Assa – Cheap and cheerful korean

It was rainy, we were cold (and on a budget) and starving…

Just behind Tottenham Court Road is Giles High Street, an unassuming row of cafes and 4 Korean restaurants. Today we were to try Assa, one of the busiest in the row.

Entering the restaurant at 6:30pm, the place was packed to the brim and it didn’t appear they could fit us in. However after a short wait at the door, we were ushered downstairs into what looked like a karaoke room set up with tables. Already filled with diners, we were seated and promptly brought a sort of weak cold rice tea to drink.

The menu has quite a few of the normal korean staples – bibimbap rice pots, beef bulgogi with rice, spicy rice cakes – but being so cold outside we opted for once of their many  hot pots and a korean pancake.

Complimentary banchan of seaweed and bean sprouts arrived at the table after ordering. I was pleasantly surprised, as whilst this is pretty standard in Korea, the US, Australia or even New Malden (London’s Korea town), it almost never happens in central London.

Making way for a portable gas cooker on the table, our marinated Beef and Kimchee hot pot (£15) arrived next. The hot pot was a mixture of marinated bulgogi beef, kimchee, tofu, mushrooms, veges and potato noodles all in a kimchee broth. As the broth came to a boil, the ingredients cooked fairly quickly and we wasted no time digging in, drinking up all the kimchee broth with a some rice. The broth wasn’t too spicy so if you do like it hot, then you may want to request it.

Our Seafood pancake (£7.50) arrived next. Chock full of squid and vegetables, the pancake was fluffy and not doughy or over fried. Sam went so far to compliment it as one of the best pancakes we have had for a while.

For £26 we left the restaurant happy and well fed. Now to try the next restaurant on the row!

Assa
53 St. Giles High Street
Covent Garden, WC2H8
Assa on Urbanspoon

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