Just by Centre Point near Tottenham Court Road tube station is a little row of Korean restaurants on St. Giles High Street. I’d not tried any of them but a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity when I met up with Sam of life outside the viewfinder in the centre of town; we’d decided on Seoul Bakery, a place I’d first heard about from Tommy at This is Naive. It’s probably the smallest of the restaurants along the row, with only three tables, and quite possibly the one with the most character.
The place was already packed with young Koreans by noon on that Easter Sunday and we had to share a table with two other groups of two – very cosy. The first thing to take my notice was that the walls were absolutely covered with graffiti. I have no idea whether they actually bake any of it on site but they do have baked goods for sale, along with stickers, stationery and socks. I fell for the place immediately and also for its basic menu full of simple Korean dishes: kimbap, bibimbap, tteokbokki, pajeon and simple soupy stews.
We started with a bulgogi beef bibimbap (no dolsot here – aka. hot stone pot) which came along with a giant bottle of all the gochujang-based sauce we could ever want or need. A good squeeze of the bottle and a thorough mixing of everything and we were soon tucking in to the spicy rice, beef and vegetables.
Tteokbokki could be ordered plain or with a variety of additions; we chose the one with dumplings – dumpling tteokbokki. The sauce wasn’t as spicy as I normally like it but it was a tasty rendition.
A seafood pajeon was absolutely fantastic, just as good as others I’ve had in other restaurants, and was all crisp and greaseless and filled with more seafood than I expected for the price.
And they’re not averse to the sharing of dishes too. These were the bowls we got from which to eat – the handle does come in handy when you have to carry your bowl for lack of space on the table!
This isn’t a place to linger as there’s likely to be a small queue at the door: pay your bill and go (pausing to choose any extras – I left with little bear memo stickies to use as bookmarks). Ours came to less than £20 (I think about £17) for all this and two aloe drinks. Still, the place is great for a cheap and quick Korean meal.
55 St. Giles High Street
London WC2H 8LH