My youngest daughter is currently learning to speak, write and read Korean, is mildly obsessed by KPop and loves all things from Korea. At 16 she is of the age where she is going out by herself and, just like me, she loves to eat at new and exciting restaurants.
A few months ago she came home after a trip to London with her big brother and raved about a little Korean restaurant she had found in Soho. She has since been back countless times and last week she insisted I join her so I could also sample the authentic Korean goodies on offer.
Bibimbap Soho can be found at the top of Greek Street in Soho, about a 5 minute walk from Covent Garden. It's an unassuming entrance and quite easy to miss but keep your wits about you and you'll spot it.
The restaurant itself is cosy. Covered in KPop band photos on the walls with KPop music playing quietly through the speakers. It has a good lively atmosphere and the staff are very friendly and helpful. There are 2 floors of seating and plenty of room to eat even though the restaurant is small.
The menu covers all the Korean bibimbap classics along with other noodle, rice and fried chicken dishes - at affordable prices which, I have to admit in London, is not always the case.
The food arrived quickly; there was a tiny error with our order but this was corrected efficiently and I always think this is the mark of a good restaurant.
The Korean fried chicken with kimchi mayo and chilli sauce was incredibly flavoursome, with light batter and seasoning that puts Colonel Sanders to shame. The kimchi mayo had a mellow yet tangy flavour and the chilli sauce was vibrant and smoky - not your average chilli sauce.
The deep fried crispy squid was perfectly cooked with soft rings coated in a chilli and salt crispy batter. The dipping sauce was also delicious. I am glad to report that the squid was not rubbery at all, which is always a bonus.
Then we moved on to the bibimbaps. The stars of the show. Meat, seafood, tofu or veg with sticky rice placed in a ferociously hot stone bowl that is served on a wooden tray. The smell as the hot stone bowls drift towards you in the hands of the servers just perk you up instantly. We chose chicken teriyaki and tofu bibimbaps, both delicious but for me the tofu just pipped the post as my highlight of the day.
The chicken teriyaki had a rich glaze which permeated through the dish and the tofu, once again like the fried chicken and the squid, was perfectly spiced and seasoned. The vegetables were crisp and fresh and the rice... oh the rice... for me is one of the best bits of a bibimbap, especially when it sizzles at the bottom and you are left with an amazing crispy, tasty layer. Delicious!
With each meal you are given two sauces, a miso sauce (slightly salty) and a red pepper sauce (sweet but with a mild chilli flavour), these complement the bibimbaps completely and also tasted great with the squid and fried chicken.
All in all, the restaurant is clean, relaxed, friendly and affordable. The food is delicious and tastes fresh and well seasoned. If you like Korean food or just fancy a change, I recommend trying Bibimbap Soho, a fantastic little find and great for lunch!