Korean food has been a fairly recent addition to my food repertoire and I’m loving it. So I had to try out new Covent Garden opening (yes, another one) On The Bab where they serve Korean street food. It’s owned by the same people as Koba which I loved and blogged about after our visit last year. You can click on its name (above) to read about that, too.
On The Bab seems a curious name, but it does stick in the mind, it’s catchy I guess. It means served with rice, which some of the dishes are, though certainly not all of them.
The bright, modern space with exposed brick walls sits on one of Covent Garden’s busiest eating streets – Wellington Street. It feels very trendy, edgy even, which is appropriate seeing that Korean food seems to be heading the food fashion stakes this season. It serves all day which is handy for a sneaky mid-afternoon feast to break from shopping (which is what we did) and service is welcoming and relaxed.
There’s a small plates section that we mainly ordered from. I love a good dumpling and these shrimp ones (kun mandu) were pan-fried – the lightly crisped dumpling was densely stuffed with delicious minced shrimps and spices.
I’m also quite partial to seaweed, though I’d never had it as a salad. It was delicious, served with a citrus dressing and scattered with pine nuts. Love food served in console jars.
Korean-style fried chicken is a must. Served coated in crispy batter with crushed peanuts, you choose your sauce to go with it. We went sweet spicy which was perfect with the moistness of the chicken and the hot, crunchy batter.
There’s a traditional section of exotic-sounding dishes. Like the Korean-style kimchi bacon paella with a fried egg on top. Hard to picture from this description, so we had to have it. It’s a kind of rice and vegetable extravaganza with tasty paella-style rice, crunchy raw vegetables and a lovely chilli-mayo dressing, all topped with seaweed and a runny fried egg. A delicious combo and something completely different.
I’ve cooked bulgogi beef (having bought it ready-marinated from our local Korean store, isn’t it fabulous to have a local Korean store in London). This is a beef noodle salad, stir fried with rice noodles. Tender meat and that tasty savoury sauce.
And then it was time for just one more bit of fried chicken. This time coated in a creamy garlic mayo.
The On the Bab section which we never ventured into (this time), features traditional dishes like bulgogi, spicy pork and spicy chicken served on rice, buns or as a Korean-style burrito.
The table sauces, one more spicy and one more creamy are a delightful addition. There’s an interesting range of Korean cocktails (something I know nothing about!), plus a herbal and spiced tea selection.
This is the sort of place I can see myself visiting again and again. The food feels adventurous without being too scary, and it’s delicious. Whether you’re planning a quick pop-in or a leisurely feast, there’s something to delight. Oh and did I mention they do takeaways? Wish I had one around the corner. More Korean food for me, please. Enjoy the lovely pictures.
On The Bab is at 36 Wellington Street, Covent Garden.