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Much like a Kpop star, this eatery specialising in Korean anju (food that is enjoyed with drink) is small, shiny and hip. When it comes to the menu, the clue’s in the name: ‘bab’ means ‘grains’ in Korean cuisine, and rice forms the foundation for most of the dishes on the concise list. Served in utilitarian enamel bowls, the food comes fast and flavourful. We especially like the twists on snacks such as the panko-coated kimchi and cheese arancini balls with Koba spicy sauce (named after the venue’s central London sibling); larger dishes include sweet, spicy yangnyum chicken and kimchi bokeum bab (a Korean-style paella with kimchi, bacon and an egg on top). To drink, there’s a small list of cocktails made from soju, a relatively flavourless rice spirit. Impatient eaters be warned: On the Bab has a no-bookings policy and the tiny space fills up quickly.
Last night I went to On the bab for dinner on Old Street, London. The small restaurant doesn’t take bookings, and when we arrived at 7pm there were only 3 tables still available so I recommend going early to avoid a wait.We ordered a couple of the small dishes to start with (pictured above). Saeng dubu: fresh tofu with OTB soy sauce, topped with spring onion and toasted seaweed, and the kun mandu: pan fried chicken dumplings. The tofu was served cold, which was light and refreshing, and the dumplings were crispy without being greasy...
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Continuing the Korean trend around Shoreditch, On The Bab brings Korean inspired street food to the area. Situated on Old Street it is only a couple of minutes from Jubo on Rivington Street. I visited last week on the first night of its soft launch where 50% was offered off the food bill. Occupying a small space tables are packed tightly together with a small wall facing bar table to make the best use of the space. An open kitchen provides diners full a view of the theatrics of the dishes being prepared...
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I went for a takeaway option, ‘cos I gotta work yeah? On the smaller-than-eat-in take out menu they do a range of dishes including bibimbap with bulgogi (a barbecued marinated beef), which I got. It took a pretty long time to arrive, but that means it’s fresh right? As I waited I was asked to go outside with all the other takeout gang. There’s no waiting area and the restaurant is pretty small, so kind of understandable and I was amiable about this because it was sunny. UNLIKE the huddle of ladies at the counter who muttered “Go outside? Us? He can’t mean us! Let’s just stay here,” because apparently they were too...
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