This is the first European venture for the Bibigo chain, whose mission is to commercialise Korean food for the global palate. Branded marinades and sauces line one wall of this smart and accessible London branch, which knocks a few points off the authenticity meter for the purists with a concise menu of heftily priced staples. Gaspingly pungent bowls of jigae (Korean stews), galbi-jjim (braised short ribs) and bo-ssam (succulent pork belly with ginger, spring onions and pine nuts in lettuce) – plus some pokey kimchi and nahmul platters (pickled vegetables) on the side – make a colourful and pretty spread, while bowls of rice-based bibimbap come four ways, with a choice of sauces. Keen young staff dart in and out of the kitchen, skilfully balancing steaming plates of food while the chopstick-twirling crowd soaks up the action and spice.
With fewer than 40 wines to choose from, Bibigo’s list is small but still hugely impressive. Perfectly judged to suit the restaurant’s food, you’ll find styles that both complement and contrast with the spicy cuisine. Expect traditional Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc and Chianti, as well as a taste of the unexpected, such as white from Greece and a Bulgarian Syrah.
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