Bokman

Korean·
££££
·
Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Bokman

Silver Award

Anyone who has faced the Sisyphean trudge up Bristol’s Nine Tree Hill will doubtless have walked, panting and sweating, past Bokman. The restaurant has been here for nearly two years now, and yet, it still feels like a fresh face in Bristol’s dining scene. Some of that is lockdown-related no doubt, but it’s also a testament to what Duncan Robertson and Kyu Jeong Jeon are building here – a casual, accessible, vivacious Korean restaurant, where you can follow up authentic Korean food with soft-serve ice cream.

The restaurant itself is Scandi-minimal, with pine tables and a long dining bench by the window – a perfect spot for willing on hill-trudgers. It’s more canteen than fine dining, but the Bokman experience is really about the food. Kimchi fried rice is a must-order, sweet, spicy, salty and tangy in no particular order. ‘Tongdak’ is a whole chicken, stuffed with glutinous rice, roasted and smoked on a rotisserie. It’s as sensational as it sounds. Our visit featured beef short rib, beautifully braised in sweet soy sauce, sweet potato noodles in a chilled kimchi brine broth, and a kaleidoscope of condiments, pickles, spices and sauce pots. The broth was perhaps less to our taste, but there’s a sense of adventure at Bokman that is infectious – you might not love everything you order but it’s worth it for the thrill of discovery. 

On top of that, the staff are fantastic – there is inevitably a lot to be explained on the menu, but they do a very commendable job of it. Once you’ve made your way through the menu, did we mention the soft-serve ice cream? Our toasted marshmallow version was everything we hoped for, but Bokman mixes up the flavours often – we’ve seen affogato and sweet red bean in the past.

There is a casual dining scene growing in Bristol to rival almost anywhere in the country now. If you want to eat well for £30 a head, you have some fantastic options, but Bokman is undoubtedly among the best of those. With Duncan, Kyu and team just starting to hit their stride after a stop-start couple of years, the future is exciting.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
Korean
Ambience
Cool, Fun, Lively, Quirky
Other Awards
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner, Late night dining
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating, Terrace
Special Features
Gluten-free options, Vegetarian options
Food Hygiene Rating

About Bokman

Bokman in Bristol is a casual Korean restaurant with eye-catching red and white branding, offering up creative dishes for a steal. Widely considered one of the best places to eat for under £30, this restaurant is so trendy that it doesn't even have a website - just an Instagram. 

The signature dish here is the Tongdak: rice-stuffed, rotisserie-smoked chicken - not to be missed. The braised beef short rib is so popular that customers refuse to let Bokman remove it from the menu, while soondubu stew (soft tofu in a spicy mushroom broth with bacon, Cornish mussels and a poached egg) is similarly popular. There are always plenty of plant-based options too, including dubu jorim (spicy braised tofu) or cold wheat noodles with kimchi, fermented white radish, cucumber and watermelon. Other streetfood-style creations you might see at Bokamn include pork and kimchi buns, served piping hot and steaming, stuffed tempura chillis, savoury beef with marinated quail's egg and padron peppers, oysters with kimchi ice or even coriander kimchi, made using the whole plant (including the root). 

Specials typically include something pretty out there, like fresh mackerel braised in three-month-old kimchi, or a whole braised sea bream with radish, padron peppers, enoki mushrooms and beansprouts. Occasionally you might even see 'loaded tteokpokki', which is essentially a Korean-style fondue of spicy sauce with sausage, fish cakes, mozzarella balls and quail's eggs for dipping. This dish comes bubbling hot, so be careful not to burn yourself. 

Bokman is also a restaurant that focuses on fermenting and pickling where possible. This includes Turkish black fig or nectarine and mango kombucha, kimchi, pickled garlic and even soy sauce seasoned with mushroom stock, macerated onion syrup, brown rice vinegar, clementines, jujubes, garlic, chilli and kelp.

Desserts at Bokman are just as creative as the mains, featuring unusual dishes like matcha tiramisu.


FAQs

Do I need to book at Bokman?

You can book a table by messaging the team on Instagram, but the restaurant also accepts walk-ins.

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Location for Bokman

3 Nine Tree Hill, Cotham, Bristol, Bristol, BS1 3SB
Website

Opening Times

Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue 17:00-23:00
Wed 17:00-23:00
Thu 17:00-23:00
Fri 17:00-23:00
Sat 17:00-23:00
Sun Closed

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