Here’s something you won’t know: Beud is an old Korean word, rarely used today, meaning kitchen.
The reason I say that is because in your wanderings through The Levee, you’ll notice the latest addition to central Maitland’s dining scene – Beud, a Korean/Japanese restaurant opposite Hunter Mall (where Chinh’s Vietnamese used to be).
It’s the brainchild of 30-something friends, Korean-born Imogen Lim and Alice Seo.
While there’s Japanese on the menu, make no mistake, this restaurant is hanging its hat on good, tasty Korean food.
“I would describe Korean is a cross between Chinese and Japanese food,” Imogen explains. “It’s not as simple as Japanese, but more complex, more spicy with stronger flavours.
“Many people are familiar with Japanese food, even if it’s just sushi. We thought by having Japanese on the menu it might attract some people through the door where we can also introduce them to Korean food.”
The early signs are promising. On the New Year’s Eve fireworks along the riverbank the girls had a trial run and served snack sized street food to the appreciative crowd, giving them a taste of what to expect. And their first week after opening was equally encouraging.
“We have a relatively small menu to start with,” Imogen says. “But we’re planning to expand that as we go.
“That will be determined by how much business we do. Korean is a slow cooking food – we can marinate things for a couple of days and many dishes require slow cooking. So we’ll have them pre-cooked that day, and ready to serve so people aren’t sitting around for too long. But it will all be fresh that day and cooked by us.”
I should point out that Imogen’s mother is a chef back in Korea and Alice worked in a Japanese sushi restaurant before this venture.
Korean are renowned for barbecue dishes, but unfortunately this would require extensive work to the restaurant to deal with the steam and smoke. But all is not lost.
“We are going to have a barbecue out the back along the riverbank for dinner and if people want to book it ahead, then we’ll accommodate them,” Imogen said.
For now, Beud is open for lunch but from February will also be open for dinner. When I asked the girls what days they plan to open they shrugged their shoulders.
“Seven days to start with until we see what is required. The people will tell us how often we need to open.”
That means that High Street now boasts Mexican, Italian, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese and Thai cuisines, as well as a number of new coffee shops. Things are hotting up nicely.
Beud: 360A High Street.