16 Hanway St. W1T 1UE
Telephone: 020 7637 1985
Nearest Tube: Totterham Court Road
Average price per person (lunch): £9 (for one lunch special and drink)
The number of good Korean restaurants we know can probably counted on the digits of a three-toed sloth with a birth defect. That’s right folks – only one. That’s appalling and will have to be remedied immediately. Via the grape-vine I’ve recently learnt that there’s a thriving Korean community of maybe 20, 000 in New Maldon – near Wimbledon way. It started off with one restaurant, called Asadal (still running strong with a mainly Korean clientele) and various others – Yeon-Ji, You-Me, Jees. We will visit them all, maybe try our hand at a little karaoke and report back pronto.
Onto the one Korean restaurant we do know and have frequented there several times – Han Kang. Set in an alley-way you might well be transported back into a Blade Runner movie set. Pretty dodge. Inside it is lovely however. The way you would expect a respectable traditional Korean restaurant to look.
They have a pretty reasonable special lunch menu ranging about 10 dishes for about £6.50 each. Go for this and avoid the dinner if you’re feeling thrifty. Been for dinner a few times and it’s always more enjoyable when you’re paying less and go for the full hog. Don’t know why Japanese and Korean places are so expensive for dinner – maybe we’re just looking at the wrong areas.
The meal was accompanied by a bowl of kimchee and marinated potatoes. I’m not an expert on kimchee – I have had hotter, but it was tasty nevertheless.
We tried two plates of their BBQ. They give you the option of stinking your clothes and hair out and barbequing at your table, or cooking it in their kitchen. But what’s the fun in that? We tried the bulgogi or marinated beef slices and deaji bulgogi (pork slices). While she was sizzling the meat away on the hot grill, the smells wetted our appetite and teased our senses. A whole plate of raw meat can seem like a lot, but in actual fact, it shrivels away to a few mouthfuls. A bit pricey for £8 per meat, but the taste and texture is exquisitely of the melt-in-your-mouth variety.
I always go for the Bi Bim Bap. A well known dish which is a hot stone pot into which is encased rice, a variety of vegetables (shredded carrots, zucchini, spinach, bean sprouts) topped off with strips of marinated beef and an egg (sunny side up). It is served with a sweet red soybean paste which really makes a difference to the flavours. You have to mix every thing well before you eat so that the runny egg coats all the ingredients making it a truly rich hearty meal – ideal for blistery winters. They also serve a complimentary bowl of miso soup with this. The Man had a similar version to this but with raw beef.
The rest of the table had various dishes of the lunch specials. All looked very different and appealing, but alas, I can not remember for the life of me the nuances of every flavour or their Korean names. I will leave the pictures for your perusal.
A brilliant place to munch for lunch, good value especially if you don’t stray away from the cheap lunch menu. Waiting staff are fast, efficient and polite making the dining experience all the more enjoyable. A nice hidey-hole away from the hustle and bustle of the electronic stretch of Totterham Court road.
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