Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Aussie Shop

Today I went to Itaewon to go to What The Book? to get some more reading material. On the way I bumped into Stacey on the subway. She, too, was heading for the little book store. After getting out books, we went to The Aussie Shop, a little Australian diner in Itaewon. Stacey had read about it on the Net and wanted to go. She is from New Zealand and said she missed the Australian mince meat pies.We both had meat pies and chips (French Fries). The food was great (Check out the menu if you are interested) and it was a beautiful sunny day today, so we sat outside on the small patio and enjoy the weather. There are only half a dozen tables at the place, a couple inside and a few outside. I will definitely go back there. And I will suggest it to my friends here. I have a few Australian friends that would probably love it.
We talked to the owner for a bit. He is Australian and owns the shop 100%. It is not easy for a foreigner to open a business here due to legal issues and such. Foreigners that open businesses here usually have a Korean wife or friend as a partner, to open the business. He has been having some problems, as trademarks and such are not really respected here, and some Korean guy decided that The Aussie Shop was a great business idea, and opened his own Ozzie Shop somewhere down the street, stealing every idea right down to the color schemes and the menu items. The only thing he couldn't copy (so far) is the Australian beer, as the supplier is somewhat of a friend of Tony's, and decided to be loyal to the original Aussie Shop.
The Aussie Shop in the news:
Down Under Fare in Seoul
By John RedmondContributing Writer
Starting up your own business is not an easy task. It takes money, a good business plan, an original concept and lots of hard work. And that’s in your own country. My two favorite quotes on this subject are, "Think," an IBM slogan, but more to my way of thinking is, "Imagine" the Apple slogan.
Foreigners setting up businesses in other countries are usually burdened with a few extra (usually more than less) legalities, and Korea is no exception. The usual way most foreigners set up a business in this country is to get a Korean silent partner or family member (wife or husband), to register the business under a Korean name, and take it from there.
Until recently there were very few 100 percent foreign-owned businesses in Korea in the food, catering and entertainment industries. The Aussie Shop in Itaewon is a 100 percent foreign-owned business under the management of Tony Le Rhodes, the one-time drummer of the iconic Australian rock band the Choirboys.
Essentially The Aussie Shop is a dine-in or take-away style delicatessen specializing in genuine home-cooked traditional Australian food. Not the kind of food you would find on the menu of that American "outback style" steakhouse chain. Here the order of the day is Fish and Chips, Hamburgers (Australian style with egg, beetroot and pineapple), home- made meat pies (beef, lamb and chicken), sausage rolls, potato scallops, steak sandwiches or vegemite sandwiches, followed by lamingtons and rum balls, all washed down with VB (Victoria Bitter) or XXXX (Queensland spelling for beer).
For the full menu check out the website listed below.
Tony honed his culinary skills in the afternoons after school. While most kids his age were watching TV or getting up to mischief, he was helping out in his father’s fish and chip shop. Later in the evenings the family would help prepare their unique "family recipe" beer batter and tartar sauce. That tradition has stayed in the family as Tony still uses the family recipe (30 years and still going) in the beer batter and tartar sauces. The meat pies and sausage rolls are baked daily. Even the beetroot is home grown. I personally can vouch for the fish and chips. For what it’s worth, you’d be hard pressed to find anything better here in Korea, even when paying the price of an arm or a leg (as I have done).
The Aussie Shop also captures a real essence of Australian culture without resorting to stereotyping. An interesting feature is some of the items for sale. There are music DVDs from the likes of INXS, popular TV DVDs of shows like The Comedy Company, and the New Zealand animation series Footrot Flats. They also offer host of popular Australian TV commercials including the "Export Cola" ad (featuring Skyhooks) a "Coke" ad (featuring the Australian band "Sherbet" performing "Summer Love") and the award-winning Toyota "Bugger" ad.
Wines for sale include a selection from such vineyards as Jacobs Creek and Yellow Tail. More are on the way.
Later this month The Aussie Shop will expand the "shop" aspect of the business by opening up a full-fledged cafe/bistro next door. Renovations are underway. This new area will seat about 40 people "We’ll have full sports coverage of all games, especially Aussie games most people here don’t screen," Tony told me. "It’s going to be awesome," he said. Details will be on the website soon.
The Aussie Shop is open from Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. ‘till late (Friday and Saturday till 3:00 a.m.). To get there: Leave Itaewon subway station (line No.6) exit #1.
Walk down the main street until you get to a Pizza Hut on your right. Take the street that runs parallel to the main road but heads up a hill. The Aussie Shop is on the right at the top. For more information contact Tony at (02) 790-0793, or email
Website is


Organic-Muslimah said...

Looks like great food!

laura said...

It is!!! :)

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