193 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane
I was devastated, absolutely devastated when I saw Hong Depot being torn down. It was something of a West End icon to me and even before I became a local, I enjoyed delicious and filling Korean BBQ feasts at this corner establishment. Admittedly more recent trips have been less optimal (I count one case of severe food poisoning and many cases of overspending), I always have fond memories of the owner Alex Hong and when you put face to business, it's always a sad thing to see a venture go down.
Just before we left on our honeymoon, I spotted new signage being set up at the site of Hong Depot. It appeared to be predominantly staffed by Koreans so I entertained the idea that Mr Hong hadn't gone bust but instead had decided to reinvent himself and his restaurant. Of course that's quite a narrow-minded assumption because there do exist more than one Korean restauranteur in Brisbane and according to a friend of mine, this new establishment is run by someone else.
All the same, I was curious to give it a go. Deep down I was hoping for an actual Korean-food restaurant to open up because there's a severe lack of those in the West End/South Brisbane area. DoDoMi closed down and I heard it was replaced by a Korean restaurant called Da Da Da (yep, they have a penchant for melodic, repetitive names) but every time we tried to go there, it was closed.
Whilst we were in China, I learned that Falalalah actually serves Western style food but the feedback I was getting was all good so the disappointment didn't last. It ended up being one of my first social food outings when we got back to Brisbane.
No booking was made but we had an easy time getting a table for 5 at noon on a Saturday. It was fairly popular but definitely not swamped and hectic, which is probably a good thing. They're licensed for beer so I snagged a bottle of Asahi before most of our crew were even seated. We then went about looking through the menu.
If I thought the food offerings would be generic cafe fare, I needn't have worried. Yes, there's burgers, pizza and pasta but everything has a quirky Korean twist. There was no shortage of dishes that I was interested in ordering.
We ended up getting a range between us, plus a medium plate of fried chicken to share.
Iced citron drink
Garthritis had a big night previously so wasn't keen on alcohol. He ordered an iced citron drink which was served in a glass mug. He commented that it was quite good and refreshing but was then caught trying to steal a sip of someone else's beer.
For food, he and Swedish both chose the Falalalah burger. This was enormous and came with a mound of wedges and herbed aioli. Actually all the burgers as well as the chicken came with wedges so we had plenty of that to go around. Even after the others had reached their carb quota, I went around hoovering up everyone else's wedges. They were so crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Wedge perfection.
Not sure what it's called so I'm saying 'cheese pizza'
Gembob ordered a pizza that was almost predominantly topped with cheese. I don't feel that this is necessarily a bad thing when it comes to pizza and she agreed that it was very tasty. There was a garnish of basil which ticks off the obligatory green requirement of every meal.
Hot tomato soup pasta - with mussels, clams, garlic and pepperoni
My pick of the day was the hot tomato soup pasta. That is actually what it was called and from that you can see why this wasn't just another conventional cafe. I thought this pasta dish was deeeelicious. The seafood, tomato and chili combination was a win and the spaghetti noodles were cooked perfectly. Those who like a lot of heat may wish to ask for some extra spice but as a mild chili lover, this level was optimal.
Marc ordered the K burger, which was filled with Korean bulgogi beef. The savoury marinated meat was offset by a tangy slaw and grilled onion slices. The burger was almost too big for Marc to fit in his mouth but he gave it a crack anyway. It was a messy meal but well worth it.
Fried garlic soy chicken
The fried chicken was something I was really looking forward to. I make no secret of the fact that I think Koreans make The Best fried chicken. This version at Falalalah was no exception. The pieces were extremely crunchy and ever so juicy. The soy garlic marinade was delicious and moreish and if I hadn't already eaten a huge bowl of pasta, I would have happy sat down to a serve of chicken all on my own.
As sad it was to see the demise of Hong Depot, I'm very relieved its replacement is even better. The food we tasted at Falalalah was interesting and delicious with large servings and affordable prices. That is in short, everything I look for in food and add the fact that service was friendly and they also serve alcohol and it's a recipe for a good meal out. It's a big thumbs up from me.