PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Just when you start to complain that there isn't enough variety on Sydney's dining scene, a gem like Soban restaurant appears. Cropping up unassumingly on the top level of Westfield Shopping Centre in Chatswood, this little restaurant serves up a praiseworthy selection of authentic Korean dishes. Starring in beautiful menus – heavy, black, silver-trimmed – is a list of salads, a la carte and jeong-chan (meal sets). The variety is so broad and flavours so tempting, that making a decision is not easy – luckily each meal is accompanied by an image. What the modest pictures don't prepare you for, however, is how generous the portions are. For lack of a better word, they are huge. Huge!
So it is perhaps a good thing that tables at this funky eatery are not only designed to perpetuate a casual ambience and a wooden theme (started by timber slats which block out the shopping centre beyond), but also to carry the weight of the meals. Olive colours, high ceilings and low-hanging light bulbs also work to enhance the tastebud-tingling flavours of the cuisine. Playing with chilli, pickles and loads of vegetables, meat and seafood, the selections are diverse. If you're stuck for what to eat, a great way to go is the pork belly mu-chin which combines the dense texture of pork belly with a light salad, adding punch with chili powder, garlic and chives. A set is also not to be missed. Served as a main dish, soup and four small sides (in the manner of a dislodged bento box), it is a brilliant way to experience several flavours and textures. The kimchi fried rice with teriyaki chicken is particularly palatable. And if the spicier elements make you thirsty, Soban has a modest menu of wine, soft drinks and tea at your disposal.