Simply Korean with a free facial at Assa

Continuing on my Korean culinary journey I went for my Kim Chi fix at Assa near Tottenham Court Road. This is a tiny little Korean place which seems to be full of students and very busy. On a wet and rainy autumn evening, this was the perfect comfort food, even though it was stinking rotting cabbage as @FoodUrchin calls it. We had a short wait and was seated next to the kitchen. A short while after, we had to share our table with another couple which was a bit crowded, but it’s that kind of a place.

Every table had on it a gas burner and big steaming wok of hot soup. So that is what we ordered too. I did ask for the Korean name but I didn’t quite get it. Our vat of Kim Chi soup came loaded with vegetables like mushrooms, courgettes, spring onions and topped with some potato noodles.

The recipe is basically similar to the Kimchi Jigae but much more soupy and came with a serving of beef bulgogi. We were given complimentary side dishes of bean sprouts and seaweed and a couple of bowls of rice.

Assa Tottenham Court Road

It takes a few minutes for pot to boil and when it does you get a face full of steam.The table is so small, you can’t really get far away enough from the hot pot. So ladies, don’t come in full make up before a night out, it will all be steamed off!

All the food is prepared at the back in this tiny open kitchen. The whole place is tizzy with activity.

Assa Tottenham Court Road

The service is quick and frantic, the food it honest and very reasonable. Dinner for 2 came to £20 with drinks and service. Great value for a quick and delicious Korean meal.

Assa on Urbanspoon

Kim Chee, Golders Green

London has never been great for Korean Restaurants. There used to be a superb one in Aldgate with home cooked Korean food and now there are a few around the West End. The good news is that several new places have sprung up in NW11, just opposite Tokyo Cafe. Kim Chee is one of these, serving honest Korean fare at very reasonable prices.

I must admit that don’t know that much about Korean food, except that I really like the spicy flavours and love the Kimchi (pickled cabbage) that goes with everything. In London, ordering Korean food is simplified as they all mostly offer the same dishes that are the most recognisable like Bibimbap, Bulgogi and the like.

Kim Chee Golders Green

I popped in recently for lunch for the first time with a friend who lives locally and often gets takeaway from here. It was quite busy with a few families and some young Asian students. The place is decorated like a Korean Inn with widely spaced tables. As with other Koreans, the table double up as barbecues too. We ordered a couple of staple Korean dishes to share with some side dishes.

Kim Chee Golders GreenKimchi Chigae

This was a delightfully spicy soup with lots of vegetables. Comfort food. I heard that you can buy this from the Korean Supermarket around the corner for about £3.50.

Kim Chee Golders Green

Side dishes: Kim Chi, Bean Sprout salad, pickled radish.

One of the best things about Korean food is the large array of side vegetables. You always feel like you had a healthy balanced meal with a few of these side dishes and a pile of barbecued meat.

Bibimbap

Bibimbap

We were so keen to dig into the Bibimbap that I forgot to take a picture until we had some of this. Bibimbap is such a gratifying meal in itself. Take a hot stone bowl, add some  rice, assorted shredded vegetables, some marinated beef, an egg and a lot of sauce. Mix it all up and tuck in. The hot bowl causes the rice to form a crust and this is the best bit of this dish, the cripsy rice crust.

Kim Chee Golders Green

Seawood soup that accompanies the Bibimbap.

I will be back soon to try out their tabletop Korean BBQ, which I’ve heard is pretty authentic. They do a set lunch which is quite reasonable too.

Kimchee on Urbanspoon