When people pose for photos in Korea, they say “kimchi”; much like “cheese” in Australia the word tends to produce an automatic smile on the mugs of those who say it. It’s this response that duo Jamie Yang and Sara Jeon are trying to create with the opening of their first venue together.

Kimchi Cheese Smile last month moved into the poky East Brisbane tenancy previously occupied by Catbird Seat Bistro. Yang, who has worked as a chef at Pony Dining and Cha Cha Char, says he and Jeon had been looking for a venue since last year that was the right fit-out and size.

Kimchi Cheese Smile is the second Korean restaurant this year to move into the former digs of a high-end Brisbane eatery, Funny Funny taking over The Survey Co’s highfalutin Burnett Lane digs after it closed in February. But Yang and Jeon are aiming for something a little more rarefied than that freewheeling CBD stalwart.

“We wanted to create some balance between Korean inspiration and Western technique,” Yang says.

The restaurant itself is very similar to how it appeared during its Catbird Seat days, with the large silver hanging mirror, tables and chairs all the same. But the food is very different.

The dinner menu features its signature wagyu intercostals with kal-bi sauce, potato and baby gem. The famous Korean dish is created using 400-day grain fed beef that’s sous-vide for 16 hours. There’s also Korean fried chicken, Tasmanian octopus tartare, and white fish and barley risotto.

Kimchi Cheese Smile is also open for brunch, serving staples such as scrambled eggs with double smoked bacon and rocket alongside seafood pancakes, kimchi fried rice and spiced mince.

Kimchi Cheese Smile
2/888 Stanley St East, East Brisbane
0422 401 170

Tues to Sat 9am–2pm, 5pm–9pm
Sun 9am–2pm