There’s a plentiful supply of inexpensive yet decent Korean caffs in London, and Chinatown’s Corean Chilli has become a popular option for students. Don’t expect much from the all-encompassing menu, which places emphasis on filling noodles and rice dishes rather than refined cuisine.
You’ll find the likes of cheap ramen topped with egg, vegetables or seafood, but also the standard bibimbaps, chigaes and large casseroles. The simple, blocky furniture makes it evident that this is not a place for lingering. Barbecues are also a cut-price version: cooked on portable gas burners rather than on sizzling hotplates set into the table. Kimchi fried rice (part of a lunch deal) came with a fried egg, the creamy yolk offsetting the sharpness of the fermented cabbage (which was a bit too sour for our liking). Fried mandu (dumplings) were deep-fried rather than pan-fried, yet were agreeably grease-free; the accompanying dip was ordinary soy sauce, not the traditional vinegar-tinged version. Soothing yet tangy plum tea is a reliable choice for sharpening the appetite.
Corean Chilli may not be a particularly noteworthy destination, but the food is filling and the service commendably warm for a wallet-friendly pitstop.