My favourite part about the Bibimbap experience was the sizzle!
Jorge and I were invited down to their Charlotte Street branch for dinner (there’s another Soho branch a five minute walk away as well).
The extent of my knowledge of Korean food before this was of kimchi (basically fermented veggies with spices that are traditionally buried underground and left to ferment in the dark for months at a time) and plenty of rice and tea.
The bibimbap (비빔밥) that the restaurant is named after was totally new to me. It literally means “mixed rice”. There are other options on the menu, but the bibimbap takes pride of place, highlighted in the centre and because it was also the name of the restaurant, we thought we better choose one of those.
We weren’t disappointed. Little did I know at the time, a few years ago the dish came in as number 40 on CNN Travel’s list of the World’s 50 most delicious foods. I went for a beef version of the dish for my main meal.
Jorge chose a spicy chicken one.
The bibimbap was served up in a dolsot – a very hot stone bowl coated with sesame oil. It’s so hot it causes that sizzling effect for quite a while. It also means that the rice at the bottom takes on a wonderfully crunchy texture toward the end. Yum!
We also ordered a plate of pork and vegetable dumplings, but I’d skip these in the future as I found them a bit too greasy. They definitely trumped the ones we got in a takeaway a few weeks ago though.
For drinks, it was a lemon iced tea for me and Jorge had a popular Korean beer called Hite, which I had a sip of – I don’t like beer at all, but if I had to drink one, this is a nice light option that I’d choose over most other beers I’ve tried. Jorge loved it.
The service was super quick, and it does have a bit of that fast food vibe, but in a nice way. It’s an in-and-out restaurant where you go with your friends, not a place you sit and chill for hours on a romantic date, for example.
It’s a great little place to swing by if you’re in the area. Cheap and cheerful with friendly staff and quirky decor.
There were little polaroid photos all over the walls in the shape of pandas and hearts, a bit “Hello” and “I Love You”. The music was a bit teenage girl pop, but it kind of fit with the decor after all.
In the Summertime, they leave the front of the restaurant wide open which makes for some brilliant people watching – one of our favourite activities and particularly great on a Saturday evening in Soho!