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.

In late 2014 White Kimchi opened in the space of the former Japanese restaurant Cocoro. After trading for two years it recently closed. Something new will open there next year.

white-kimchi-closed the rise and fall of Korean food on Smith St

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.

the rise and fall of Korean food on Smith St

2 thoughts on “the rise and fall of Korean food on Smith St

  • 20 December 2016 at 8:58 am
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    I never thought Smith St could support that number of Korean restaurants, but I’m surprised that they have all gone. Maybe if one of them could have toughed it out a bit longer they would have reaped the benefits of being the only Korean in the village.

    I’d be surprised if there is not a major thinning of the innumerable Japanese restaurants in the neighbourhood in the very near future..

    Reply
    • 24 December 2016 at 2:59 pm
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      Goshen was the only one for ages, and its food went downhill quite soon after it opened (when it was really quite good)
      That decline in quality was reflected in its patronage and I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.

      I noticed recently (former) Bistro K had a notice in the window saying “New Coffee Table coming” but now they’ve got another notice in the window – re-entry by the Landlord

      Reply

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