520 Macaulay Rd
Kensington, VIC 3031
03 9939 9679
Ginger Soju Cocktail $10 | 2 Brothers Kung Foo Rice Lager $9.5
I heard about this place from Kenny, who’d suggested that the Korean Fried Chicken here is the real deal. I chuckled a bit over the name of the establishment, but eventually found myself having dinner here with Castletime and Beanstalk.
We arrived to find the place very packed for a Wednesday night, I’m glad we booked! The space was new and trendy with dim lighting, wood tables and a warm industrial motif. Looking at how quiet the rest of Macaulay Rd is in the nighttime, I can understand why this is a popular goto spot for dinner amongst the residents in Kensington.
Korean Army Stew $36
While the menu did have a number of one-dish options (including a delicious sounding Beef Bulgogi Burger), we decided to order a few big dishes to share amongst us. First up was a serve of army stew, a dish that Fatbee and I have grown to enjoy lately. Those of you who aren’t fans of canned and processed food will not enjoy this… ever. It’s because this stew features tinned rations that were introduced by the US Army during the Korean War. I’m talking about SPAM, baked beans, cocktails sausages… all bubbling paradoxically in a spicy Korean hotpot with kimchi, mushrooms and noodles.
Frying Colour’s version was a little different in that it was served without a heat source and they used instant (ramen?) noodles instead of sweet potato noodles (although I hear that instant noodles is how the Koreans originally did it). The broth was on the lighter side than the army stews that I’ve had at other Korean places, leading me to think that it might be a slightly Westernised offering. But calling it fusionised sounds a bit wrong considering the dish itself came about from Western influences during the Korean War.
FC Fried Chicken Half Original / Half Sweet Soy $34
Next up was the much talked-about serve of KFC (Korean Fried Chicken). I admit that Frying Colours does a pretty fine rendition of Fried Chicken here, with perfectly crisp outsides and beautifully succulent insides. I also liked how the layer of batter on the outside wasn’t too thick, and the seasonings were done sensibly so as not to interfere with the enjoyment of the chicken flesh itself.
I personally ended up liking the sweet soy flavour a bit more than the original because the sweetness wasn’t overpowering and the soy gave it a nice umami lift. I’ve had lots of places with Korean Fried Chicken in Melbourne now, and I’m glad to say that there are two places where I actually enjoy their KFC: Chimac and Frying Colours.
FC Mixed Grill $43
Scotch Fillet, Marinated Pork Belly, Chicken Thigh with Salad
Our final shared dish was a mixed grill platter with three meat selections of our choice. Frying Colours has decided to forgo the use of the traditional Korean BBQ setup, saving you from sitting in a thick cloud of meat smoke in the restaurant. Instead, the concept is: your meats are grilled to perfection for you in the kitchen and then served on a platter.
The grilled offerings, especially the blushingly pink beef, was of good quality… but Fatbee and I personally think that it’s not quite the same thing to having your meats sizzling (and caramelising) right in front of you on a Korean BBQ that’s heated by charcoal fire. Somehow, just seeing this platter made me feel as if I was in a Greek restaurant having grilled meats with crudités and Asian condiments… ha ha!
Overall, I think the food quality here is good… especially the fried chicken, although some of the other dishes can be a little bit ‘Westernised’. And now that I know that about this place, for my next visit I’m probably going to sample their burgers and bibimbaps along with a greedy serve of more delicious fried chicken!