Saturday, 7 June 2014

Bibigo - Soho

Internet research has aided my hunt for many of the places on my World Cup challenge list. If you type ‘Traditional Korean breakfast’ into google, the first return is an article titled ‘South Korea doesn’t do breakfast’. Ahhh disaster! After a bit more digging it seems that actually breakfast in Korea is simply a meal like any other, the same dish you ate for dinner on Tuesday may be on the breakfast table on Saturday morning.
London is blessed with lots of Korean restaurants, it has become a fashionable cuisine with hot stone joints and bi-bim-bap cafes popping up all over the capital. New Malden in south west London is home to a large Korean population and there are plenty of restaurants there but I chose Bibigo in Soho. It is only open from 12 so it is a late breakfast destination but is a busy, bustling canteen from lunchtime right through to the evening.

I couldn’t quite believe my luck when I opened the menu to find something called ‘Soondae’ which was described as Korean black pudding and then another dish ‘Hobak Jun’ a courgette pancake, it was like they knew I was coming. I ordered those two along with some rice (no meal in Korea is complete without rice and breakfast is no exception). And to drink I chose ‘Shikhye’ which is Korean rice punch. It certainty delivered a punch, it was one of the sweetest things I have ever tasted! My first slip was accompanied with a satisfied nod of approval, but it soon became way too much. It also has rice grains floating about in it, which is rather unappetising!

The pancake arrived at our table first and caught me a bit by surprise when I took my first bite. I had been expecting it to have been made with eggs, but instead it was a combination of grated courgette and batter rather than solely eggs. Deliciously crispy with the freshness of the courgette combining really well with the stodgy insides of the pancake. Next up was the black pudding and I wasn’t to be disappointed, 12 slices of the stuff were piled onto the plate. Instead of the oatmeal you might expect in black pudding in the UK, this was stuffed with glass noodles and was also flavoured with basil and coriander.

Bibigo’s tag line is ‘healthy and fresh’ as I’m sure it can be if you pick the right things of the menu but my choices were probably as unhealthy as a full English!

The verdict
Fun canteen-style Korean restaurant – I can’t say I will be back for brekkie but maybe for a bi-bam-bap.


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