Like so many of the Korean eateries in New Malden, Korea Garden sits halfway up an unremarkable residential street. The green plastic signage and generic dish pictures displayed in the window give little indication of the quality of the food here.
But once inside, it doesn’t take long to work out what the main attraction is. Cooking is done on proper charcoal, which fills the dining room with inviting, smoky smells; glowing embers (carried in from the kitchen by a man wearing washing-up gloves) were set in our table-top barbecue and used to grill thick slices of juicy pork belly.
Finely shredded spring onions rubbed with chilli, vinegar and sugar were the perfect foil for the fat-striped meat. Also excellent was a filling soup of shredded beef and chinese cabbage, spiked with plenty of tongue-tingling red chilli and served with sticky rice.
The chef is trained in both Korean and French cuisine, which imparts a subtlety to the flavours, and keeps both Korean and Western diners coming back for more. Service may be in broken English at times, but in our experience is always amenable. To drink, there’s the usual selection of Korean beers and spirits.