On The Bab opened just after I stopped working in Covent Garden, which was unfortunate timing as I love a bit of Korean and always looking for a nice casual lunch spot that’s not too expensive. I wondered past yesterday and thought why not – a quick couple of snacks with my sis to keep us locked up til dinner.
The premise of the menu is (of course) street food Korean style, with a section of small plates and some heartier options underneath.
We went with the fried prawn dumplings (kun mandu) , seaweed salad with citrus dressing and the all-important kimchee, then had the beef bulgogi ‘on the rice’ dish to share with broccoli salad covered in creamy Korean dwenjang mayo.
It’s all very casual, and dishes arrive as they’re ready. The dumplings were hot and freshly fried, with big chunks of prawns and lovely crispy shells. Seaweed salad was good and the dressing fresh and zingy but there was a bit too much – the seaweed at the bottom of the jar (yep it’s served in jars) was swimming in it. Great kimchee as you’d expect, hot and spicy, crunchy, salty and very garlicky.
The small dishes are very small, so good job the beef was enormous! Tender strips with aromatic bulgogi sauce (although not quite enough of it) and lots of crunchy salad – delicious. Next time I’m trying the kimchee bokeum bab – a sort of Korean paella with bacon and egg – sounds amazing. The fried chicken section also looks great – lots more to look forward to in future.
It came to about £25 for 2 for lunch so not bad at all. The menu makes it easy to try new bits and pieces as the small dishes are about £4 – so no biggie if you hate it.
They take bookings for 8+, otherwise it’s try your luck. It was busy when we were there but food comes quick. Their other outposts are Marylebone and Shoreditch, so multiple options for satisfying Korean cravings. Check out the Covent Garden menu here.