Sunday, 16 June 2013

Gogi Korean Grill

451 Edgware Road, Little Venice,W2 1TH

While many trendy places seem to be taking up Korean style influences (gochujang anyone?) actual Korean restaurants, still don't seem to be that well received with the gen-pop other than ex-pats. This might be due to the fact that their menus are always a mine field to negotiate, I normally go with someone who knows exactly what to order, their English translations often not enticing as the actual dish. 

Gogi is a new Korean Grill restaurant in leafy Little Venice. A little out of the way for most people but it's nice there are areas like this in London, everyone seems a lot less stressed walking along the canal, albeit predominately middle class.

Gogi is very smartly fitted out with jet black tables and chairs with black hooded steel extractor fans over each table for the barbecues. The menu is perfect for sharing, so good for groups or couples that don't fight over food. The menu is quite extensive with a selection of starters, generous grill choices, and a bounty of bibimbaps to go for. There is plenty of authentic dishes and doesn't try to compromise itself with more westernised dishes I think don't think I've been to a Korean restaurant without getting some Kimchi on the side. There is a bit more choice than ususal at Gogi, with not only cabbage, but also cucumber and radish (Kkakdugi) (£5.90). The radish was the better of the 3, nice and crunchy. There was a little piece in the back of the menu about the health benefits of Kimchi, apparently continuous consumption prevents cancer and aging, perfect for kids who don't want to grow up.

Moddum Kimchi - cabbage, cucumber and radish
Cast iron teapot and cup for organic green tea
The yang yeum chicken (£8.50) was phenomenal, would definitely recommend ordering this. Very lightly battered in a sweet and sticky sweet chilli sauce. The black sesame seeds adding a subtle bitterness to balance the sweetness of the sauce.

The Pa Joeon, a korean pancake with spring onions and seafood, was nice but a little dry, really needs a soaking form the accompanying soy sauce. We've had better and cheaper, there is a great stall that does them near the Brunswick centre (for about 4 quid to boot!), the one at Assa is quite good aswell.

Now for the exciting part of the meal, some korean cuts of beef cooked infront of you on the enclosed barbecue. We went for the bulgalbi (short rib, £10.50) and LA gabi ( short rib with bone, £9.90). The strips of beef so thin, cooking time was quite short, the LA galbi a particular delight gnawing around the bone for the really flavoursome beef. This was accompanied by the Pamoochim (spring onions) and Ssangchu (lettuce) to make wraps with the meat but found the meat on it's own dipped in the accompanying sweet sauce sufficed.

The Raw beef Dolsot bibimbap (£13.50) was disappointing, it is served in a heated earthware pot, so is sizzling when brought out. However, we we still tucking into our bulgalbi, so by the time it came to the bibimbap it was cooked through with the rice becoming quite stodgy from absorbing all the excess oil.

The desserts menu struggled with authentic choices, with a big splash on the more Western desserts, New York cheesecake? Going for the korean rice cake was a good choice, a quite surprising texture, think a chocolate ganache with flubber inside. Almost like a mochi truffle.

Gogi is a great Korean restaurant, very smart with good service. The food quality was high, particularly enjoyed those marinated cuts of short rib. The general quality of the ingredients (an important draw in Korean cuisine, as with Japanese) was good, but not quite as high as somewhere like Koba in Fitzrovia. The main drawback overall is the price, it's easy to go over £35 a head if ordering a lot, all those dishes add up, especially at close to a tenner a pop. If the quality of the ingredients was higher, perhaps the price would be closer justified, but again Koba is noticeably cheaper across the board. At this pricing range it's close to what you can get from some of the best restaurants in London. However, it does fit in very well with the area. I'll just have to be a bit more constrained next time! 

NB: We were guests of Gogi. To book phone: 0207 7243018

GOGI Korean Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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