As I was going out for dinner with my good friend JJ, who had never tasted Korean food before, I was planning on dining at my favourite hang-out Seoul Bakery. As usual, though, SB was really packed, and rather than wait, we decided to try Po Cha next door.
As we entered, we were approached by a friendly member of staff, who very promptly seated us and brought menus. I was impressed that there was a larger array of vegetable / vegetarian dishes than in most London Korean eateries, and I definitely wasn’t limited to yacchae bibimbap this time! We decided to share some kimchi and a couple of jeon dishes, and also have a main dish each. JJ went for bulgogi bibimbap, and I opted for veggie sundubu chiggae (tofu stew).
Po Cha’s efficiency was incredible. It was almost as though our food came staright after we ordered, along with drinks, leaving us barely any time for a pre-meal catch up.
Once we tucked in, it was obvious that the food was absolutely delicious, the jeon particularly scrummy. I was surprised at how much my friend enjoyed the spicy, salty dishes, including the kimchi itself. In the past, my English friends have taken two or three tries before fully committing to K-food’s allure, but JJ was instantly hooked, stating bulgogi as her new fave. I’m sure that this was at least partly due to the powers of Po Cha’s chef!
The employees at the tables were just as skilled, and we were charmed by the joky, funny guy serving us (who we thought may be one of the owners or managers). All of the waiting staff were really polite and attentive.
Despite the relatively upmarket restaurant interior, however, the whole experience had a rather busy and rushing ‘canteen’ feel. We had sat down to eat just after 7pm, and by 7.45, we were completely stuffed, and out of the door. If anything, this service was too speedy for us, particularly as we had no plans to follow the meal. We could have stayed in the restaurant for a beer or two longer, but it felt as though we were being rushed to finish, and when finished, to leave. So we quickly said our “thank you”s, left and went to a bar for the remainder of the evening.
Due to the yumminess of the food, and the helpful, fun staff, I know that I will definitely be back to Po Cha again soon. It is a true example of Korea’s ‘balli balli’ attitude, but would be more suited to a pre-cinema / theatre meal, rather than a whole evening’s event in itself.
- Po Cha is at 56 St. Giles High Street, London WC2H 8LH (check out map for location https://kimchisoul.wordpress.com/londonmap/)
- Closest tube Tottenham Court Road, overground Charing Cross (15 min walk)
- Main dishes about £6-£8, chiggae came with rice, kimchi an additional £2