Great atmosphere, great for sharing and taking part in a new dining experience.
Now, I live and have lived in Holborn previously for over a year but managed to brush past this gem of a restaurant. Located right next the to the tube, it is easily missed until you smell the aroma of intensely appetising food, tempting you inside. It is also a great sign when the customers are coming out telling you, you need to go in and I assure you they are not wrong. Expect to queue to get a table unless you have booked in advance, but again this is just another sign of the restaurants popularity and the restaurant is worth the wait.
This place is great for an entertaining and interactive meal, the tables have there own gas heated cookers in the middle, which are used for their popular BQQ meat meals.
Appetisers sampled included the "Man Du soup" handmade dumpling soup- which had three handmade dumplings and pieces of egg in a steamy broth. The star however was "Pa Jeon", pancake made of egg, wheat and rice flour, pan fried with spring onions, oysters, muscles, prawn and squid. I find the English often overlook the different uses of pancakes and its ability to create a variety of dishes and be mixed with a large array of ingredients. These we both soft and crispy with different textures from the seafood.
The main dishes were the shows stoppers, although I feel the "Sam Gae Tang", Whole baby chicken stuffed with sticky rice, dates, ginseng, chestnuts, garlic slowed cooked and served in a broth, was a little disappointing in flavour, as it lacked much oomph and can only be described as boiled chicken.
However, I throughly reccommend the "Yu Khei Bibimbab" one of Koreas most popular dishes, consisting of rice topped with fresh and cooked vegetables, red chilli paste and raw beef. This is then mixed together by a very attentive server, which allows the meat and vegetables to cook together in the hot stone bowl and create a "harmony" of flavours.
The idea of Korean food is to bring diners together, to use food to socialise, as they believe sharing food with others is a way to experience love and togetherness. I throughly agree with this and believe the restaurant and atmosphere helps accentuate this message. The BQQ section is focused on sharing an inmate meal using your fingers and getting stuck in with the atmosphere of the place. The "Joo Moo Luk Kui"slices of sirloin seasoned with sesame oil and garlic, was full of flavour.
The waiter prepared the meat to medium rare as requested and then demonstrated how to eat the meal. You begin with a lettuce leaf and using the back of a spoon, dip it in bean paste then spread on the lettuce. Then dip the meat in sesame oil and wrap together. Now the waiter told me I had to shallow it in one go as that is how it is eaten in Korea. Though I had my doubts and decided to chew my food. It was very good all the same.
This restaurant ticks the right boxes for me and my first real experience of Korean food, was definitely a successful and enjoyable one.