Hidden in plain sight down towards Trinity Square, Koreana is well worth seeking out, not least because, when Alex Kim and head chef Hyun Kim opened its doors back in 1985, it was the first restaurant outside London serving authentic Korean dishes.
With a unique style and fascinating flavour of its own, the cuisine starts with the triumvirate of garlic, ginger and chilli then adds ingredients like sesame oil and soy sauce. Dishes wise, dolsot bibim bab is a classic Korean number and perfect comfort food. Served in a traditional heated stoneware pot that finishes cooking the food as you stir the mixture (which usually consists of the likes of carrot ribbons, courgettes, beansprouts, cabbage, mushrooms, rice, and sesame oil and seeds topped with the all-important raw egg), you end up with a colourful and flavourful bowl of something akin to egg-fried rice. Koreana has six choices: salmon and prawn on the fish front, marinated chicken and beef on the meat side, and tofu or kimchi in the veggie corner. Kimchi, of course, is Korea’s famous spicy and fiery pickle of fermented Chinese leaf. If you’re not sure about it in a dish, order as a side. Soups, stews and casseroles are another speciality, some with dumplings, some with rice, and some with ramen, udon or glass noodles, and Koreana has them all: guk, chi-ge, tang and jungol, a kind of Korean hot pot. The Korean barbecue, bulgogi, is another option, with the likes of duck breast, pork belly or spicy squid flame grilled and served with lettuce leaves and chilli sauce to eat as a wrap.
There are also plenty of sharers, weekday set menus and banquets, all perfect for trying out new dishes, and desserts, if you still have space. A full drinks menu includes Korean imports, such as Hite lager, for true authenticity.
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