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230 Shaftsbury Avenue
This Shaftesbury Avenue Korean stands its ground when it comes to authenticity, and can never be accused of dumbing down. Deeply savoury doen jang jji gae soup sets the tone for a menu that
offers a full complement of native favourites, from steaming jigae hotpots and sizzling dolsot bibimbap (rice and all sorts of goodies mixed together in a hot stone bowl) to BBQ meats and sam
kyeop sal (slow-cooked pork in a sweet and spicy sauce). The kitchen also shows some flashes of creativity: classic jap chee (stir-fried glass noodles and vegetables) might be wrapped in rice
paper and deep-fried to make a crunchy, spring-roll starter. Friendly staff ensure that everything runs smoothly in the softly lit dining room, where pale wood, cream walls and subtle oriental
designs define the mood.
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Best Korean Restaurants in London
230 Shaftsbury Avenue
Tottenham Court Road Tube Station 409m
Covent Garden Tube Station 412m
Shaftesbury Theatre 43m
The Hospital Art Gallery 221m
Mon-Sat 12N-3pm 6-11pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
Difficult to call on the accuracy of the cooking, I'm not a regular eater of Korean, which, considering the delicious menu I'm faced with, surprises me. I think that there's a trick missed in my dining life. A selection of stews, fried dishes, noodle dishes and the phrase I'm looking for, dolsot bibimbap, a (relatively) healthy dish served in a roasting hot stone bowl that I'm relying on to take away my Monday evening blues. Authentic or not, there's little else I recognise on the menu, often one of the best benchmarks for authenticity.
A larger than expected portion of ‘Crunch Chicken’ sweetly and oddly tastes just like a gourmet version of a McDonald's Chicken McNugget. Noticeably sugared flesh beneath a light battered coating, it's surprising and not at all unpleasant, in a guilty pleasure sort of way. There's definitely a food dude marketing angle in this, it'd sell like, well hot chicken, in an East End foodie market. Come to think of it, I might try and get in there before anyone else notices! The obligatory side of kimchi, fermented and chilli infused cabbage, is a welcome contrast (if a little cold) cutting through the chicken and giving a needed contrast in texture.
The main event, that dolsot bibimbap, is enough to make me kick myself for not having it more often. It's a superb piece of simple cooking with some wonderful flavour and texture contrasts. Small piles of steamed and fragrant veggies are placed adjacent to each other for contrast, alongside a healthy portion of beef slivers, atop a bed of plain rice. The stone bowl, boiling hot from the oven, has been coated with sesame oil before being filled and the smell is outstanding. An egg yolk completes the dish, stirred into the browning, crispening rice and coating the meat and vegetables, cooking as it does to give the whole dish a light yellow sesame scented sheen. Cut through with more of that kimchi, this is truly a heartening and hearty winter dish.
The FoH team are friendly and unobtrusive, the decor is inoffensively pale, a mid range fairly generic Asian restaurant that could be anywhere or serving anything. It's not overly designed, but is functional and very comforting, like the food. Just round the back of the Shaftesbury Theatre, you're not going to find it on any glitzy hit lists, but that won't stop me going back and shouldn't stop you going, assuming you haven't already been.
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