Oh Hirata buns. You’ve become an obsession of mine! No sooner have I gobbled up these clouds of carbohydrate perfection that another opportunity to eat more comes up. It’s just fate. I’ll take one for the team, seriously, it’s fine. When lovely Jesse suggested we get our gobble on at On The Bab, a new Korean restaurant in Old Street, I didn’t think twice.
On the Bab stands out in a sea of Vietnamese eateries in the Old Street area, and is a sibling restaurant of Koba. Escaping the rain, we squeezed into a table- and I mean squeezed, it is a tiny place. We picked out the buns with bulgogi beef, bimbimbab, and a side of chicken dumplings- chased down with a couple of their Sojitos, basically a mojito made with Soju instead of rum.
The dumplings, although tasty, tasted just like chicken gyozas you can find anywhere else. The bimbimbab was disappointing- the ones I’ve tried in the past at other Korean restaurants are served sizzling hot and the egg served raw so that it cooks into the mixture as you stir it around rapidly. What we got was luke warm, with alot of bean sprouts, and a very unexciting fried egg. No threat of salmonella here- where’s the fun in that? The bulgogi beef buns were decadent- the filling was spilling out of the bun and were finger licking good. They give you a wet napkin for a reason- it’s a messy business tucking into one these! They definitely made up for the lacklustre bimbimbab!
After another cocktail, we still had room to go! We ordered another small side of Yangyum fried chicken- they even let you get half Soy Garlic and half Sweet Spicy pieces if you can’t decide. We ordered a small so imagine our surprise when a bowl the size of my head arrives with delicous fried chicken!
Nut allergists beware! Peanuts are sprinkled all over the sticky chicken. I love peanuts, and I loved the added texture and taste they gave the chicken. By the time we were tucking into our buns, there was a queue snaking outside the restaurant. Having slurped our drinks down to the icy dregs, we paid up- £70 for two people (who gulped down 2 cocktails each) and a whole lot of food wasn’t too bad. If we had skipped the drinks, it would have been much more reasonable, but hey it was the end of the week and everyone needs a helping hand to slip into weekend mode! No wonder there was a queue.
We ducked out of the rain and into the Old Shoreditch Station where we parked our butts by the window and chatted some more over our lethal vanilla-coffee-rum and lemonades. Which actually tastes better than it sounds. Good food, great company- a perfect start to the weekend!