Sometimes in life you need to eat Korean food. Why you may ask? Because it’s awesome. Or at least it is at Hana in Battersea rise, London. We decided to have a cheeky family lunch to celebrate the fact that is was Friday and we were hungry. Having eaten breakfast not long before our lunch, I assumed I would not be that hungry. How wrong I was.
We were the first in the restaurant at midday, first in, best dressed. I’m not really sure we were the best dressed (except for my niece who was sporting a fabulous outfit which I bought her) but we were definitely the first in. As we sat and perused the menu, we ordered a glass of Prosecco, it was Friday after all. I had a quick look at the menu the night before, always a good idea when you’re coeliac, you never know what you’ll be able to eat. So, my mind was already made up. I was going to order the cucumber kimchee and the raw beef bibimbap. Now, I’m a raw meat girl from way back. Put a steak tartare in front of me and it will be gone in moments. I love it raw and I love it beefy.
When the food arrived, mine was a colourful bowl of goodness. A heavy granite bowl was set in a wooden stand and laid before me. In its grey depths lay a bed of cooked rice which was topped with perfectly julienned carrots, courgettes, mushrooms, raw beef, raw egg yolk and sesame seeds. It looked colourful, fresh and damn good. The waiter put a little saucer of chilli sauce on the side and asked if I would like him to prepare it for me. And so he set about expertly stirring the contents, the hot bowl cooking the ingredients and producing a lovely crispy rice crust on the bottom of the bowl. It reminded me of the socarrat in paella. The result was surprising and delicious. It was also reminiscent of Nasi Goreng, but it was quite unique in its loveliness. It was all at once, a little spicy, a little salty, a little sweet.
This is the kind of dish that I would gladly eat once a week, if not more often. It was comforting and I can imagine that it would be perfect hangover fodder. Taking a journey into new cuisines is one of my favourite things to do, this is not the first time that I have eaten Korean food but Bibimbap is a dish I want to eat again and again. Little Chef is going to have to learn how to make it. Maybe I can ask the kind people at Hana to show me how… I’ll keep you posted.