I missed the Bibigo soft launch when it opened last year, as they had a private party for the Korean olympic team on the evening I decided to visit. But since their food prices are more pricey then other more tradition Korean restaurant, it has not made it to the top of my list. However, a promotion of a £12 two courses dinner set menu gave me an excuse to finally visit Bibigo. A good deal that I could not miss out, since a main at Bibigo cost you a price of the two course dinner set menu.
Bibigo is unlike the usual tradition Korean restaurant in London, since it serves Korean cusines in a contemporary style. They market themself as a fine dining restaurant, serving healthy and fresh food which is probabaly why the prices for their dishes are bit more expensive. The company apparently have several restaurants on the other side of the world, as well as producing a range of Bibigo Korean food product that you can buy at the restaurant and in some supermarket.
When we arrived on a Saturday evening, we found the restaurant pretty empty. It was not a good first impression as you start to wonder what will the food would be like. But it was surprisingly good and different.
Most of us took up the two course dinner set menu and decided that between us we would order different starters and mains, so we can share to try as many dishes. Bibigo selection dinner set menu for £12 consisted of the following choices:
- Crispy Mandoo Crust
- Red Chicken
- Baby Squid
- Grilled Scallops & Pollock Roe
- Char-grilled Bulgogi
- Hot Stone Galbi
- Beef & Asparagus
- Grilled Tofu & Kimchi
Starters we selected Crispy Mandoo Crust, which is steamed prawn dumplings under a crispy potato starch and served with baby leaf salad, lime zest & chilli soy dressing.
Tomatofu is a tofu salad, which contained Silken tofu with tomato and rockets in a lemon soy dressing. The tofu was silky and smooth, which you expect from Silken tofu. The combination of the sweet yellow tomato and the dressing went well with the tofu as they are bland in flavour. This was a nice dish which is great for the summer season.
Pajeon is the famous Korean pan-fried seafood and spring onion pancake. This was our favourite starter as it was made very well. The pajeon had generous amount of seafood and not just a thick coating of batter that you get at some places. It was pan-fried beautifully with the pancake still being soft and not burnt.
Baby squid consisted of deep fried squid and okra. This was slightly spicy and is a dish that make a great snack.
Main our selection included the Hot Stone Galbi, which is char-grilled beef short ribs marinated in Bibigo BBQ sauce served with ssam basket (assorted vegetables).
The dish was served on a big stone plate and placed on a wooden box with a candle in the middle. It is a different way to serving Korean BBQ and probabaly less smelly clothes which can be an important factor in fine dining.
Just like having a steak, you get a separate knife to cut the beef short ribs.
Bo-ssam is simmered pork belly with ginger, spring onion and pine nuts served with ssam basket. It was nicely cooked and presented belly pork dish, but I am not sure that this would be categorised in my book as healthy with the layer of fat you found with belly pork.
I believe this is the saam basket that came served with the Bo-Saam and some of the other dishes we ordered from the set menu. You need some thing healthy to compensate with the juicy meats.
Grilled Scallops & Pollock Roe was my favourite main, which is grilled scallops & pollock roe served with truffled yuja dressing. The scallops was cooked just right with it still being moist and not over cooked. When scallops are over-cooked it will become a rubbery texture which is not nice.
Apart from the Bibimbap, none of the main on the set menu are served with rice, so some of us separately ordered a bowl of rice.
I ordered a small hot stone tofu bibimbap. All bibimbap comes in two sides – small or large. The large size is what I would say is the regular size bibimbap that you would usually find at many Korean restaurant. The small size was a good size for me and if you are going to have a main with it.
We ended the evening with desserts and most of us choice the Ho-ddeok, which is Korean sweet cinnamon pancake. This was served with vanilla ice-cream.
We changed one of the Ho-ddeok to be served with green tea ice-cream. But no matter what ice-cream flavour you select, the pancake was tasty with the flavour of cinamon. It even looked healthy with the sprinkle of oats and fruits.
We also ordered Bibigo sorbert which came on a plate of three different flavours – raspberry, mango and lychee. Each one was full of fruity flavour with mango and lychee being my favourite and definitely a recommendation to try. Close your eyes and you will recognise each of fruity flavours. An excellent choice of dessert for a hot summer day when you want some thing refreshing.
Although for a saturday evening it was not a full house, it was actually a pleasant since you can have a quiet dinner. Overall, I was glad to have visited Bibigo as the food was nice and beautifully presented from starters to desserts. However, with out the offer then I would find it too pricey and it probably be a place I would visit again for a special occasion.
58-59 Marlborough Street