I woke up Saturday morning thinking about bibimbap. It had been a while since I had this Korean dish of rice topped with various seasoned vegetables, sometimes beef, and always a fried egg. If you were lucky, you’d have it at a place that served it in a dolsot, a stone bowl that would be heated up to crisp the bottom layer of rice. And so, that search was the catalyst for my second trip to New Malden, a month after my first. I went in search of bibimbap!
Online, I’d seen mixed reviews for You-Me; however, I’d previously read some very good print reviews for You-Me and so it was to that restaurant that I went to eat my bibimbap. They’re not located on New Malden high street but further down Burlington Road (take a left at the roundabout at the far end of the high street from the train station). I’d heard a bit about the adjacent bakery, Hyun’s bakery, but they were on holiday! Aw shucks!
Actually, the less said about my experience at You-Me, the better. Service was atrocious – the look on the waitress’ face when I had to flag her down to let her know that I had no utensils with which to eat my meal…well, let’s just say that I suspect she thought that I had pocketed the chopsticks and spoon she believed I already had in my possesion. The dolsot bibimbap (£6.90) I had was quite average but it did come with three kinds of namul (vegetable banchan) and Korean tea came to my table when I sat down; many of the Korean restaurants in central London charge you for tea and banchan.
After lunch, I browsed a number of the local Korean markets and found that a few were selling plastic containers of cooked beef and various vegetables. Toppings for bibimbap! For one or two people, it’s probably more cost and time effective to purchase one or two of these boxes and cook your rice at home. You’ll be missing out on the crusty rice if you don’t have a dolsot, and I don’t, but it’s perfectly fine without it. Oh, and don’t forget to fry an egg too! Of course, I purchased a box for myself at Manna Mart on the high street – bibimbap for me later this week again! If you’re not close to a Korean supermarket, here’s a general recipe for bibimbap though many other vegetables can also be added. Top the lot with gochujang (hot red pepper paste) mixed with a little rice vinegar and sugar. Mix mix mix and eat!
96 Burlington Road
New Malden, Surrey
Manna Mart Ltd.
71-73 High Street
New Malden, Surrey