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SOUL Dining

Daero Lee and Illa Kim's original diner championing Korean classics with a uniquely contemporary flare.
By Nishika Sharma
June 03, 2023
By Nishika Sharma
June 03, 2023

Stirring up the streets of Surry Hills is the original venue from the SOUL dining team. Head over to Devonshire Street and you'll find SOUL Dining nestled into its inner-city digs. The brainchild of husband and wife team Daero Lee and Illa Kim heroes traditional Korean dishes with a contemporary flare, using elements of modern Australian dining to create an exciting take on these Korean favourites.

The duo's first venture into Sydney's dining scene — a sleek 40-seat space with dark, dramatic interiors and an unassuming exterior — champions local Australian produce, celebrating an incredible range of Asian flavours. Drawing on their wealth of worldly experience, the co-owners pull inspiration from Korean, Australian, Italian, French, German and Japanese techniques in crafting the menu.

Cast your eyes over the menu of SOUL Dining and you'll find varied selection of seasonal dishes, ranging from kingfish in kimchi water to Korean escargot. Standout starting dishes include the prawn tteokbokki and the Korean chilli poppers, with the triple-cooked octopus, pork jowl and spicy charcoal chicken leading the must-try mains. And if you're feeling a little extravagant, you can opt to order a full south coast rock lobster with Korean fish sauce, yuza burre blanc, trout roe, chervil and chilli.

For those with a sweet tooth, there are three dessert options to pick from. Try the soft and chewy rice flour doughnut, the yagwa — a traditional Korean pastry — or opt for the Korean sweet rice punch, for dessert and a drink in one.

Pair your meal with a tasteful sip — the cocktails on offer take inspiration from childhood snacks, putting a modern spin on the nostalgic treats. You'll find a sweet treat galore from the ice cream-inspired Melona and citrusy Vita C 500 to the creative French Pie cocktail. And worry not if this range is not up your alley, there are a variety of Korean beers, ciders, wines, soju and spirits selected to pair perfectly with the venue's menu items.

Plus, you have the option to enjoy a meal that encompasses the SOUL Dining experience by opting for the tasting menu. You'll be able to experience the restaurant's best for $99 per person.

After comfortably setting up shop, the SOUL group have also descended upon two other Surry Hills locations to expand the SOUL group empire. The sibling venues, SOUL Deli — a cosy cafe-deli — and Bar SOUL — a gorgeous neighbourhood bar and diner— feature revamped menus with their roots grounded in the Korean sensibilities of the OG restaurant.

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