Bibimbap – Charlotte St, London

Bibimbap means mixed rice in Korean. It is a bowl of warm white rice often served with vegetables, sliced meat and a raw or fried egg. It is also the name of a relatively new Korean restaurant in Charlotte St (with another branch in Soho) that specialises in… bibimbap, surprise surprise.

We ordered kimchi pancake and vegetable dumplings to start. I loved both; they tasted fresh and neither were greasy or stodgy. Both came with simple yet effective variations on soy sauce.

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We then all had bibimbap(s?); I had chilli chicken, two of my friends had beef bool-go-gi (specially marinated beef strips) and one had fillet beef (strips of raw seasoned beef fillet that cooks once mixed in the stone bowl). The last is clearly the most adventurous as she also had a raw egg whilst the rest of us opted for fried. I really enjoyed my bibimbap, as did my friends. It was extremely tasty and the perfect level of spicy for me. The one recommendation I would make is to use more vegetables or chicken and less rice and I was full up very quickly.

We were also provided with two sauces; chilli and miso. Interestingly, the miso sauce came in a yellow mustard dispenser and the chilli sauce in a red ketchup dispenser. Whilst both sauces were great additions to the dishes, their packaging was quite confusing since I, like many, expect to get ketchup out of a red plastic dispenser and mustard out a yellow one. Whilst it didn’t diminish the enjoyment derived from the food, perhaps they could invest in some alternative packaging.

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Another little shocker; no desserts! Not even a mini Korean chocolate pancake to satisfy those with a sweet tooth.

We indulged in a bottle of wine between the four of us (after stressful days at work) – this set us back £22.50; had we stuck with water the meal would have been just over £10 which is great value given that we all left feeling full. Also if you are in a rush, this is the place to go as service was great and our food came extremely quickly. There is also a refreshingly casual atmosphere.

In conclusion, there are a few improvements Bibimbap could make, but I would definitely recommend it for a simple, cheap, quick and filling restaurant.

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