We arrived at BiBimBap at 6pm, bang on opening time. Second through the door we had our pick of seats and sat by the window at the front. Being in a very busy area on Greek Street, a stones throw from Leicester Square, within half an hour the place was full.
The interior of the restaurant is bright and vibrant, with fun Instagram-style Polaroid photos on the wall in the shape of I ‘heart’ U. As we were first in we were not greeted with Korean smells but as soon as the table before us had ordered we started to get some amazing smells wafting over from the kitchen.
Between the two of us we ordered 2 BiBimBaps, a traditional Korean dish, and were offered an optional extra of a raw or fried egg. Luckily my friend had more knowledge of Korean cuisine than me and assured me that whilst the egg starts raw, the bowl is so hot it soon cooks as you mix it in. We both opted for the raw egg, I went for the spicy pork and my friend had the beef. Being two growing lads who love restaurants with a good side dish menu, we also opted for four sides; Tofu, Prawns, Squid and Kim-chi (a Korean pickle). To drink, we both ordered Korean green tea and of course some tap water for the table.
The tea arrived quickly and was like nothing I had drank before. It had a very savoury seaweed taste, but still felt light and refreshing; because it was so savoury it almost felt like it was filling me up!
The sides started coming and instantly we knew we were in for a treat. My palate isn’t too refined when it comes to Korean cuisine but all I can say is that each side had a very different edge to it. Some Asian restaurants offer sauces to compliment sides which are very same-same, these however were much more individual, each offering their own unique combination of flavours. The only let down (if it can even be called that) is that I’ve had better crispy squid elsewhere, I found this too crispy and almost tough; this might’ve been intended though.
The mains arrived and were a sight and smell and sound sensation. They were presented in heavy terracotta bowls which were sizzling and steaming away with colourful and exciting food inside. The raw egg sat proud on top and straight away we went at stirring in the egg, which you could see began to cook straight away. It was clear why the wooden tables had brown patches at each end – the bowls were really hot!
Along with the food our waiter brought us some miso, and chilli sauce. The miso sauce was incredible. I’d never really tried miso before, so it was a complete surprise to a fermented, beer-like fruity flavour – so tasty!! The main course itself was also a delight. So many different flavours and textures, within a couple of mouthfuls, both my friend and I were both commenting how we would be coming again! The entire bowl, with sauces, the now cooked raw egg, the sides, and even the Korean green tea, all went together perfectly, providing the right amount of contrasting and complimentary flavours.
The entire experience was a total delight and our bill, including drinks came to under £20 per person and included green tea, 3 sides and Korean pickles. It must be said that this was one of the most exciting, surprising and tasty meals I’ve had.
BiBimBap – I will be coming again!
Update: Not long after writing this post I did go again and it was just as good second time round. I had the raw beef bibimbap and we tried some more of the sides which were all delicious, especially the seafood pancakes! Bibimbap – expect to see me again very soon!