Melbourne's six-seat Korean restaurant Chae is moving to Cockatoo

Chef Jung Chae is relocating her restaurant from her Brunswick apartment (pictured) to the Dandenongs.
Chef Jung Chae is relocating her restaurant from her Brunswick apartment (pictured) to the Dandenongs. Photo: Justin McManus

Chae, the tiny but mighty Korean restaurant that Jung Eun Chae has run from her Brunswick apartment for nearly two years, is moving to bigger digs in Cockatoo. But don't expect it to be any easier to land a booking.

The six-seat enterprise that gave kitchen counter dining a whole new meaning will continue to operate at the same tiny scale. Instead, Chae wants to use the 2208-square-metre property, east of the Dandenong Ranges, to pursue new projects, including workshops on Korean condiments, and to begin making her ferments in the ancient Korean way.

From October, Chae, a student of Chinese medicine, will shift to using onggi, traditional earthenware jars that date to prehistoric times and aid the fermentation process. That means the soy sauce, gochujang, doenjang and more that appear on Chae's menus will be even more rarefied.

"If this plan works out, I'm quite sure we will be the only Korean restaurant that not only makes their own condiments, but also in the most authentic of ways, in Victoria and perhaps in Australia," she says.

Until now, Chae has been preparing her extremely labour-intensive food in a 72-square-metre apartment, introducing a lucky handful of diners to a side of Korea's food culture rarely seen in Australia. The painstaking preparations of this one-woman show, which are about to become even slower, dictate the restaurant's tiny seating capacity.

Looks like the hottest ticket in town will be even hotter by year's end.