Korean places across from Centrepoint, Tottenham Court Road, London
Probably the the most careful cooking of the lot -- good balance of crisp and soft dough in the seafood panjun, a pancake embedded with scallions and a good amount of squid. Soon dofu, soft bean curd/tofu in an appropriately spicy broth with a pretty good savoury background. Solid panchan - bean sprouts glossed with sesame oil, emerald coloured wakame (seaweed) with a touch of sweetness.
• Soul Bakery
A cool, breezy setting, more cafe-like than restaurant. A solid noodle with the standard ragne of vegetables (bean sprouts, strips of carrots, strips cucumber), boiled egg, and fairly intensely marinated beef (think bulgogi). Decent broth, but the notable part was probably the beef. A sugary melon pan/bun dotted with raisins, washed down with a decent matcha/powdered Japanese green tea latte.
• Po Chung Ma Cha
A poor seafood panjun, a little too thick, not crisp enough, a few morsels of squid at most, and pasty on the inside. Spicy pork with rice had a good robust sauce, spicy, savoury and sweet, and the pork was surprising flavoursome, with contrast from green onion onion, pepper (iirc) and probably carrots.
• Woo Jing
Probably should go back to try some of their Korean-Chinese dishes. Had the bindaeddok, a pancake made from mung bean flour that was merely ok, and a passable dolsot bibimbap, a mix of vegetables and marinated beef on rice served in a heated stone bowl to give the rice a crispiness, and the standard red beany Korean sauce (gochu jang) for mixing. Nothing special on the whole.
Of these I've only tried Po Chung Ma Cha and Woo Jing. Po Chung Ma Cha was better food-wise, but the service was pretty rude. Both of them had pretty mediocre Korean food in my opinion. The use of frozen rock shrimp, soggy pancakes, high prices and rude service has gotten me down. Woo Jing got my order wrong and insisted they hadn't--I've ordered the same dish at at least 30 restaurants in at least 6 countries and I know what it looks like! Overall I think the Korean food in central London is pretty mediocre. The food in New Malden is better, but still not *amazing*. (Did anyone else go to the Korean festival a few weeks ago?). A lot of it comes down to the use of frozen ingredients, even at places I like such as Ham Gi Pak. Anyway, enough of my rambling. I will give Assa a try.
Limster, what do you think is the best Korean in central London?
The best I've been to in Central London is Asadal. I wasn't that excited by their grill but liked their panjun and one of their rice dishes. If my experience was typical, I wouldn't skip Asadal for Assa. BUT, I've only been to each place once, and obviously haven't tried everything on their menus -- if there's one great dish on Assa's menu, would have been unlikely to have found it since I only tried 2 things there.