I’ve walked past Bi Bim Bap a few times whilst wandering the streets of Soho and never felt compelled to go in, perhaps it’s my bad experience at Kimchee that put me off Korean food…
Found on one of Soho’s most popular streets for dining; Greek Street. Bi Bim Bap stands out from the rest of the restaurants on the street and opts for a more casual dining experience.
The same can also be said from the inside, with simple furnishings that have a homely atmosphere. Pictures of past diners, surround the walls making you feel part of the family and more importantly that diners are important to the restaurant.
Labelled as ‘side dishes’ on the menu, we actually had the first two dishes as starters (out of habit, not as a preference).
The spicy rice cake was the dish opted by the OH and I was pleasantly surprised. My definition of a rice cake is a crispy light snack yet this was a completely different dish to the one I envisaged. The Korean rice cake is described as ‘stir-fried long rice cakes’ and was soft and slippery in texture. The ‘spicy’ was bang on, my pet hate is when dishes claim to be spicy and end up being timid and barely coated in chilli, this hit the right spot but be warned if you’re not an avid spice eater you will unlikely be able to finish the dish.
For us? We gulped this down and were left (almost) licking the plate. Delicious is an understatement.
My starter of choice was the seafood pancake which came served with a garlic and sesame soy sauce. What surprised me about the dish was how generous it was, not only in portion size but the big pieces of prawns found within the pancake. There’s no scrimping on taste and even the smaller pieces of pancake were flavoursome with a hint of seafood running through every bite. The batter was cooked well and was soft yet firm, holding it’s shape when dipped into the sharp garlic, sesame soy sauce.
Safe to say this was another dish finished as quickly as it arrived.
The OH was leaning more towards the rice dishes and opted for the beef bool-go gi. Arriving in a stone dish and served with the beef on top of the rice, again portion sizes were very generous. The beef was cooked well and wasn’t too chewy and was seasoned well and had an interesting taste. I can’t put my finger on what the beef was cooked with, but it’s good to note that care and attention has been put in to ensure a simple dish such as this, still had flavour.
Although enjoyable, this was my least favourite of the dishes as it was a little too simple for my taste.
Eating at Bi Bim Bap meant I had to order one of the star dishes; bibimbap. For those unfamiliar, bibimbap is a dish with rice topped with sautéed vegetables with a choice of meat on top. I opted for the beef fillet with raw egg. The egg is £1 more and you have a choice between, cooked and raw.
As the dish is served in a (very hot) stone pot you mix the dish yourself and the dish takes only minutes to cook. We were also given chilli sauce and miso paste to add whilst mixing.
I love the simplistic idea of essentially creating the dish yourself. I love miso paste and chilli so added quite a lot to add more depth of flavour into the dish. The beef was still tender when cooked and there was plenty of it. The raw egg gave a silky appearance throughout the dish once cooked and went well with the vegetables. The rice was delicious and had a light taste and texture of fried rice since it had been gently cooking in the bottom of the pot. What’s not to like?
Bi Bim Bap creates simple yet delicious dishes which are served in a warm, inviting restaurant. With an increasingly busy atmosphere on an early Wednesday evening, I’m definitely not the only one who thinks so.
I was invited as a guest at Bi Bim Bap. All opinions are honest and always my own.
- Bi Bim Bap, Soho