I’m finishing up the year by completing some slow developing stories and cleaning out the archives of unused material.
For many years long-time survivor Goshen was the only Korean restaurant in the middle of the Japanese precinct along and around Smith St on the Fitzroy / Collingwood border. I first ate there before I started writing Fitzroyalty, hence the lack of a review here. It was reviewed in the Age in 2005.
Goshen closed in 2015 and reopened, or was rebranded, as Mr Bulgogi, but that only lasted about six months before it closed again. The space is now Stop 17 cafe.
In 2013 Bistro K opened, and was popular for a while, then declined and closed in late 2016. It was possibly too far north, away from the main dining precinct, part of the gentrification forces north of Johnston St (like Teriyaki Anarchy Sake and Craft and Co), but that means less passing trade. A new cafe is soon to open in this space.
Why has the Korean trend failed to establish itself in this area? I’m perplexed.
Presumably coincidently, Pho 54 Mandalay Bay, a Vietnamese restaurant on Brunswick St, recently closed for refurbishment (I initially assumed it had shut down) but then reopened with the same name but refitted inside with table mounted Korean BBQ equipment.
This is probably a mis-step, but perhaps it is a canny business decision? Without a rebrand and some good marketing, however, to explain it and to avoid confusing potential customers, I can’t see it working.