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On the Bab

Restaurants, Korean Soho
2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

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A sit-down Soho spot from the Korean street food crew.

Time was when street-food fans queued around the block of Marylebone’s On the Bab, with foodies flocking to try its imaginative takes on Korean staples – the bao filled with spicy bulgogi beef or pork in particular. But at this bright Soho branch, the queues are round the corner at the stalls of the nearby Rupert Street food market instead, where prices are half those of On the Bab’s. Still, there are advantages to eating in the small two-floored restaurant, especially if you grab a ground-floor window bench. From there you can watch the lovely staff skilfully put together those filled bao and other favourites, like Korean fried chicken, bibimbaps, soondubu jigae (spicy tofu and seafood stew) and, exclusive to this Soho branch, the vegetarian dubu bab (tofu with fermented chilli sauce and Asian vegetables).

Served up in an array of attractive Muji-style aluminium pots and dishes, the food all looked amazing, but turned out to be flawed in too many ways. The chicken, billed as ‘coated in crispy batter’, was more soggy than crispy. A side of kimchi was on the small side for £3. And while the tofu-laden dubu bab was generous in size, it lacked any depth of flavour. Worse still, the bibimbap – a mix of sizzling rice, meats and egg – was served, not in a hot stone bowl as is traditional, but a stone-cold one. Disappointing.

By: Yolanda Zappaterra



Address: 9a Archer Street
Transport: Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Price: Lunch for two with drinks and service: around £30.
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