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Restaurants & Bars

Asadal, Holborn, London

limster | Dec 28, 200812:48 PM     7

Excellent Korean food, with the weakness being the grill, imho.

Some might complain that the panchan (little side dishes) need to be paid for, rather than given out gratis, but they are very good. Excellent kimchi with just the right pungent and spice, a lighter chili coat on the pickled turnip, and on the cucumber. The right hint of sesame oil on the bean sprouts. Simple boiled spinach, and one more item that I forgot.

The pan jeon is outstanding, one of the best versions I've had anywhere (in fact we order an extra one). A seafood pancake that is perfectly crispy on the outside, with the slightest soft centre, the oily qualities cut by judicious slivers of green onion, and beautiful, tender seafood embedded in the pancake. The squid is elegantly scored so that they curl up, flower-like, when cooked, and are perfectly tender. Worth comparing to the version at Hamgipak, which is slightly lighter and good in a different way.

Bulgogi (marinated beef) and galbi (beef short rib) both cooked on the grill at the table are only ok, nothing bad but not as outstanding as the other stuff; the meat isn't as smooth as other renditions I've had in the past.

I loved the rice with crunchy waterchestnuts, savoury shiitake mushroom, medicinal bittersweet ginseng (a Korean signature ingredient) and fruitty chinese red dates - a great balance of flavours and textures, something I could eat again and again.

Also lovely was the raw beef, mixed with egg and other seasonings, contrasting brilliantly with crisp sharp Asian pear.

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