So tonight we started our evening off in a part of London I’m not that familiar with – Warren Street. It’s close to Charlotte Street, one of my very favourite London streets and it’s very conveniently on the Victoria Line, one of the best tube lines in town. We were meeting our friends Neil and Jakki there as we were being introduced to the delights of their favourite Korean restaurant, Koba. To start we visited a couple of bars in the Warren Street neighbourhood, and very nice it is, too. It’s been a good year for visiting new areas in this beautiful city I live in. On this hot Friday summer night, the place was totally buzzing.
From there it’s not far to Koba. I’ve waxed lyrical about our local Korean supermarket, which is a warehouse-full of exotic-ness…and I’ve tried cooking with plenty of their goodies, but I’d never been to a Korean restaurant. Jakki’s Korean so she guided us through the menu. It’s very different to anything else…a bit like my dinner at Lima, that is coincidentally about a minute down the road. From Peru to Korea in a couple of minutes. Gotta love London.
We ate a combo of meat and fish dishes, all wonderful, with traditional accompaniments.
The Korean pancake with seafood and spring onion was a great start.
Then on to the most amazing prawns, a real masterpiece to look at and wonderfully juicy and crispy in their special, spiky batter.
Wonderfully hot and crisp chicken was next. This dish was really packed with flavours.
If you’re thinking Korean, the first word that comes to mind is Kimchi. This ubiquitous side dish is made of vegetables fermented with a variety of seasonings. We tucked into cucumber which was beautifully spicy and crunchy cabbage. Hello to the pickles of the Korean world, the sort of thing I’d like in my cupboard to eat with pretty much anything.
A lot of chopping and dipping goes on when you’re eating Korean, it feels like a very sociable and interactive experience. When it comes to the meat courses, there’s a grill set into the centre of the table and you cook your own food. Oh joy! We ordered the Koba Modeum Gooi which is a grand assortment of meats, prawns and vegetables, including marinated beef sirloin, sweet and spicy chicken, sweet and spicy pork.
The meat comes with fresh lettuce, soya bean paste, sliced spring onion with chilli vinegar. So when the morsels are cooked to your taste, you simply wrap them up in the leaves with some condiments for a parcel of deliciousness.
This wonderful beef came in a hotpot on a bed of rice with an egg yolk delicately balanced on top. Time to get your chopsticks and give everything a good mix together. I love the way you’re expected to really get stuck into your food.
Thanks Neil and Jakki for the great introduction to a new world of food. Korean is definitely on my food radar now.
Koba is at 11 Rathbone Place.