Time Out says
With a discreet entrance just by Holborn station, Asadal has been the go-to venue for Korean food fans in central London for many years. On a Friday night, the stairs leading down to the dark, spacious basement dining room were filled with hopeful diners queuing to get a table.
The busy restaurant took its toll on the staff, who weren’t as efficient as we’ve known them to be in the past. This led to a school-boy error with our bulgogi barbecued beef: the table-top grill was not heated before the meat was added, leading to a slightly stewed result – though the flavours were still as they should be. With the barbecue now in full swing, pork belly was much more successful: gently charred, with a tender centre and a decent line of buttery fat along one side.
A bowl of yukkaejang was pleasingly spicy and sour from the well-aged cabbage kimchi it contained. To finish, traditional, milky-coloured, persimmon punch was cool, refreshing and spiked with powdered cinnamon. Asadal wasn’t on top form this time, but it certainly still draws a crowd.
227 High Holborn
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Users say (24)
Average User Rating
2.9 / 5
- 5 star:6
- 4 star:4
- 3 star:4
- 2 star:2
- 1 star:8
Overpriced, mediocre, disappointing, rude service. The man who answered the phone when I booked was quite snappy. Then part of our order was forgotten, when it did come after we pointed out it was missing it was cooked on a grill on our table. It got stuck to the grill and various staff spent 10-15 minutes trying to pry the food off the grill, by which time it was overcooked and burnt. They cooked some more chicken to make up for this, but this took a long time where the staff bent over our table in silence, leaving me and my friend sitting there in silence until they were done. The food was mediocre, the portions tiny and overpriced and we were left feeling very hungry, for about £20 each. The real pinnacle was being asked to leave 1 hour 20 minutes after arriving, for some other waiting customers who we never saw. As we had no warning this would happen we had to quickly gather our things and leave. I'd rather eat at Macdonalds.
It’s ironic that I’ve literally travelled all the way to New Malden to have “proper” Korean food; only to have it in Holborn and it is substantially better. The Samgyetang (Korean ginseng chicken soup) was a lot more flavoursome and it had more ingredients in it. The Haemul Pajeon (seafood pancake) is always nice and crispy and the bibimbap, stews and soups are always reliable. This place has been consistent so next time I’d save myself the trip to New Malden, that is unless someone really recommends an establishment. Lunch is great as there are plates for under a tenner or lunch sets for around a tenner. The menu is fairly extensive, but don’t be intimidated. Service is pretty brisk and English isn’t a strong point, but it adds to the authenticity. I have yet to try the Korean BBQ or hotpot but all evidence points to it being proper tasty.
Tip: for larger groups, be sure to make a booking as they can get quite busy.
Good For: large groups, business lunch/ dinner, casual lunch/ dinner, cheap and cheerful
Beef Bul Go Gi was overdone, chewy but had good flavour. Kimchi was good- except for the cabbage- the daikon and cucmber were excellent.
Service was fine. It was definitely overpriced.
For their dinner service, Asadal serve Korean BBQ – a rather well-known and delicious traditional Korean experience. However my flatmate and I opted to go for regular main dishes for dinner (this time!).
We both ordered the Bi Bim Bap but while I had mine with beef, my flatmate had hers with tofu. This was presented in a hot stone bowl and the chili sauce on a side plate for us to add to our liking before mixing the contents of the bowl. Our rice was situated at the bottom of the bowl, which was lined with sesame oil to keep it from sticking and burning as we mixed all the ingredients. There was a good variety of vegetables on top – bean sprouts, Chinese spinach, carrots, radish and purple cabbage. It was very pretty to look at because of the different colours and each had its own texture, which was great for the overall dish. There were crunchy bits from the vegetables, chewiness from the marinated beef and softness from the sticky rice.
I was quite satisfied with what I ordered, but I did find that the portion was a little small. There wasn’t much rice at the bottom of the bowl nor a lot of beef on top, which I think would have been great if we had ordered starters to fill up on. But the dish did arrive rather quickly so it’s ideal for a quick meal if you’re in the area. It’s also a really simple and hearty dish, which I really like and pretty healthy! With the amount of vegetables given and a small portion of rice and meat, it fills you up but doesn’t leave you too stuffed.
Trendy and spacious atmosphere yet the food is authentic. Price is good for central London. Very suitable from a couple to friends and family.
The place is very nice to have dinner with girl/boyfriends. Although its a bit noisy sometimes but very good lighting. Its a bit expensive than the other korean restaurants but i still like to go there for bibimbap
i like the korean food so much and have good services in asadal Restaurant.i like mainly kimchi and other korean food available in asadal.staff are nice ....
Food here is good but no better than anywhere else. The service is the worst I've had in any restaurant in London. We had to ask 4 different people to take our food order and each one said they'd send someone to take it, never happened. The waitress who prepared our meat bbq was utterly charmless, didn't bother smiling. Ordered a coke and was brought a can, the waiter said he'd bring a glass and never came back again. You're supposed to eat the bbq wrapped in lettuce using your hands, which inevitably get sticky. They do not have finger bowls or wet wipes. We were told by our waiter that we'd need to go to the toilet and wash our hands. Dinner was removed and no one bothered to clean the scraps of food and sticky bbq sauce that littered the table. Dessert was served amidst the mess by which time we were so annoyed we demanded to have the table cleaned. The bill came and we asked for the service to be removed as it had been so terrible (a first for me), the waitress didn't even blink at this, no manager came over to ask why we weren't happy. Absolutely no interest in customer service. In conclusion, avoid this place. There are plenty of other Korean restaurants in London that serve similarly good food without the terrible service that this place offers.
