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On the Bab, Old Street/Shoreditch, London

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A Korean place next to Cay Tre.

Excellent Korean style fried chicken, smothered in sauce. Despite the near fluorescence glow, the sauce was surprisiing deep with the pungency of garlic, a good chilli kick, very lightly sweet, and starchy in consistency but not gloppy.

The fried kimchi and cheese "arancini" were ok, but nothing special, and perhaps a little pricey at £3-something for two arancini the size of ping pong balls.

Good flavours in the kimchi fried rice, where I occasionally spotted a bit a of the advertised pork belly. Topped with a good fried egg with a runny yolk and shredded cabbage with a cream-based dressing. Serving was a bit small at £7-ish.

The food was very good on the whole, with some serious depth to the flavours. Certainly worth trying again.

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  1. Thanks, Limster - I'm glad I tried this place and was hoping to love it because it's in my nabe, but turns out I'm more a fan of places around Centrepoint like Asadal. I was going to say "traditional" places but realised I have no idea if the restaurants I like fit that category. We ordered the fried chicken with soy garlic sauce (there is also a "spicy sweet" sauce, but they won't give you both) - nice texture and peanuts were a great touch, but I found the sauce too sweet. The "Korean paella" - kimchi fried rice, or bokkeumbap - was nice enough, but I didn't like the salad dressing and agree it's too small a portion. All portions were small - the kimchi pancake was a measly 4 pieces, less than what you get at places like Asadal. We also had 2 bulgogi sliders, which were not as warm as they should be and soggy from the sauce. I don't think I'd go back because I hate stingy portions. Basically it just made me miss the amazing places in Manhattan's Koreatown that give you tons of little banchan dishes with your bulgogi - the depth of flavor in their meat has spoiled me for most other Korean places. I have wanted to try New Malden for ages. Maybe a chow down?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Foodie94

      Cool - thanks for an update. Definitely agree on the small portions, that you see that for other dishes as well indicates that it's probably not good value for money, given the quality. I did enjoy the flavour of the spicy sweet sauce (which was surprisingly not over sweet), but it sounds like those qualities don't extend to other dishes.

      Have you been to Koba? I like their Korean grill a lot, while Asadal (having been there only years ago) seemed to have better cooked dishes. (Koba is actually related to On the Bab, apparently one of the owners is the same.)

      The places I've been to New Malden were definitely a better deal. And I think that they actually provide banchan, while many places in London (like Koba) charge extra for them.

      1. re: Foodie94

        Since we live fairly close to New Malden (20 minutes up the A3), we eat there fairly regularly. There are so many good places, and you really should attempt to get there to try some of them.

        I liked Asadal, too. It's far more upscale in the decor. :-)

      2. Thanks for the heads up on the place, limster. I was at the Hoxton Hotel this past weekend, and this place was perfect for a late lunch after the Turner exhibit at the Tate on Saturday. I loved the spicy fried chicken, and had I allowed myself I could have eaten a whole lot more. The bebimbab might not have been the best I've ever had (it didn't measure up, for example, to the okdol bibimbap from the Korean stall at the Super 88 Market in Allston, with which I suspect you're familiar), but still it was quite tasty.