13 Feb Little Oscar, Brunswick
Burger places seem to be popping up all over Melbourne, and our love for them is evidenced by a constant stream of burger images on our Instagrams, whether they’re from cafes, restaurants or dedicated burger joints. It’s getting more difficult for new places to differentiate themselves from the crowd. A love for food, cocktails and design inspired Lorance and Mark Darwish to start up Little Oscar in a up-and-coming part of Lygon Street. Their point of difference? Korean-American fusion. Head chef William Riman has previous experience working in New York’s Koreatown and has brought Korean-inspired flavours to their menu.
The interior is casual, warm, slick and modern. It’s been designed by Jean-Pierre Biasol of Biasol: Design Studio, the same studio responsible for the amazing fitout at Kitty Burns. Long and narrow, the space accommodates about 50 patrons inside and 20 in the outside seating area.
Little Oscar is looking to be an entertainment destination, not just a place for good food. A steady line up of musicians and DJs will provide live music in the evenings for their themed nights, and seasonal specials will keep the menu fresh.
Soon after launch Little Oscar moved from serving normal-sized burgers to pairs of sliders suitable for sharing over a drink. The Lower East Side, one of the menu items that veers towards the American side of theme, comes with a wagyu patty, cheese, smashed avocado and coriander, spiced up with some chorizo, jalapenos and chipotle sour cream. I love the way spicy ingredients in burgers cuts through their greasiness. Even though this burger wasn’t heavy and greasy, the kick from the jalapeno only added to our enjoyment.
The Korean-style ribs had been prepared in a bulgogi marinade that was tasty and not too sweet, though unfortunately on this occasion the meat was a little overdone.
We also try the Korean soft tacos, which were filled with gochujang Wagyu beef, cheong-gochu sour cream, kimchi, coleslaw and spring onion. The tasty flavours were unexpectedly fresh and well-balanced.
The highlight of the meal was definitely the Kim Jong Un’s chips. The fat, fluffy and super crunchy beer-battered chips were ridiculously addictive, and an extra punch of flavour is lent by the gochujang beef and caramelised kimchi piled on top, and the drizzle of cheong-gochu sour cream. These were almost a meal in itself.
Of course, cocktails are available too. Here there’s a chance to sample cocktails made with Korean spirits like soju, though on this occassion we indulge in a pretty and refreshing East Brunswick Cobbler that’s a combination of vodka, sav blanc, muddled strawberries, lemon and mint.
Little Oscar really impressed. It’s the perfect venue for nighttime entertainment or as a local hang out spot, and the food alone makes it worth a visit.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Little Oscar as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way