When chefs get asked who inspired them, many say it's someone who played a significant role in their life. In the case of Jinhyun Kim, who goes by the name Kenny, it was his mum.
But it wasn't because she was a good cook, rather the contrary.
"My mum is a terrible cook," Kim tells SBS. "But I wanted eat the best Korean meals."
His decision was further cemented when he realised some people didn't know much about Korean food - something he learned after spending years working at Umu, a Michelin-star restaurant in London.
"I always envy everybody else…everybody knows pho is Vietnamese, sushi is Japanese, dumplings is Chinese. But all they know about Korean food is Korean BBQ," he explains.
It was these reasons that gave him and his wife, Su, the encouragement to open Bibim Bar, a venue dedicated to serving food that the pair describes are typically eaten "all day, every day" by South Koreans.
"We want to introduce everyday food to show there is diversity in our food," Su says.
Unsurprisingly, the dishes that feature on the menu are dishes that Su and Kenny grew up eating, such as kimbap, a seaweed rice roll that's sometimes mistaken for sushi.
The pair explains that unlike sushi, which traditionally uses raw fish, kimbap is filled with cooked ingredients such as tofu, beef bulgogi, spicy pork and assorted vegetables.
"My mum [used] to pack kimbap for me to take on school excursions; everyone's mum did. When we all opened our lunch boxes, it'd all be kimbap," Su recalls.
"When we all opened our lunch boxes, it'd all be kimbap."
They also each have their own fond memories of eating tteokbokki (pan-fried chewy rice cakes with fish cakes that are dressed in a sweet and spicy sauce) and bibimbap, a dish that's typically eaten after Korean Thanksgiving Day using leftovers.
During lunch, the restaurant also serves a platter that replicates a typical Korean school lunch. It consists of rice, a choice of protein, and various side dishes served on a metal food tray.
"In Korea, schools provide every child free food every day. Usually the kitchen ladies would put out a weekly menu of all the different dishes. This was a really good memory of high school for me," Su says.
Bibim Bar also pays homage to Korea's drinks. It's hard to go past the makgeolli, a cloudy, sparkling rice wine, and the somaek set with soju and beer. There's also a range of soju-based cocktails such as the sojito, which is Bibim Bar's take on a mojito.
Even though it's been just over a month since Bibim Bar opened its doors, Kenny says he's already looking to add more dishes to the menu.
69 Abercrombie Street, Chippendale, (02) 8965 0900
Daily 11.30am-3pm, 5.30pm-10pm
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