The best things in life are unexpected, which is just one of the many reasons why I cherish my Seoul Bakery find. After a day spent trapsing round London, I really fancied a sit down, snack and drink. We were heading to Starbucks near Centrepoint, when we stumbled upon ‘Seoul Bakery’. I’d been to “little-K-town” (the row of shops on St Giles Street, Tott Ct Rd) so many times before, but Assa and Woo Jung were my usuals.
Seoul Bakery is a tucked away gem. It is always surrounded by masses of people, and as it has a hairdressers downstairs it is unsurprisingly often overlooked as an eatery! Similarly, despite much confusion, this is not a bakery of any kind, and you won’t find bread, biscuits nor cakes on the menu. Instead, expect choices between ramyeon, bibimbap and kimchi chiggae, as well as some novelty stickers and letter pads should you be interested in picking them up along the way (which I was more than a little tempted to do!) All of this randomness is typical of SB’s fun, quirky charm.
When I did step into Seoul Bakery, it was love at first sight. There was an instantly hip, studenty vibe, complete with geeky students reading their books over a cup of aloe honey tea. The walls are decorated with (mainly Hangeul) writing, cute post-it notes and messages from restaurant-goers. It’s a tight squeeze, with only two main tables, and you should be prepared to be seated with others unless you luck out (as we did), and get the side bar ‘cove’ area, perfect for twosomes.
On this occasion we were just snacking, so opted for veggie kimbap and kimchi. These were really yummy and authentic, perfect for the occasion. To add to our delight was the price tag. Kimbap is £3, bibimbap £3.50, and for £5-6 you can get a full meal with stew, rice and kimchi. You really can’t argue with that!
The waiter and vendor were both really polite, but they did forget to bring our drinks over. It seemed impossible to attract their attention, so we just made-do with the water we had with us. This disappointed me somewhat, as I had ordered a nokcha (green tea) latte, which I had been so, so happy to see on the menu, and had been craving since the day I left Korea. I used to drink one of these practically every day, they are so sweet and delicious (my next mission is to seek out venues that have nokcha latte on the menu!)
Overall, though, I was so excited about finding my new fave place London hotspot that I almost forgot about this shortcoming. I’ve already revisited Seoul Bakery lots, loving it more and more every time. It reminds me of the places you’d find at Kangwon National University’s back gate in Chuncheon, so fills me with a fond nostalgia. I got my nokcha latte (nokcha ice cream and iced nokcha lattes also available) and some stickers, and will continue to go back for more- this ‘bakery’ has captured my soul.
- Seoul Bakery is at 55 St. Giles High Street, London, next door to Po Cha https://kimchisoul.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/speedy-and-delish-k-food-po-cha/