came back for a second visit. She is playful and talkative, and said her restaurant had only been open for about two-three months.
She encouraged us to try modern Korean dishes that young Korean people eat, rather than traditional dishes such as bibimbap, which we were about to order. She made a good point – so we followed her advice.
I enjoyed her passion for this modern cuisine, which was a refreshing change from other common Korean restaurants. Both my visits and her Instagram page prove many young Koreans frequent the restaurant, thus this culture seems prominent.
Due to my two visits, I’ll be comparing dishes from both experiences.
Drinks – menu
Suda has a drinks menu full of reasonable prices. For example their soju cocktails are only $6 compared to $17 at Joomak. However, it is a only a tall glass at Suda, whereas Joomak is a small jug. Still, if you were only after a drink or two, Suda would be great.
As I was driving, and I liked the sound of their iced teas, I went with a plum mint iced tea ($4, above). They brew these flavours earlier in the day so the drink comes out quickly. You have to stir a bit for the plum and mint to combine, but these ingredients seem to really compliment each other.
Alice also kindly provided two complimentary glasses of their own sangria, which she insisted was mild. I still let my friend have both and she enjoyed it as it wasn’t as strong as your typical sangria. I find this a good trait, because I personally dislike the wine-like taste of sangria. A jug of Suda’s sangria would only cost you $19.
My second visit, I felt the need to try another combination of flavours. Once again the designated driver for the night, I went with an orange yuzu ade ($4.50, top left). I was told yuzu is another citrusy fruit. Somehow my drink still tasted alcoholic, so I’m not sure if that was a result of the yuzu or what they use for the ades.
Meanwhile, my friend had a lemon ginger soju cocktail ($6, top right) which looked nice and easy to drink. I remember my lychee cocktail at Joomak was quite strong, so if I was after something light to have alongside dinner, this would be suitable for a laidback night.
Tapas – dinner menu
Suda is quite proud of its unique Korean tapas menu, and its understandable when you have a read through. We were curious as to what the kimchi fritters ($10, below) would taste like and how it would come served.
Upon questioning Alice, she was happy to provide us a complimentary half-serve, so the above picture is not a full serve. They were pretty much fried balls of goodness, full of compressed calamari and kimchi and steaming hot inside.
The second time, I was eager to try the mini burgers. There is a tofu burger and also a tteok-galbi (like a beef patty/meatball) burger ($4.50 each), which both demonstrate different flavours.
The tofu burger has your familiar taste of kimchi, whilst the tofu itself was a large juicy chunk. It’s not bland and seems marinated or cooked in something that provides a bit more flavour.
The tteok-galbi immediately had my friend’s approval. It was so tender and beautifully demonstrated the power of Korean marinated food. I’d say this burger was the winner for our tapas dishes and is a must order.
When we were dissuaded from bibimbap which “you can order anywhere”, the Korean pasta section caught our eye and seemed worth a try.
We went with the beef bulgogi pasta ($15, above) with shitake mushroom and shredded egg. I loved the presentation of it and it definitely exemplified this modern Korean cuisine.
The beef at Suda seems to be a standout, so any dish including it is a safe choice. We also ordered the fried beef udon ($12, below) the second time, which was a bit saucier served with sweet soy. Both dishes had a bit of a chilli for those who like a bit of spice.
I prefer the pasta, as it feels lighter so you have more room to enjoy the beef, whereas the udon reminds me more of Chinese takeaway restaurants. The udon wasn’t part of the pasta menu but I felt it was suitable to compare with.
Another dish on the pasta menu, but more rice based, was the tteok-galbi and kimchi gratin ($16). I’d seen this one on the Instagram and became attracted by the cheesy goodness. The cheese covers the top whilst underneath you’ll find some spicy, kimchi rice.
It’s served with only two pieces of tteok-galbi, which I cut into smaller pieces and mixed it with the rice. I enjoyed this dish mainly because of the layer of cheese. My friend who is not a fan of red Korean sauces preferred the beef udon.
The other dishes I tried include the crumbed seafood pancake ($13, below). I liked the thickness of the pancake and the use of bread crumbs. You do need a bit of the sauce for the more batter-y parts of the pancake and it does have a lot of spring onion, so if you don’t like them, steer clear!
Due to the cold weather lately, I also gave into the tempation of the spicy tteokboki soup ($15, below) or spicy ricecakes. It also came with an interesting side of dumplings, a prawn and an egg.
The stew was a medium level of spicy and had a good amount of tteokboki to satisfy my hunger. The other two soups sound appetising too – slow cooked pork belly with kimchi or tofu and seafood soup sound like they’ll be on my list for next time.
If you know me, you’ve probably already heard me rave about how cute this place is and how friendly the owner is. I love the different experience and I’m glad I can see them getting more popular. Last Friday almost all the tables seemed reserved.
I am yet to figure out their fascination with snails, but its provides a nice quirk to the decor. It’s also admirable that Alice embraces social media for her restaurant even though English is not her first language. I remember her confessing that she found Instagram quite confusing, but to me she seems to be getting the hang of it.
You’ll find from their social media that Suda often holds small functions too. Alice also runs a blog in Korean and mentions that many Korean friends or partners like to show it and translate to other people. If you’re one of those people, click here.
Suda is located at 550 Lonsdale St, but you will need to turn into Healeys Lane and spot their sign. They are open Mon-Sat for lunch and dinner until 11pm and only for dinner on Sundays.
You might need to check with them for specific times as Urbanspoon, Facebook and their menu say slightly different things.