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|Address:||58-59 Great Marlborough Street, London W1F 7JY|
|Tel:||020 3544 0794|
|Price: £39.00||Wine: £24.00||Champagne: £35.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-4pm 6-11pm|
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We went to Bibigo as we have eaten at their sister outlets in Asia and used those as a benchmark the London branch. We quite liked the food at the chain hence our trip to the local one.
The decor is pretty much in line with expectations from a casual Asian dining place – many a noodle bar has similar look and feel. It was quite busy (expected for a Saturday evening) and we arrived without a booking. The lady at reception was friendly and engaging. We were lucky and were seated within minutes.
The menu is by and large similar to what we expected but it is only in the ordering did the key differences come out. We ordered the Red Chicken and the Baby Squid for starters. Both very good especially the chicken – as this is a crispy chicken (read fried) I was expecting it to be dried and hard. But it was moist and succulent and the sauce was nice – not spicy as the menu indicates but a nice sweet and sour flavour. The squid was good – not too oily and done just right.
For mains my wife got the hotstone tofu bibimbap. I asked for the chicken one and was told they only do beef (or tofu). Quite disappointing as the overseas ones offer a choice of beef, chicken, pork, shrimp and tofu. Not only that, there is a chocie of 4 grains whereas London only has 2. Whereas I understand the concept of localisation very well and can imagine that 4 grains may be in demand, it still puzzles me why an alternate protein is not offered with the hot stone rice. The sauces come separately anyway so not a question of pre-prepared ingredients. I settled for the Bo-Ssam.
The hotstone rice was good but the temperature well below what we expect (maybe an HSE related thing). The Bo-Ssam was tender and flavourful even if just below luke warm. The accompanying rice were hard – more from sitting out in the open uncovered than from undercooking.
We shared the pink grapefruit cheesecake for dessert. Chefs should really stop messing about with dishes un-necessarily. The dessert arrived in a very shallow dish – total depth of around inch. There was a crunch in the dessert but it felt more like chopped up nuts than biscuit (grit would have been more appropriate if it didn't infer an unpleasant flavour as well). Texturely, the “cheese” felt (and tasted) more like panna cotta – underflavoured. The pink grapefruit was fresh. And had I not known that the accompanying icecream was ginger flavoured I would have left thinking it was vanilla – completely under-flavoured and weak. If the restaurant buys this – change suppliers. If they make it – do something about the balance of flavours.
Overall, the red chicken and the both mains did not disappoint and I would go back (though not in a hurry). We did not get any wine but couldn't help over hear the manager help the couple at the next table with wine selection – sounded good. The wait staff is very attentive and quick. Service overall is good, in fact much better than a lot of places that we've been to.
The price – even without alcohol (2 diet cokes) we ended up paying £58 (4 dishes total). Certainly not casual dining prices and certainly not in line with the rest of the chain (even with location adjustments London is about 3 times more expensive – with lesser options and flexibility). At these prices Myung Ga may be be a better bet.