On this day two years ago I was in London for various meetings. Over lunch I went for a walk around Covent Garden and enjoyed looking at the Christmas decorations. Since 2015 when I started working at my current organisation I would go to London quite frequently and in December it is really nice to see the different ways in which they decorate Covent Garden and other places around London.
Of course since the Covid-19 lockdown I’ve not been to work or meetings in London since March.
However back to 2018, so I headed towards Kimchee on the Strand to get some lunch. Since my previous visit a few months earlier they have changed dramatically how they sell and serve food. Before you would pick things up from the hot and cold units and then either (as I usually did) take it back to the office or there were tables you could eat at. However now there was a big kitchen area, you would place your order, get a buzzer thingy and wait until the food was cooked to order. I quite like getting freshly cooked food, so was happy to wait.
I ordered the Deopbap Chicken Bulgogi and the Pa Jeon. I then had to wait for my order. Deopbap Chicken Bulgogi was Korean BBQ Chicken in a rice bowl.
The grilled chicken marinated in a blend of ginger, dark soy and garlic, was coated in a sauce and served on a bed of rice and salad. It was quite tasty, but not really barbecued chicken. It was just okay and nothing special and at nearly nine pounds I thought it was overpriced and wasn’t value for money.
I really liked the sound of the Seafood Pa Jeon, a Korean savoury pancake. Pajeon is a variety of jeon with scallion as its prominent ingredient, as pa means scallion. It is a Korean dish made from a batter of eggs, wheat flour, rice flour, scallions, and often other ingredients depending on the variety.
However the end result was a greasy stodgy undercooked pancake with no real flavour. I couldn’t actually finish it. I certainly won’t be going again.
On a later visit to London in 2019 I found that the branch of Kimchee had closed down. I wasn’t too surprised as the essence of what they had which worked was lost, as well as the downturn in the quality of the food as well as more expensive dishes. It also took longer to get served and I am sure that had an impact on those wanting to pick something up quickly and head back to their workplace.
I have no idea if all the Korean BBQ dishes and meals I have eaten recently are at all authentic, but I do like what I have been eating. One day I might need to visit Korea for the actual experience, like that will ever happen.
My most recent Korean BBQ experience was at Itsu where I went with their Korean BBQ Chicken Rice Bowl.
Lean chargrilled chicken with wholegrain brown & red rice, fresh seasonal greens, gochujang chilli, thai & teriyaki sauce.
Now mine didn’t look the picture on the website, mainly as the pot it arrived in was not as wide as the one on the website.
The chicken was chicken, the greens were fresh, I liked the rice with the Thai sauce. The gochujang chilli added heat, but not excessively so.
One place I do like to eat at, when visiting London, is Kimchee on the Strand. This is a Korean eatery which sells a range of dishes such as dosirak.
A true taste of Korea! All our dosirak boxes are filled with a selection of traditional Korean dishes giving you the ultimate meal in one handy box!
Crispy fried chicken cooked in sweet chilli sauce, steamed cabbage and carrot mix, steamed rice, a side of chicken dumpling [mandu], broccoli and sweet omelette.
Having decided to try and cook something similar at home, I was slightly disappointed that my usual places didn’t seem to sell Korean spices or sauces. Plenty of other types of cuisine, but not Korean.
However at my local Marks and Spencer’s they, as part of their stir fry meal deal, did have a Korean BBQ sauce, so I thought, let’s try that and see what happens.
I marinade some diced chicken thigh in the sauce before stir frying in my wok. This didn’t really work as I thought it would and the chicken rather than being stir fried, was more cooked in the sauce. I removed the chicken and then added some vegetables, which were stir fried. Once they were nearly cooked I added back the cooked chicken.
Overall it wasn’t that good. Certainly nothing like the Kimchee experience, looks like I will have to try harder. I think next time I would just add some dry spices to the chicken, then cook it. I am also going to seek out a more authentic supplier of Korean spices and marinades.
Though I go to London quite bit, as I have been at events I’ve not needed to go out for lunch. So I was quite looking forward to choosing a place for lunch during a recent day in the big smoke.
Last year I had been to Kimchee on the Strand and had a really nice meal in a box. Kimchee sells a range of Korean take away boxes (hot and cold), salads, soups as well as a range of drinks and snacks.
I really like the feel and environment of the place, I felt very comfortable eating there the last time I went.
This time looking over what was available I really did like the look of the Chicken Dosirak.
Chicken cooked in a sauce, steamed cabbage and carrot mix, steamed rice, a side of chicken dumpling [mandu], broccoli and sweet omelette.
It looked great and was well presented. The chicken was lovely and tender, with a really great flavour. I enjoyed the mandu and the omelette. It was a really nice combination and tasted delicious.