Part Korean Street, Part Melbourne Cafe
6 April, 2020
Yoon-Ji Park opened Dari Korean Café on Hardware Lane in May 2019. She was born not far from Seoul, and spent two years in New Zealand during her teen years before settling in Melbourne. Yoon represents a new wave of hospitality proprietors, a member of a trending group of owner/operators whose culinary talents are self-taught, fed by their passion for food and a willingness to shunt tried and tested cuisine, in favour of experimentation and novelty.
Yoon describes Dari Café as “Korean Fusion Street food”, and the word Dari can be translated to ‘bridge’. Her original intent was to open a small-scale coffee and dessert bar, a plan which evolved into a Melbourne café fused with, and influenced by, her Korean heritage – a ‘bridge’ between the Melbourne café scene and Korean Street cuisine. Some menu items are served according to traditional Korean recipes, such as the Bulgogi and spicy pork, but others take traditional ingredients and deviate from their normal use. “I learnt the foundations
of cooking from my Mum, but I am mostly self-taught and my ideas come from many sources, from social media, to my imagination. A lot of my food is developed through trial and error”.
“I have always believed that the main thing in life is to enjoy serving each other, and receive service in return. I opened Dari to do exactly that”
Dari Café mostly attracts the patronage of young city-dwellers. As Yoon puts it, “Dari serves indulgence”, and indulgence seems to draw a mixed crowd within the younger age brackets, but Korean-born Melburnians are also well-represented. Regardless of who comes through the door, Yoon’s attitude remains the same, “I just want people to enjoy the food. I have always believed that the main thing in life is to enjoy serving each other, and receive service in return. I opened Dari to do exactly that”.
The ‘K-Street Toast’ is the Dari signature dish and represents a contemporary South-Korean street sandwich, but the ‘Inkigayo’ or ‘Idol’ sandwich is the menu’s most eye-catching and decadent. A tall and dense layered sandwich of Mexican salad, egg, potato salad and strawberry jam. It is a tribute to “the sandwich K-pop stars fell in love with”. The original ‘Inkigayo’ sandwich was the product of a small café within a Korean television broadcasting building, and was known for its popularity amongst the visiting K-pop stars. The unconventional flavour combination of the savoury elements, with the sweetness of the strawberry jam is the draw card of the triple-layered sandwich that is sized to accommodate the most serious of appetites. On the sweet side, Dari offers a range of toasted sandwiches which make use of the traditional Korean sweet rice cake, but then they throw in an array of sweet ingredients such as condensed milk, honey, Nutella and mascarpone to complete the indulgent Dari experience.
Dari Korean Cafe
TUES TO THURS : 11AM - 3PM
FRI : 11AM - 8PM
SAT & SUN : 11AM - 3PM
27-29 Hardware Lane, Melbourne