Frying Colours is a modern Korean restaurant in Kensington and it’s a dream come true and a labour of love by Min Hui Lee and his partner Robert. Min is the Korean chef and designer of the restaurant and Robert helps out at the front of house when he’s not at his day job. Together they present delicious food in relaxed surroundings.
Min was a designer in a former life and the restaurant is handsomely fitted out. There is lots of wood and concrete with elements of industria and I particularly liked the built-in waiter’s station.
My first impression of Frying Colours was the incredible hospitality they showed to our party when we turned up with diners ranging from a 9 month old baby to my parents in their 60s. They didn’t blink an eye, helping us settle in with two high chairs, packing prams in the corner and getting food to the table quickly.
Granted, I was lucky enough to win lunch at Frying Colours (through Facebook no less!) but I got the feeling that everyone’s warm and welcoming manner was genuine and not just because I’d won a competition. They also didn’t know that I wrote a blog until I started using my camera.
We let the kitchen decide what to serve us and boy did they create a feast.
To start we were presented with two plates of dumplings – kimchi dumplings with a soft silken skin and soy and sesame dipping sauce ($8) and steamed pork dumplings more suitable for gentler palates ($8).
Next up were some tender deep fried calamari ($16) which fooled the kids into thinking they were eating chips. The adults dunked them in some fiery gochujang and everyone was happy.
The pork belly and kim chi stew was hearty and hot and perfect for the winter’s day. It’s a huge bowl though so it won’t leave you much room to try anything else. Even shared between 4 adults we couldn’t finish it.
The vegetarian bibimbap ($16) came out sizzling in a hot stone bowl and was generously heaped with a neat fan of vegetables and a wobbly egg yolk in the middle.
It was an excellent rendition of the dish though next time I’d leave it in the bowl for longer before mixing so that there was more of the crusty rice bottom to scrape up.
If you like Korean barbecue then the FC Mixed Grill is the dish to order ($40). You can pick three out of five different meats and we were given chicken thigh, marinated scotch fillet cooked medium and pork belly. The ridges from the flame grill were branded on the meat and imparted everything with a smoky charred flavour without losing any of the meat’s juiciness.
Korean cuisine is famous for their fried chicken and at Frying Colours you can choose your fried chicken with original, spicy or sweet soy ($19-32). The chicken didn’t lose any juiciness from the frying and the crispy batter was just right in terms of thickness and crunch. We took some leftovers home and reheated them in the oven and they were still very moist (with some steamed rice and the leftover kimchi – fantastic!).
If you can handle the heat then I recommend the spicy version as the gochujang gives the dish a less KFC, more Korean flavour.
For sides my pick is the wasabislaw ($5), a piquant and fresh counterpoint to all the frying and grilling. Except for the kimchi of course, for you must try it.
Min makes all the kimchi based on his grandmother’s recipe and he started the fermentation process for the first batch of kimchi 6 months before opening the restaurant. We tried two versions – a traditional cabbage and a cooling cucumber kimchi, both served in cute mason jars (ask whether you can take the rest of it home!). Both versions were well balanced with the flavours of soy, bean paste and chilli all distinguishable without any of the flavours being overpowering.
An hour passed and the kids started getting restless. The adults were still working their way through the feast so I asked Robert whether they had any dessert. He replied that there was no dessert menu (yet) but he had some ice creams upstairs we could have. Not thinking, I said yes, only then realising that he was giving Drumsticks to my children from the personal stash in his house upstairs! While I was very embarrassed by my request I was very impressed that he went above and beyond to ensure that everyone enjoyed their meal.
I really loved the food and atmosphere at Frying Colours. It’s evident that everything has been done with care and they go out of their way to ensure that everyone has a good time. Robert kept repeating that they loved having kids come in and make a mess. So I’m sure we’ll be back as a family to do just that!
Just note that they take bookings but leave some tables for walk-ins as they want the place to become a favourite for locals – and there’s nothing worse than walking down to your local to find it so packed you can’t get in.
Frying Colours, 520 Macaulay Road, Kensington (03) 9939 9679
Mon-Fri 12pm – 2.30pm and 5.30pm – 9pm, Sat 12pm – 10pm