We needed something to do to make lockdown a bit more bearable. So, after the takeaway from Kuma, see here, and some hints from Nigella, we embarked on a Korean week. Lots of dishes seem to come with a fried egg and heavy doses of gochuchang, but that’s no hardship. Gochujang is Korean food’s hallmark red chili paste made from chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybean and salt.
All the food comes from local Brixton supermarkets, especially Wing Tai, the chinese supermarket in Electric Avenue, or the market. You do need tofu, chickpeas, spinach, bean sprouts, radish, rice and a bit of salad, together with a secret ingredient, fish fingers. We added some relishes – kinchi (Wing Tai on this occasion but you can make your own) and cucumber pickle – made in house. All are really simple to make. Here are the dishes:
Tofu and peanut Bibimbap
Fish finger sandwich with Gochuchang mayonnaise and salad
We also had a rice dish with fish fingers, but we were so hungry that we ate it all before we remembered to take a photo.
We were lost for a new kind of takeaway having exhausted the more usual ones recently – Indian, Chinese, Japanese and definitely all the Italian ones. So we rang a friend who lives in Kennington – so thanks Richard for the recommendation of something new – Korean. We know there is one in Brixton but the menu is limited and we visited not that long ago. We have never eaten at this new one, but they do have a long menu and are clearly very popular, especially on a Saturday night.
There are “appetisers like tempura, gyoza, Kokkoke (mashed potato with chopped vegetables fried and served with a tangy sauce – now wish I had ordered that one), different Kimchis and many, many more. More substantial offerings come in the form of Bibimbap with different accompaniments (beef, chicken, tofu etc), Noodles – soba, udon etc – with delicious descriptions, stir-fried rice, Donburi and then you get to the Korean Barbecue, curry, Teriyaki …… and now I am bored. The problem is the overwhelming choice and the number of changes made to the order. In the end, as usual, we ordered too much.
Our meal consisted of Gim (Crispy dried seaweed squares coated in sesame oil & salt), Kimchi Jeon (Kimchi pancake served with soy dip), Nasu Dengaku (aubergine topped with sweet and savoury miso), Gul Twigim (Deep fried oysters served with Japanese brown sauce) , Yang Yum Chicken, (Medium size Korean crispy fried chicken in sticky gochichang sauce), Prawn Bokkumbap (spicy stir fried rice with king prawns) … too much of course for two people. If it hadn’t been for the helpful friend’s suggestions we would have ordered more.
Despite having to travel all the way to Brixton, the food arrived hot enough to eat, although, as we ate in waves, we ended up putting the rice in the microwave. It was all really interesting – even the fried oysters which were covered in well-seasoned crumbs and batter (and I am not that much of a fan of fried oysters).
We loved the kimchi pancake and will certainly try a version at home – the added crunch made you feel like you might be a vegan some time. Although for kimchi it was pretty mild. The aubergine (sorry no photograph) is what I would eat every day – sweet and sticky and a bit slimy, but in a good way, and not too much so that you would need to chew.
The rice kept giving little surprises like the odd tasty spice and sometimes a hot burst of chili. Prawns can get a little overcooked in this sort of dish, but you have to go with the flow. If they were under-cooked when they left the restaurant they would be steamed by the time they reach us – so will remember that next time.
The Korean fried chicken was covered – as they said – in sticky sauce and fingers are required and a lot of kitchen paper and races to wash your hands.
Then we were left with the Gim – it is the sort of packet seaweed that we buy from the Chinese shop in Electric Avenue, or from Tesco for that matter. It was good to have that salty boost in between courses and went really well with the drink we ordered.
Last on the list was alcohol and they have a large variety (beer, sake, soju, Korean wine etc). You need ID to buy it, but I expect the sight of greying hair appeased the delivery guy. The one we ordered was 300ml of Nigori Creme De Sake (descibed as aromas of melon, marshmallow and fresh white cream with a smooth wholesome texture and noted of vanilla ice cream). It was really a sort of Sake flavoured Baileys – there is still some in the fridge.
We did order too much, so had rice and chicken left over for another day. The bill came to £57.20 including a service charge but the sake was £14.50 of that bill. We will order again – in fact we may have another go at ordering this coming week which is being devoted to Korean food. You have to have something to aim for in Lockdown 3.0.
This is a really useful addition to what Brixton has to offer, with simple but tasty Korean and Japanese food from a short menu. It’s aimed mainly at the takeaway market but there’s space at a couple of counters with high stools for those who can’t wait to taste the food. It’s housed in a small shop front that’s had a chequered history. The planned burger bar failed to open because of problems with the ventilation.
You can choose between donburi (Japanese rice bowl dish); bibimbap (Korean mixed rice); or hirata buns (Japanese steamed buns), and all come with a variety of meat or vegetables.