Sunday, April 6, 2014

On the Bab, 28th March

On the Bab is a cute little Korean place on Old Street serving up 'anju' (food meant to be eaten with beer) plus a whole host of other Korean staples and otherwise.

Unfortunately, the food flip-flopped between tasty and tasteless or 'takeway Chinese'.

We ordered a range of dishes to try out all the different things they did. First to arrive were the kimchi jeon – a kimchi pancake, and the bibimbap with bulgogi beef. The pancakes - delicious and cripsy, working well with either the surprisingly light chilli oil, or the more pungent chilli sauce.

The bibimbap was pretty hopeless. We were advised to put some of the chilli oil on it, which we did but even this didn't really give it much of a taste. It all comes in a bowl and you're supposed to stir it all together, normally making sure it all gets coated in the flavouring. This had none, not even any lovely meat juices gathered at the bottom. Also, I'm sure when I've had it before it has come in a really hot dish, with a raw egg on top which cooks when you stir it in. This had a partially fried egg which was too cooked to really get distributed throughout and the whole dish was verging on cold. There was also rather a lot of it, which, when it's not that great, is not a good thing.

Next came the yangyum chicken which was a tale of two halves. The soy garlic nuggets really allowed the crushed peanut to come through and were nice and crispy, with a strong garlic and possibly lime flavour. The sweet and sour were also crispy but were too reminiscent of takeaway sweet and sour chicken for me, getting quite cloying and sickly after a while and overpowering any peanut. The garnish of julienned cabbage with a sauce was really nice though. I had ordered the 'small' serving (as opposed to extra small) and we must have had at least eight pieces - it was another substantial dish.

We ended on a high with the kimchi rice balls, bab twigim, which were packed with gooey cheese and came with a knock-your-head off chilli sauce.

I wanted to like this place, and hoped it would be a better alternative to Jubo, where we liked the chicken but didn't like anything else. But it was too much pot luck as to whether you would like what you got. And if it was really good fried chicken I was after, I would forgo both the Korean places and head to Clutch!

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Square Meal

Find the menu & restaurant information on Zomato

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