Bibimbap on Charlotte Street is the second branch of this popular Korean restaurant, the other being on Greek Street in Soho. Nestled amongst its more expensive and luxurious neighbours like Saltyard and Bubbledogs, the Charlotte Street branch stands out for being cheap, friendly and frankly, a little bit bonkers. It’s all plastic and bright colours and the walls are decorated with hundreds of tiny polaroid’s of people eating their dishes and looking absolutely elated about it! It’s exactly the kind of slightly out there but pleasingly so environment I’d expect to find if I stepped into a branch in Korea.
The dish to have is the beef fillet bibimbap which is vegetables and rice topped with raw beef and a raw egg. It looks intimidating to start with but once you’ve mixed it all up and allowed it to heat through by the boiling hot stone it comes served in, you end up with a hearty and substantial dish. As the dish looked so interesting and the textures of crunchy veg mixed with creamy egg were so spot on, I was surprised to find the flavour a bit lacking. I smothered mine in soy and chilli sauce (oddly served in ketchup bottles) until it was a bit more punchy but in doing so I reminded myself of uni days where those condiments were all I needed to make leftovers taste any good. A seafood version had the same flavour issue but did have a great mix of fresh seafood that was cooked perfectly by the heat of the stone. Starters of spicy race cakes are worth a go if you’ve never had them before although my friend who had said they were slightly on the underdone side and the kimchee pancake was hot and salty and great for washing down with a cold beer.
Bimbimap is great value and a good choice for soaking up the after effects of drinks with friends. Thanks to the team there for my complimentary main courses.