The staff were incredibly rude and looked almost pissed off when we were ordering our food. They also took so long to respond to our table bell that we had to get up and ask to order our food. They also short changed us by around £10. Food portions were tiny, nothing special and over-priced. I paid around £20 for my meal and was still hungry by the end of it. Never going back there again
This is especially for the Korean visitors to London - this shop charges for side dishes! We were amused more than a decade ago when we witnessed another "Korean" restaurant Down Under (Perth) which tried to foist this very un-Korean practice onto unsuspecting patrons. In London, we could only deduce that Asadal gets away with this because of either lack of local knowledge or a captive tourist trade for folks who just need to get something quickly to eat. The food is far, far better in, eg, Koreatown in New York City. Oh, and they also round up their "10%" service charge to the next higher 50p. We'll leave it for the reader to guess the quality of their service. Ate there already? Londoner, you've been had.
As far as Korean food outside of Korea goes, it was a great experience. The food was authentic and I would strongly recommend the doppokki as it was delicious.
I simply cannot say enough about Asadal. From the discrete entrance to the queues of locals and Koreans alike trying to get a table at peak times this place has just got the right buzz about it. Subtle decor, charming staff, a sense of bustle and calm all at the same time and exceptional food! You can eat to many budgets here. If you avoid the BBQ dishes (they are yummy though) and don't drink alcohol you can eat your fill for a very reasonable price. If pushing the boat out then the sky's the limit. Perfect for a quick lunch or celebratory dinner alike. The Jap che, Kimchi, Bean sprout Namool, Sashimi salad with rice, and Bin Dae Douk are all highly recommended by me... but that's just a starting to point to this great cuisine. Go, you won't regret it!
2 of us ordered 1 starter and 3 main courses + 3 rice. Left feeling hungry. Food is good but two major problems. 1) Portion size is so small it's like you ordered half portions of everything. Even the rice! Rice came in a covered bowled which is decent size bowl but once you open the cover, the bowl is barely half filled with rice. Ask for a second helping for myself and asked if they can bring a bigger portion - answer was "no, all portions are the same". 2) Service is rushed and rude. So the biggest impression they give is tiny portions that leave you feeling hungry and ripped off and the service is rude. This despite the fact that the food is quite good. What a shame. Give this place a miss.
One of the best restaurants I have every eaten at - we had the pork BBQ which was absolutely delicious! I have never had such succulent and wonderfully flavoured pork in my life. The food was very authentic and well priced, the restaurant itself had a great atmosphere with its underground low-lit vibe. Would definitely recommend and am planning my next visit!
I went their with my daughter, we loved this place, the food and the service was excellent, She also went back with her friends, everybody who visits us in London goes there with is because it's the best Korean Restaurant for us in London
As a huge lover of korean food, this restaurant was a very good place to go if anyone is craving some authentic food and good korean atmosphere. I went with my friends and even those that had no previous korean experienced enjoyed it greatly. Really, what can be as bad as you're people describing when it comes to korean food?!
What has happened to one of the best Korean restuarants in London? I've not been for over a year and took the opportunity today to take some corporate clients for some great korean food and hospitality. Service was shockingly bad. One of the waiters approached us 3 times during our starters to order our mains as the orders were stacking up. He looked more annoyed than us! Food was very average. Paejun was laced with eggshells. I mentioned this to a waitress who was completely indifferent. After the mains, another waitress asked us to pass the side plates to her as she was clearing up!! The whole experience was a huge let down. As an Anglo-Korean, it was a massive embarrassment to take people to a place for their first experience of Korean food. Disgraceful.
Staff was extremely rude. I live just around the corner from this restaurant, about 6 minutes walking distance so that I came here quite often. One day there was an event in this restaurant at 6pm and I got there at 5:30hrs. Assistant manager (I think called, alec, did not seem to be korean) literally 'kicked me out' saying I have to get out as the restaurant was not yet open. He did not even say 'I am sorry but....' He treated the regular customer as a complete shit. As the restaurant is in basement, I went upstairs on the ground floor by the main entrance to wait, he again said. 'you have to get out because I have to clean this ground floor' The ground floor was a tiny area and he barely cleaned, just pretending to sweep for a minute. I said, It is bitterly cold in this winter (it was very cold day) and I come here quite often. He kicked me out and locked the door. Nobody was attentive to listen to the complaint. It was horrible and utterly disappointing. Nobody even bother to call for the owner even though I requested for the call. You may have a good experience, it's fine, but if you ever have anything to complaint (as sometimes it happens), you will never be heard, indeed you will be treated as rubbish.
went for my 30th bday, it was pricey and the portions were small, the staff were rude, and the meat was not fresh as i found out later being very very ill
This is not a bad little place. Had lunch here twice (though on the company account not my own!). I'd agree the bbq is probably not the best offering - try arang in Golden Sq - but I think the stone hot pot dishes and kim chee pancakes are rather good.
this is the worst dinner time ive ever had in london. the waiter and floor manager was so rude that we lost the word. ill never go back there again. id rather go to Mcdonald's than to this place because at least they(Mc donald's)know what the customer service is.
This is the first time I had Korean food London and was an unpleasant experience . The portion is small and expensive . We ordered the BBq beef and it wasn't fresh and .This is our first time and will be our last time .
Been several times and the food is authentic korean. Service is always quick and polite. Will be back for more when the urge for Korean food arises. BTW, very convenient too being next to Holborn tube.