If it’s possible for a meal to be so cheap that it would be a bargain even if it tasted of nothing, this place might be the case in point. At Seoul Bakery you can eat a big bowl of vegetable bibimbap for £3.50. If you’re really feeling short you could get away with not paying a tip, too, as service is usually flustered and slow all at once, and you’ll inevitably have waited in at least one doorway for your seat at a table shared, closely, with strangers. But you should leave a tip, because though it is unpredictable and feels a little like a teenage girl’s bedroom thanks to the rainbow quilt of cartoons and post-its on the wall, the “Bakery” serves really great food.
The bibimbap arrives looking terribly bland and clinical in its shiny stainless steel bowl, but is in fact cleverly packed with intersting flavours, which we can only assume is hidden in the vegetables, for the light sticky rice is whiter than MSG. The beef bulgogi also arrives looking unassuming but is impreesively tasty, and the seafood pancake is a downright marvel of fluffy batter and crispy edges, though I’d probably go for kimchi next time; the seafood was just a little too unidentifiable for my liking.
I’m lucky to work near this place, and even getting there at 6.03pm on a weekday won’t get you a seat straightaway – it’s just too little. But the loitering is worth it, because it’s possible to order more food than you’ll be able to eat and still spend less than a tenner.
55 St Giles High St, WC2H 8LH, 020 7240 0877