Review: Little Oscar

19 February 2016 | 2:52 pm | Staff Writer

41 Lygon St, Brunswick East

New Korean-American joint Little Oscar — inspired by the fusion found in New York City's Koreatown — boasts a menu designed to share, and cocktails that are familiar but come with a twist.

The burgers aren't just different in that some of them have got a Korean lean to them; instead of getting one burger, you get two mini burgers. Way easier to share, and eat, and the bread-to-filling ratio somehow seems even better. Their signature Little Oscar Burger (wagyu beef patty, cheese, lettuce, onion jam, Little Oscar's pickles, tomato, Little Oscar's sauce) is so simple yet so satisfying. For something different try the Gangnam Style Burger (Korean Fried Chicken, Asian slaw, kimchi, roasted sesame seeds), but we'd still recommend the Little Oscar. Other burgers they have include spicy chorizo, pumpkin and chickpea patty, and tofu; as well as a Korean soft taco with gochujang beef.

Their Korean-style beef ribs, slow cooked in bulgogi marinade, are thinly sliced but pack a flavoursome punch. Made to be eaten with your hands! Don't leave any meat on those bones. Not into beef? They have three kinds of chicken ribs — Korean Fried Chicken, Sweet Thai, and North Carolina Smoked BBQ.

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Sides, bar snacks and desserts finish off the food options. Despite its questionable name, the Kim Jong-Un's Chips — beer-battered chips with caramelised kimchi and gochujang beef covered with cheong-gochu sour cream — is a must for any potato fan. The chips are actually so super crunchy on the outside and so cloudy soft inside, we're confused as to how they managed it.

Cocktails-wise, vodka, rum and tequila come out on top, but there is something for everyone. We would have liked to see more than one Korean-style cocktail (they have the Korean Cowboy, which is just soju and bekseju mixed straight up), but their Midnight Allure (whisky, grapefruit, ginger syrup, agave) and Parisian (London dry gin, fresh lemon, St Germain Elderflower liqueur, fresh thyme and cucumber) were both delicious; the former was warm but refreshing, balancing tartness, sweetness and spice, and the latter wonderfully light, cool and crisp. Of course, there's a beer and wine list too.

The black and birch interior is casual yet smart, and the bar has live music going to provide some ambience: a Thursday night residency with two-for-one cocktails specials; live improvised electro Sundays from 3pm, with $10 jugs all day; and live jazz every Friday evening, with $5 seasonal highball specials from 7pm.

All in all a welcome addition to the flourishing Lygon Street scene.