What are you looking for?
12 November 2014

eating out | bibimbap, charlotte street

you lot know i love ramen, right? i mean, pan-asian food in general is my absolute favourite to eat ever; give me a spicy, brothy, flavoursome meal, and i am in. so, when the kind folks over at bibimbap korean restaurant somehow figured this out and invited me down to try out their menu, i simply could not resist. 

soho is so well known for its uniquely excellent restaurants, so after a quick google map of the place gave me its charlotte street location, i was super excited for a mind blowng korean experience. i was anticipating all of the noms, and being that i was just into week two of that ferocious head cold that's going around, i knew there'd be nothing better to soothe what ailed me than some spicy korean noodles.

we headed along after work on wednesday, finding it easy enough in a row of both chain and independent restaurants, their specials boards all in a row. we were seated in a narrow booth that was fiddly to get in-and-out of easily, and were welcomed by the manager jeremy with lots of smiles and a couple of menus. a quick perusal gave me a couple of ramen options to pick from - a pork, a chicken, a beef, a seafood and a vegetarian. i opted for the seafood, because i like feel a bit special when i'm eating out. treat yo'self, right? 

for starters i ordered a serve of the spicy rice cakes, thinking how interesting they sounded, while ben opted for a starter of the chilli squid - because you can never go wrong with chilli squid, and a main of chilli chicken and rice. safe and sensible, but ultimately, a delicious choice.

the food did not take too long to come out, at all, and all came out at once. i suppose i was expecting starters, not sides, but nevertheless, our small table struggled to fit all of the giant plates of food we'd ordered. i love a massive plate of food! except for when the food is not great, and then it just seems like a massive waste... and sadly, a lot of my meal went to waste.

the ramen noodles seemed like nothing but supernoodles you get at the corner shop, and the seafood mix was of a smaller portion than what i'd buy myself on a weekly shop. honestly, the shrimps were living up to their names, and i wondered if the baby octopus had even been full term (if it aint punny, it aint funny!). the broth was lovely and spicy, and full of flavour, so i did drink most of that but sadly left most of the rest of it. not that it wasn't tasty at all, i was just really disappointed in the dish, if i'm honest. i've had so much good ramen in soho (bone daddies, wagamama, pho, banana tree to name a few in the area!), and this just did not live up to the others. 

my starter of rice cakes was a bit weird also. the name "rice cakes" conjures an image of a fried patty in my mind, but what i was presented was nothing more than what looked like tofu sticks with chilli sauce on top. they had the texture of something between tofu and polenta, and tasted pretty... nothingy, to be honest. thank god for chilli sauce, eh? ben's chilli squid was pretty spicy, for sure. the couple of pieces that i had were pretty heavily battered, and i'm not really a fan of batter at the best of times, but he was pretty happy with his lot. boys will basically eat anything though, won't they? i was not invited to try his spicy chicken, and it was gone in no time, so i'd say that was also a winner.

we received such fantastic service from jeremy and the team at bibimbap, and i feel pretty bad giving them a less-than-glowing review of their menu, but at the end of the day i have to be honest about my experience. am i being picky? possibly. did they ask for my opinion? yes. i do really appreciate the invites i get hitting my inbox, and i rarely post negative stuff (about complimentary stuff at least), but really, honesty is the best policy i think... have you been? what did you think?

Add your comment

  1. Ah no it's always a shame when you have a slightly disappointing meal!

  2. What a shame you were disappointed. I visited a few weeks ago and really enjoyed my meal. I think sometimes it's really down to what you pick, we both went with bibimbaps (if a restaurant is named after a dish then you'd expect it to be good) and really loved our food. As for the 'starters', I think to be fair, they are labeled as sides rather than starters on the menu (although we got ours before the mains which was fine with us). If you ever go back then definitely give the bibimbaps a try!

  3. i know, especially as i was looking forward to it so much!

  4. you're right about the 'sides' - I hadn't considered that at the time. wish I'd had this advice prior, but yes, typically if they're going to name themselves after a dish then it's a safe bet that dish is good... i just really wanted ramen! haha x

  5. Are the 'rice cakes' those flaccid looking tofu things to the right of the photos? That's totally not what I would have been expecting either! Crikey.


thank you for your comment, you lovely thing you.