Tivoli Arcade Shop 19 & 20
235-251 Bourke St Melbourne, VIC
Warra Warra is a neat little Korean restaurant located in a small strip of eateries not many know about, tucked away in the pockets of the city. Enter Tivoli Arcade from Bourke St, go to the end, make a sharp right, and there you’ll find the laid-back little place, quietly bustling in its steady popularity.
Instead of the side dishes, a.k.a. banchan, you would normally expect to see at any Korean restaurant, we were treated to a dish of roasted and salted sunflower seeds upon sitting down.
|Beef Topokki ($17.5)|
I don’t always get enough to eat when I’m at work, and today was one of those days, so the starchy goodness of the Beef Topokki ($17.5) appealed massively. The tubes of sticky rice cake soaked up all the sweet and slightly spicy soy, and were tossed through with crunchy veggies, fish cakes, and sliced beef. It’s a flavoursome and fun dish to eat, generous in portion size, and as Chris put it, has a good deal of everything in it. It makes an easy one bowl meal on its own, but is equally good with rice and complimentary sides of kimchi and pickled onions.
|Kimchi Stew ($14.7)|
I noticed that we always end up ordering the same few dishes at Korean restaurants – a bulgogi-styled dish for Chris, and a spicy stew for me. So the Kimchi Stew ($14.7) should come as no surprise as it sputtered our way to our table with a side of rice.
|Kimchi Stew ($14.7)|
Though the pot appeared to be quite small, it was chock full with kimchi, tofu, and a satisfying amount of pork. The stew was hearty and spicy, and the ideal way to warm up from the inside out.
The mildness of Warra Warra makes for a relaxing change from the brusque bustle you’ll find at most Korean restaurants. And the smiling, helpful staff are definitely a step (or ten) up as well. Though I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly does it, Warra Warra gives off a faintly quirky vibe that sets it apart from the crowd. This is definitely one restaurant where there’s more to it than what meets the eye.
Rating: 14/20 – now hungry at 11:38pm.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.