How about a rib-eye served with six-month-aged kimchi and a little gochujuang sourdough on the side, then?

The Korean revolution of Melbourne’s CBD gathers pace still with the arrival of Doju, a fine diner from chef Mika Chae. Chae, you say? Indeed. Mika is the cousin of trailblazing chef Jung Eun Chae, whose six-seat restaurant Chae set the high-water mark for Korean food in Melbourne when it opened in 2019. Her understated finesse and passion for fermentation would appear to run in the family. At Doju, the oysters, shucked to order, are topped with dongchimi granita, the ice-cream whipped with rice cakes, and the makgeolli, everyone’s favourite traditional Korean rice wine, flavoured with chestnuts. In short, it’s a boon for ferment enthusiasts and a big win for Little Collins Street. From underneath a chandelier of fermenting meju, here’s Chae with everything you need to order when you visit.

I’m here for a good time not a long time.
Our bite-sized tartare of retired dairy-cow beef is always a show-stopper, and it’s hard to go past a half-dozen oysters, delivered daily and shucked to order, with our dongchimi granita and a house Martini on the side.

Got anything light and fresh?
The burnt leeks with a chicken skin crisp, cashew cream and brown butter is a delicious snack, adapted from a traditional Korean banchan served as a side-dish in a barbecue. It’d be a shame not to mop the plate up with a piece of our house-made gochujang sourdough.

How about a drink?
We’ve found our food goes beautifully with natural and skin-contact wines, and Konpira Maru’s The Ballad of Boggy Creek King Valley arneis is one of our absolute favourites; it’s packed with golden apples, apricots and green almonds, with just enough texture to leave a light gloss on the lips.

Where’s the best spot in the house?
The secret hidden in plain sight is Doju’s bar. Fitted out with high-backed chairs and solid marble, it overlooks the open kitchen, with commanding views of the pass and the pastry section.

Point to your favourite design element.
Doju’s main dining floor centres around a chandelier of fermenting meju – bricks of dried soybeans that serve as a basis for a host of Korean condiments like doenjang, ganjang and gochujang. The restaurant’s commitment to seasonality and freshness is also mirrored by its subtle, luxurious forest tones of green and brown.

What if I like tasty food but don’t eat animals?
Vegetarians and vegans often suffer a bit, but Doju’s braised kohlrabi with ganjang (light, aromatic Korean soy sauce), chard, makjang and oyster mushrooms has converted more than a few carnivores in its time on the menu. Perfect with a side of our farm vegetables, selected daily and dressed with a delicate tofu cream.

Name the dish that captures the Doju vibe.
Our jeotgal-style calamari with seasoned rice and sorrel is an adaptation of a very common side in Korea that is virtually unseen in Melbourne. We use only Corner Inlet calamari from South Gippsland – beautifully textured, super fresh and very, very Doju.

I’m feeling famished and dangerous. What have you got for me?
Diners looking for a serious meal would be best steered towards our steak of the day – often a heavily marbled rib-eye, dry aged in-house and taken to just above medium-rare on our custom red-gum woodfire grill. The steak is accompanied by seasonal banchan, perhaps house-aged six-month kimchi, fennel makjang and bread and butter pickles from O.My farm’s gourmet cucumbers.

And to close?
The perfect way to finish off is with our injeolmi ice-cream, served with candied walnuts, yoghurt mousse and a sweet, tangy rhubarb chung, partnered with a glass of our chestnut makgeolli – a traditional Korean beverage recalling sake, saison and hazelnut liqueur.

Doju, 9/530 Little Collins St, Melbourne, (03) 9576 7447, open 5-10pm Mon-Sat,, @dojumelbourne