Friday, November 03, 2017

Restaurant review: GOGI KOREAN BAR AND GRILL (Warwick Avenue)

Having done my Masters (part-time, over two years) very close to Tottenham Court Road, I was able to indulge in all the Korean restaurants in TCR’s vicinity, which certainly gave me an appetite for the cuisine. This fondness was cemented by On the Bab, one of the best restaurants I’ve been to, by far, and recipient of a coveted A-grade on this blog.

One part of my Korean dining experience that was sadly lacking, however, was that of the Korean barbeque. This is where Gogi, situated about a ten minute walk from Warwick Avenue underground station, came in.

The conceit of Gogi is that you order the food, and the waiters bring the raw ingredients which they cook right in front of you using the hot plot at the centre of the table. If you’re feeling brave, you can volunteer to take over, and cook it yourself. The experience of watching your food get cooked makes for great entertainment, and you can order starters to nibble on (kimchi is a must!) as the food is prepared.

I had the Queen’s Berry cocktail, which was refreshing and infused with fresh raspberries. The alcohol content was optimal; I could definitely detect the advertised liqueur and soju in the drink, but they blended together nicely with the crushed ice, rather than overpowering me with booze.

Pamoochin, which are ubiquitous in Korean eateries, were pickled superbly. The handsome portions of vinegar and red pepper powder made the rice and meat tantalisingly spicy when added to it.

I was pleased with the vast majority of the food. If I was feeling picky, I might complain about the bone-to-meet ratio on the pork chops, but otherwise, they tasted great. The other point to note is that by focusing on Korean BBQ as a whole, there wasn’t a standout dish as there was in On the Bab or BiBimBap. The bibimbap tasted yummy, but it wasn’t standout, like the one from BiBimBap in Charlotte Street, which specialises in it.

Overall, the eating, drinking (and light cooking) experience at Gogi’s was great fun. The waiters and waitresses there were shrewd enough to read every table, and gauge how much advice the diners needed in cooking their food, without ever seeming overbearing or patronising. Our waitress was lovely and advised that we cook our barbeque with the garlic; and indeed, the soup├žon of garlic  (and green peppers) photographed above complemented the meat fabulously, coaxing out more of its incredible flavour.

There is something immensely satisfying about watching all the food get cooked and the juices seeping out of the meat (see photo below). It's like the gastronomical equivalent of a mating dance, designed to whet one's appetite. And the end product certainly delivers.

Grade: A-


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