If you a) love Korean food and b) are a sucker for hidden gems, then buckle up, because we’ve found where you should be having your next meal. Nestled in the Melbourne CBD is Bornga, a restaurant with a knack for whipping up traditional and tasty Korean fare.
From the slightly secret location to the seriously scrumptious food offerings and friendly service, Bornga is a Melbourne dining experience 100 per cent worth having.
So, why should you track down this gem of a restaurant? Allow us to explain…
#1 Three Words: Korean Fried Chicken
We don’t know about you guys but fried chicken has a very special place in our hearts. Bornga take their KFC (Korean fried chicken for you rookies) oh-so seriously. Their chook is golden and crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, with a finger-lickin’ sauce—just the way fried chicken should be. Choose between plain, sweet soy, sweet chilli or fire, for those of you who love a bit of heat. Just don’t blame us if you get addicted.
#2 It’s Open ‘Til The Wee Hours Of The Morning!
Late-night Korean cravings are no joke. Luckily, Bornga have kindly decided to keep their doors open and delicious food cookin’ until 2am, Monday to Saturday. Yep, you can rock up after a couple of bevvies with your homies and tuck into the likes of KFC, noodles and bibimbap. Sure beats a kebab.
#3 Location, Location, Location
While we’re always prepared to travel far and wide for food, Bornga’s handy central location is definitely a win. It might be smack bang in the middle of the CBD (a couple of streets over from Central Station), but Bornga is a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle. You have to walk through a slightly hard-to-find entrance and up a stairwell to get there, so you really feel like you’ve stumbled upon one of Melbourne’s best-kept secrets.
#4 Because Let’s Be Honest, You’re Over Asian Fusion
Asian Fusion has been shaking up the Melbourne food scene for a while now, but sometimes, you just want to go back to basics. Bornga prides itself on serving up really delish, traditional Korean. You’ll find all sorts of quintessential Korean dishes including bibimbap, kimchi seafood pancakes, blackbean noodles, bulgogi, beef short rib, sizzling plates and that’s just scraping the surface. It’s the perfect place to introduce your taste buds to the classic flavours of Korean cooking.
#5 You Get To Cook The Food Yourself
While we might not all be MasterChefs, Bornga gives you the chance to live out your chef extraordinaire dreams. This is the home of Korean barbecue in the city, people! Your table comes with an extractor fan so you can cook chicken, pork and seafood, then chow it all down with unlimited sides—Korean barbecue style. Pretty cool, huh? There’s even a snazzy button to press if you run out of sides!
#6 It’s The Perfect Lunch Hideaway
It’s midday and you’re tempted to run away from the office and never return. But because we’re all responsible adults (who need jobs to fuel our love affair with food), let us suggest an alternative. Bornga’s lunch menu is on-point. Rally your work wife/hubby (we all have one) and sneak away to Bornga for some quality time with one of their lunch specials. Both you and Sharon will leave with happy bellies full of sweet and sour pork and noodles—what more could you ask for, really?
#7 They’ll Look After You And Your Crew
Group dining in Melbourne can be a bit of a hassle. Luckily, Korean is meant to be shared and Bornga is no exception. From sizzling plates to fried rice and their famous spicy rice cakes, we recommend rounding up a bunch of mates, ordering a bunch of different dishes and getting amongst.
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Image credit: Griffin Simm