30 May 2005

More food in Londres

Bibimbap
Bibimbap
Originally uploaded by framboise.

We ate very well and cheaply in London, thanks to some insider's knowledge from my brother, who is often loath to part with money for anything. On previous trips to London, I'd eaten at quite a few Japanese restaurants, with Cafe Japan at Golders Green being my favourite so far. A similar homely Japanese restaurant, Asakusa, round the corner from Mornington Crescent (yes, the same Mornington Crescent of I'm sorry I haven't a clue fame) is my brother's. You have to book a table in advance as the place is small and very busy, even on a school night. But that goes without saying in London anyway. The menu is extensive yet competitively priced. My brother never fails to order the Asakusa special salad, which comprises sashimi, shredded seaweed and other crunchy veg tossed in a peanut/seasame seed sauce. Another favourite of his is the sake kawa maki (grilled salmon skin in a sushi roll), a most excellent use of salmon skin. Deluxe (as P would say)!


Nigiri Sushi Too quick for me.. Sake kawa maki
Nigiri sushi Tempura udon Sake kawa maki

By a stroke of luck, we were in London during Chelsea Flower Show Week, and had the presence of mind to order some evening tickets a couple of weeks in advance (photos and comments to follow in a future post). Staying out till the 8pm close of show precluded cooking dinner yet again (oh, the chore of having to eat out!). More East Asian food was on the menu that night, at the Korean restaurant, Ran, close to Carnaby Street (nearest Tube stn Oxford Circus). Even though we booked, we still had to wait for 30 min. It was worth the wait though. A veritable feast of spicy food. We tried our best not to over-order, so we could enjoy the food without feeling sick on the train ride home. We were given good advice by our waitress, and enjoyed a couple of starters with pickles on the side, followed by self-grilled bulgogi (marinated) beef, a spicy soya-based chige (miso soup), and the best-named fried rice I've ever had: bibimbap. I've never had proper Korean food before (I don't think Korean barbeque chains count), and was pleasantly surprised to find that it isn't too spicy if you order the toned down dishes. We watched with fascination as a Korean couple next to us worked their way through 6 different bowls of kimchi, and had little rounds of tender beef grilled on the gas stoves built into the tables. It's a great wee place for interactive eating (like a do-it-yourself teppanyaki). I'll be looking out for more Korean restaurants in the future, if this experience was anything to judge their food by.

Kimchi pancakes Rice sticks Bulgogi beef Miso chige
Kimchi pancakes Rice sticks Bulgogi beef Miso chige

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5 comments:

Anthony said...

Much as I love Japanese food I had to skip forward to the Korean one. Now
bibimap, is that the one that's mixed up in a very hot stone bow? It's exceptional and made for many happy lunches.

bramble said...

Hi Anthony,
Yes it was served in a piping hot bowl, with a fried egg on top. I must admit, the name sold it.

Santos said...

hi bramble! i am by no means a korean cuisine expert (ah, for the wisdom of the fatman), but guam has an inordinate amount of good korean restaurants. i just wanted to say in case you wanted to order the bibimbap again in another restaurant, what you had is actually called dolsot bibimbap--dolsot is the hot stone bowl it comes in. if you just ask for bibimbap, you normally would get a "cold" version, which, imho, is nice on a warm day, but not necessarily what you would want.

bramble said...

Thanks Santos! I keep meaning to write down the names of dishes in restaurants, but never remember to. Those hot stone bowls are another item to go on the list of kitchen must-haves. Now to find a kitchen big enough...

guile said...

i'm going hungry..