Korean food is one of those cuisines which is growing rapidly in London, and with places like On the Bab serving mouth-wateringly tasty buns, salads and crispy chicken, you can understand why. All you have to do is look at the menu and it’ll set your tummy off growling and rumbling.
On the Bab is really close to my office, so many of my colleagues had already been. Making us all jealous with their stories after client meetings and lunch trips to the busy Covent Garden hot spot, I just had to go along and see for myself what I was missing out on.One of the girls and I went along straight from work recently, for a catch-up over some good food. Although it was mid-week, we didn’t quite expect to be seated right away, having heard it can get really busy at times – lucky us! We sat pondering the menu, discussing all the recommendations of items we apparently just had to order and contemplating SO many. Noodle salad? On the buns? Korimari? – Yup,I didn’t know what many of the items were either! Doesn’t that add to the fun?We finally settled for sharing a small portion of Yangyum chicken flavoured with special soy – Korean style fried chicken, coated in crispy baer w/ crushed peanuts – Bulgogi beef on the buns and spicy pork on the roll – a Korean style burrito sushi roll. If not much of this makes sense, you’ll see just what these magical names represent in my pics below.
Drinks confused us even more, and although we hadn’t a clue what Soju was, we ordered a plum Soju each, also known as Maehwaju, as well as some tap water. We wanted to get stuck into the Korean vibes and try something new – and this it was.
Our Soju was served in a small, brandy like glass. A spirit of sorts, this rich drink was pretty tasty, although if you’re quite thirsty definitely go for a Soju cocktail, so you can still experience traditional Korean ways in a taller contemporary drink.
Our dishes got served in the European style, delivered to the table individually when each dish was ready. Whilst I’m not really a big fan of this style of service, as I like everything together before starting (maybe that’s the food blogger in me), but we did get to tuck in whilst we waited for the final dish to arrive.The Yangyum chicken was incredible. Slightly crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, the coating was sticky and flavoursome which a hint of a rich/meaty taste coming through. The peanuts on top added an extra crunch and nutty flavour – a great combination for the flavours of chicken. I’d never had Korean buns before, so apart from drooling over the pics on Instagram I was unaware of how much of a treat I was in for. The bun was soft and dough like, almost as if it hadn’t actually been cooked, just left to rise. Served with beef bulgogi, a rich and tender pulled-like beef and a mixed Korean salad, the beef stood out and did not get lost with the other flavours, and the combination of softness and crunch was perfect. A little big perhaps for the average mouth, it was almost like a personal challenge to eat this without spilling it. Adding a little chilli sauce at times (I do like my food spicy!), I soon devoured mine. The spicy pork on the roll was just as good. Spicy pork, mixed with a crispy salad and sticky rice, before being wrapped in seawood and served with crispy onions on top – delightful. This delicious dish reminded a little of sushi, but again a great combination of softness and crunch, the crispy salad really added something fresh and different. I love crispy onions, and these were definitely well used on top of this dish. You might not think this is filling by looking at the image, but you’d be surprised. I think my favourite has to the crispy chicken – I just have a huge love for chicken! – but it’s a very close call. The buns were incredible, and I’ll definitely be having this again.
We finished off, so full, and paid our bill – the total of which we thought was very reasonable, especially for Covent Garden.
We would definitely recommend you go try On the Bab if you haven’t been already. A sure win for dates, meetings and catch-ups, I can’t wait to go back as there’s so many other items I want to try!
Have you been to any Korean restaurants? Where would you recommend?