1671064977987 - Moon Mart cafe is the Melbourne version of a Japanese convenience store

Moon Mart cafe is the Melbourne version of a Japanese convenience store

Convenience stores in Japan and Korea put our local corner shops to shame. But Moon Mart, a shiny addition to blossoming West Melbourne, could raise the bar with its Tokyo-like approach to top quality food and drinks which are portable and ideal for solo visits.

The mart aspect is roofed off by the small-batch condiments of chef Eun Hee An, which she’s been producing under the Moon Mart label since 2020, after a profession at Sydney restaurants Moon Park and Paper Bird.

Now, after eight months in Melbourne, Hee An is deploying her condiments in toasties, salads, rice bowls and more at Moon Mart the cafe, which Hee An has opened with business partner Mei Onsamlee (ex Momofuku Seiobo).

Lunchtime is all about rice sets, comparable to tonkatsu with condiments from the Moon Mart range. Photo: Jun Chen

There is a jaffle with emmental, smoked mozzarella and Moon Mart’s kimchi, the product which kickstarted the business.

Try a crumbed egg sandwich with “special sauce” for breakfast, and at lunch, beef bibimbap featuring gochujang that Hee An makes in earthenware pots called onggi.

House-baked sweets, comparable to orange and five-spice caneles or kinako (roasted soy bean flour) cookies, could be matched to one in every of several cold drinks: iced chrysanthemum and pandan tea, perhaps. Coffee is made with Primary beans.

Chef Eun Hee An (left) and drinks guru Mei Onsamlee at the shopfront.
Chef Eun Hee An (left) and drinks guru Mei Onsamlee on the shopfront. Photo: Jun Chen

A straightforward core menu – three sandwiches and three salads – is designed with regulars in mind.

But these are complemented by a weekend brunch menu and specials comparable to a relaxing summer soup that was Hee An’s favourite as a toddler in Korea, made with white kimchi liquid, somen noodles, boiled egg and more.

Hee An says she has long lists of ideas for specials in her head, plus plans for pop-up themed dinners in the brand new 12 months.

While she’s loving her “fresh chapter”, she is happy to make food and serve it to people again. “I still have my cheffy feelings,” she laughs.

After breakfast or lunch, the shelves on the opposite side of the shop beckon, stocked with jars of Moon Mart XO sauce or yuzu-jalapeno pickle, rare Korean ingredients imported by Table 181 and Japanese cookies and lollies.

Open Thu-Fri 7am-3pm; Sat-Sun 8am-3pm. Lunch served from 11am.

11-13 Stawell Street, West Melbourne, moonmart.com.au

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