There was a gap in London’s foodie market, and Soho’s contemporary new eatery Bi Bim Bap has filled it! This place is unlike any of the other Korean restaurants that I have been to in London for the following reasons:
It could be argued that most London K-restaurants are jacks-of-all-trades and masters of none. To please everyone, they usually cover all bases and offer an extensive menu spanning all areas of Korean cuisine. Bi Bim Bap has the guts to disregard this tried-and-tested method and confidently champion the mixed rice dish that so often represents Korea.
Normally, there would either be minimal (as opposed to minimalist!) or traditional decor, but Bi Bim Bap has opted for a bright, white, funky and squeaky-clean look-and-feel, reminiscent of nearby Snog or Bubbleology. To keep it personal, the walls are decorated with Polaroid photographs of customers, many self-decorated with messages and captions.
When researching which K-restaurant to visit next, I generally rely on online reviews and blog posts. Most Korean restaurants in London don’t have their own website, and that doesn’t seem to effect their success. Bi Bim Bap, however, not only has an informative, colourful website complete with menu and photos, but also an active facebook page, with an option to ‘recommend’ any dishes you have tried. It even has a bright and memorable ‘bibimbap’ logo. Techie-licious!
Have you ever seen a bibimbap salad on a Korean menu? How about prawn katsu? Well, you have now! Bi Bim Bap dares to amend ingredients and alter menu wording to increase accessibility, convenience, communication and understanding for customers who may not have encountered Korean food before.
I went with some good friends of mine, and we had an awesome time. We found there to be a variety of foods to satisfy very diverse tastes. I went for my usual choice dolsot bibimbap, which was done very well (I am compelled to come back and try tofu bibimbap, as I have never seen this offered as a dish before). The others opted for beef bool-go-gi rice and chilli chicken rice, and all plates were completely cleared. We agreed that there was definitely no compromise on taste- Bi Bim Bap has substance as well as style!
Despite it being a week night, the restaurant was pretty full, and our meals took a long time to arrive. As our drinks had already been brought to us, this didn’t bother us at all- it could have been annoying if we were much hungrier, though. Service came with a smile, and the waitress was keen to assist with choices, and make recommendations.
Something tells me that Bi Bim Bap wants to break the mould. Located in the heart of bustling Soho, it positions itself as a fun, novelty establishment and aims at a young, trendy crowd.
Okay, so it’s not the most authentically Korean place to eat in London. You are unlikely to see an ajumma sitting and dining alone here. And it may not have the romance of Seoul Bakery or the charm of Jee’s Korean Restaurant, but it has something new and different instead.
Bi Bim Bap presents Korean food to a new audience in a fun, engaging and completely un-intimidating way, and I see it as a welcome addition and development to London K-food. Bring your friends here, and enjoy!
- Bi Bim Bap is @ 11 Greek Street, London, W1D 4DJ.
- The closest Tube is Tottenham Court Road.
- Note that it is CLOSED ON SUNDAYS!
- All details can be found on the website: http://bibimbapuk.com/index.php.
- A huge thank you to Suki for the ace photos!