Jackie McMillan
23rd Mar 2024

A dainty fried prawn sanga ($23) balances on a collection of tenderly cooked prawns, diced scallops and razor clam. They’re plopped into puddle of beurre blanc that’s been spiked with kombu dashi and drizzled with chive oil. It’s so tasty it warrants a side of house bread ($9) that comes with their own cafe de Paris butter. It’s a cracking prawn toast update that goes down well with a Korean-inspired cocktail: the Korean Sweet Dream ($19), which updates sujungwa (traditional Korean cinnamon punch) with ginger beer and soju. I’m at CorEat which slid into the former digs of Newcastle big hitter, Restaurant Mason, quite seamlessly. 

Here chef Sunny Chae, who used to be the head chef at Blooming Garden in Hamilton, harnesses Korean flavours and cooking techniques and presents them in a way designed to appeal to his Australian audience. Korean fried chook ($18) is presented as a salad with fresh leaves, rolls of pickled daikon radish, Asian ’slaw and chilli sauce. It’s fresh, it’s contemporary, and it still has that K.F.C. appeal so scarf it with a Kloud beer ($9). Pineapple is a nod to our Australian heritage in the kimcheese wagyu cutlet ($18) where strips of crumbed beef lashed with smoky Korean BBQ sauce are presented under melted cheese with a kimchi and pineapple salsa.  These were all generously proportioned entrees from the dinner menu that we combined to make a shared lunch. Next time I’m in town—Newcastle Food Month coming up in April might make for a great excuse—the quality and thought that went into each plate means I have my eyes set on the five course degustation ($75/head).