Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Flying Chicken

When the craving for the good kind of KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) hits on a Saturday night, and you have a large group to squeeze in, the usual places like Gami just aren't suitable. Without a doubt, they do the best KFC in the Melbourne CBD, but there was no chance they'd be able to fit in all seven of us.

So the search began for a decently sized Korean restaurant that would satisfy our cravings, and Flying Chicken (aka Yami Yami) fit the brief perfectly. We were a little slow getting to our reservation, and although the waiter had appropriately given our table away, we were happy to wait in the warm and busy restaurant until another became available. This also meant we had time to discuss dietary requirements with the staff, so it was a blessing in disguise. The waiter/chefs were really accommodating with excluding all nuts, sesame, and sesame oil from the dishes. That was a load off our minds knowing that one of us wasn't going to go into anaphylactic shock at dinner. Once we were seated however, the food came out quickly enough to placate our rumbling bellies.

To start with, we had the not-quite-Korean but very much necessary order of Takoyaki. In fact, we had four orders of the dish, but who's counting? We like our Takoyaki after all.

These didn't impress me with their low octopus to flour ratio, but at least they had the right balance of sauce. Every Takoyaki dish I try I mentally compare to the amazing ones that you can get at street side vendors in Hong Kong (I haven't been to Japan yet), and so far all of them have been lacking. My takoyaki high standards are likely to be colouring my opinion of this dish, so I guess they weren't too bad after all.

The non-impressed, but still decent vibe carried over to the Don Katsu dish.

Don Katsu
The pork was tender enough, but the coating wasn't as crispy as I expected. The dish really just wasn't that interesting. The two side dishes I found much more agreeable however.

Steamed Egg
I grew up eating a lot of steamed egg, and while this dish isn't as good as the version my father makes, I was glad it was on the menu and that they did a good job of it. Soft and silky, the egg is lightly steamed and flavoured and makes a satisfying accompaniment to both chicken and rice. What impressed me even more however, was the small bowl of Kimchi Soup that arrived at the table.

Kimchi Soup
The broth was slightly sour and slightly spicy and all together very rich, nutritious and delicious. What else could you ask for really? The noodle at the bottom added substance, but really, it was the kimchi itself that was the star of this dish. If there's one thing a Korean restaurant should do well, it's kimchi, and Flying Chicken nailed this dish.

When deciding what to order for mains, we couldn't go past the restaurant specialty: Chun Cheon Spicy BBQ Chicken.
Chun Cheon Spicy BBQ Chicken
This dish is recommended to be shared by at least two people, and came out on a massive hot plate that was lowered onto a recess in the center of the table. Korean BBQ never ceases to make me happy. Strongly flavoured, this chicken was spicy, sweet and salty all in one. Sesame oil would have added even more depth to this dish, but it was great even with the modifications made by the chefs.

What came out last was our much-anticipated order of friend chicken. 

Korean Fried Chicken

Unfortunately, we found this lacking in flavour and in hindsight, should have eaten this before the spicy chicken rather than after. There was talk of getting some take-away KFC from another store, but ultimately we decided that we'd had more than our fill of good Korean food to last us until our next craving. The waiter seemed surprised that we'd finished all the food (especially with the order of the BBQ chicken), but I doubt our group would have leftover food in any circumstance.

Flying Chicken serves up decent food at a reasonable price with extremely fast service. If you're craving really good Korean Fried Chicken, I wouldn't recommend this restaurant, but if you have a craving for any other Korean dishes, especially Kimchi soup, then definitely give Flying Chicken a shot.

Flying Chicken (Yami Yami)
400 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Mon-Sun Lunch-Dinner

Flying Chicken on Urbanspoon