Hurwundeki is a Korean cafe and hairdressers in Bethnal Green not far from Corner Room and Viajante. It’s an unusual combination but one that totally works as both are so bloomin’ good. I’ve been getting my haircut there for a while so when I was invited to come down to try out the food I kindly obliged.
It’s not much to look at from the outside; you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a disused car park. Inside however is a lot more charming. It gives the ‘run down’ look a whole new meaning with exposed brick walls (I’m talking proper exposed bricks too), creaky wooden floorboards and the lack of a proper ceiling, just a roof. Yet it doesn’t feel cold or uncomfortable – in fact quite the opposite.
I’m not hugely au fait with Korean food so we went with our waiter’s suggestions. We started with the seafood jeon (£4.90) which was a pancake. Stuffed full of soft flakey fish, slices of pepper and chunks of squid it was a real comforting plate of food. The accompanying soy sauce was particularly good too; they blend their own on site.
The chicken mandu (£4.50) which were fried gyozas, were brilliant and everything you could hope for; slightly greasy, crispy and packed full of flavour.
For main my gentleman companion went for the beef bibimbap (£6.50) and although the whole thing could have been served a little hotter, it was a delicious bowlful. Some spinach, kimchi, bean sprouts, sliced beef and a perfectly poached egg yolk all sat atop a mound of rice and we liberally poured the fiery chilli sauce over the whole thing. Heavenly.
My favourite thing we ate was the spicy pork on thickly sliced sourdough toast (£5.90). The pork was soft and fatty with the latter being cooked perfectly and the sauce that covered it was spicy yet not overpowering.
We then popped next door for a quick trim by Ki the owner who is a really lovely chap. It’s an interesting set up. You walk in and put your name down on the chalkboard and they call you up when it’s your turn. It’s “speed cutting” – so for boys it’s 15 minutes for £9 and for girls 19 minutes for £14 – they even use timers. I like it because there’s no fannying around; it’s quick, simple and the results, for me, have always been perfect.
I really loved Hurwundeki – it’s got so much quirkiness and character that I defy anyone not to love it. And at those prices what’s not to love? Even the coffee is good; they get their beans from Workshop Coffee which is roasted in Clerkenwell and tastes great. We left feeling full, well trimmed and thoroughly satisfied.