DAMDA New Korean Restaurant

Rebecca Varidel
15th Nov 2015
$6 - $18 and $38 (platter for two)

Licenced, BYO wine only, and takeaway, new DAMDA Korean restaurant sees another pair of first time restaurant owners hitting Norton Street. And a new best choice in cheap eats for the inner west. Both born in Korea, Hugo Kim and Chef Sungil Park both now in their mid-thirties started their Sydney careers in Korean restaurant institution Madang.

DAMDA is the kind of place to have a beer. Make it a Korean one at that. Popcorn with soy sauce arrives for the table. After that, order any of the really delicious cheap eat starters and shares to go with the bevvie as a snack. And not only are they terrifically tasty, they are innovative too.

Korean-Mex is a thing. We learnt it here. With DAMDA K. TACOS that we just can't get enough of... Tacos Korean style are sensational when done the DAMDA way. Step 1 (and the menu holds up 1 finger) choose from Bulgogi beef, Chilli pork, Chilli chicken, Smoked chicken. Step 2 (and the little symbol holds up 2 fingers in the nicest possible way *smile*) choose from red salsa (kimchi & tomato) or white salsa (pineapple & cabbage). Dripping and juicy and finger licking good. All of the choices of tacos fillings and marvellous. And get this, DAMDA tacos are 1 for $4 / 4 for $14. So don't fret over which one to order. Order them all.

Just as super in the shares are DAMDA NACHOS with kimchi and minced pork, fried onion, mozzarella cheese, sour cream and salsas adorn fried dumpling wrappers as chips. This too is really tasty and filling.

Lots of other items on the DAMDA menu are appealing. Four starters are all tempting. A lovely fresh salmon Carpaccio ($15) is served thinly sliced, with red onion, alfafa, ricotta cheese and a light citrus soy dressing. What's nice about this dish, compared to other Asian versions elsewhere in Sydney, is that the salmon is still the hero. The accompaniments are just a light touch to offset it. The menu starts with Deep fried veggie dumplings, just 8 bucks for 5. Smoked and grilled BBQ corn comes with butter, parmesan cheese, honey mustard and pineapple salsa. Best of all in this quarter are the very tempting Dragon Balls (3 for $6) deep fried sweet corn with chilli jam- very yummy.

No guesses that K.F.C. is on. Oh yes please. At DAMDA, Korean Fried Chicken comes as sweet and spicy or as sweet garlic soy. Our basket was a combo. Next to it sat the traditional side of sweet pickled radish. Nods of satisfaction. And in my head, like the cartoon character caption "more that is good with beers". Noting that beer went from singular to plural.

Substantial salads are also keenly priced and come as Grilled Veggie, Salmon or Smoked chicken options. We didn't get to try the Bibimbap (only $12 or $13 with a fried egg). Soon, definitely soon. The wondrous Korean style Chinese soup Jjamppong is also offered. But we went with ribs, because claims that these are the best in town are circulating the social shares. The ribs are on the platter, which is a share platter of smoked and grilled meats for two people. Or you could choose: Blgogi beef, Bossam pork belly (boiled in Korean spices and thinly sliced) or Pork ribs. With these come kimchi, three different dipping sauces, and a choice of noodle salads and sides. Belly rubbing time. And more nods, plus groans, of yum yum.

Yet the dessert stomach kicks in, although there is only one offering. It's traditional Ho Ddeok, Korean sweet pancakes served with vanilla ice cream, cinnamon sugar, yuzu honey and crushed nuts. And again, we nod in happy satisfaction, now most definitely happily replete.

The restaurant billing of Korean BBQ does not quite do it justice. DAMDA isn't just one of the crowd. DAMDA is so much more. It holds tradition while embracing innovation. It holds Korean flavours and presents them in new forms. And DAMDA is a welcome new addition not only to Norton Street, and the inner west, but also to the Sydney restaurant scene- cheap eats or not!

Some of my friends have already been back six times. I'll be going back for sure. And I'll be taking more friends. It's so easy. Easy on the pocket, easy to get to because the Norton Street bus is right outside the door, and easy because it is opened six nights for dinner.