Korean Food is Hot Right Now @ Bibimbap, Soho

IMG_4948 Want a cheap, quick and delicious Korean bite to eat in Central? Head yourself to one of two Central London ‘Bibimbap’ restaurants. Greek Street in Soho and Charlotte Street, parallel to Goodge Street. My lady friend and I visited the Soho alternative. I found the restaurant through browsing the ‘Time Out’s Top 100 must east London Restaurants’. The list, broken into four sections: ‘Affordable, Mid-range, Expensive and Blow Out’ offered a hotchpotch of restaurants for the poor, rich and super rich. I browsed through each restaurant in ‘affordable’ to find the ultimate choice and decided on this popular and vibrant looking spot. Reviews consistently praised Bimbimbap and the menu ticked the boxes.

Korean food is hot right now in London. South Korean that is. Restaurants are popping up left, right and centre. And people are really digging it. Healthy, fresh and full of tantalising flavours. If you are a Korean virgin – get involved in the current food climate and entertain your palate. Bimbimbap was my second Korean meal, the first being Gogi in Little Venice. On both separate occasions the super smiley staff were a perfect collaboration with the food. Smiley and genuine service can make or break a restaurant. A recent Sunday Roast in Stoke Newington was a disaster in terms of rock hard broccoli and roasties that had been warmed up in an igloo. However, the manager turned the situation around so much so that I would return offering the venue a second chance.

With conversation in full flow, the 20-minute queue mattered little. I recommend heading there as early as possible in the evening as it has become a hot spot for quick and cheap dinning. Bimbimbap is Korea’s national dish. A rice based dish served in a sizzling hot stone bowl with vegetables, spices, pastes and often beef or seafood and a raw egg. The idea is that apart from the rice, the ingredients are raw and are cooked by the eater at the table. Creating an outstanding fusion rather than a potential scrambled commotion.

IMG_4943At the approval of our server, I ordered a medley of dishes. Pork and Vegetable Mandoo to start, (dumplings) delicately cooked (£4.45). Not the ‘gloopy top-of-the-mouth’ sticking dumplings often received in oriental restaurants. For main, we shared mixed-seafood Bimbimbap – with the raw egg and raw fish (£8.95) and Chicken Ramen – chicken in a spicy noodle soup (£6.45). I recommend choosing the Bimbimbap. It was a delight to eat. I frantically stirred in the ingredients before the sizzling ceased, devoured and had no complaints.

For two people and a couple of beers thrown in, the bill came to £30. My dinner was true value for money. The experience was faultless, the food was quality and the price was minimal. Check it out, you won’t look back in anger.

Taste: 7.5

Atmosphere: 7

Drinks: 6.5

Service: 7

Value For Money: 8.5

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