Bulgogi at Corean Chilli

April 19th, 2009

Sometimes there are those restaurants that you walk past time and time again and promise yourself that you’ll go into one day, but you never quite take the leap and go in. Corean Chilli was definately one of those restaurants, it had against it that it’s too close to Leicester Square, has too many gimicky lights on the outside, and probably confuses most with the Corean spelling rather than Korean.

If you stop to look through the window though, you notice that the majority of customers are Korean or oriental, and the food looks amazing. I don’t know how most people gauge quality of food, but if the natives are eating it usually it’s a safe bet! Gary and I finally took the leap a few months ago and it’s become our new favorite.

First things first, it can get very busy in there on some nights, and the staff don’t all have a great grasp of English so if you want good service then it’s worth making their lives easier by pointing out on the menu what you want as well as saying it to them. Second, it’s a Korean restaurant and that is their speciality, but they also serve other oriental food and don’t clearly mark which is which on the menu. We’ve always been quite good at picking out the Korean dishes but some friends of ours were not so lucky and ended up with a rather bland dish of noodles.

Personally, my favorite combination so far was what I tucked into last night:

  • Osam bulgogi (Strips of fried pork belly and sweet and spicy squid)
  • Fried spicy tofu
  • Plain boiled rice
  • Cucumber kimchee
  • Korean tea

All of the bulgogi (literal translation: “fire meat”) dishes arrive in front of you in their dishes sizzling away with the gorgeous smells wafting up, so you definately can’t go wrong there, the combination of the soy, garlic, sesame oil, scallions and chilli give you a really flavoursome but not too spicy sauce that I shamelessly mop up with the boiled rice when I’ve run out of meat.

The fried spicy tofu won’t appeal to everyone, but if you can stand tofu at all then I’d give it a go, I was so amused by how crispy they’d managed to get the tofu on the outside and yet how soft it was on the inside, that and the kick of chilli sauce finishing it off perfectly.

Wash it all down with some lovely Korean tea which seems to have hints of ginger, and you’re all set.

If you’ve seen any negative reviews about the staff or service at Corean Chilli, it’s worth mentioning that when I dined with a group of friends from work, we were sat next to the owner of the restaurant who speaks barely any English, and whilst eating his own dinner he stopped Ben from tucking into his vegetarian Bibimbap to tell him to put some chilli sauce to put in, and also to pour in some miso soup first then mix it all up before eating. If that’s considered rude, then there are some seriously skewed perspectives out there!

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