I find it increasingly exciting that I can still go to a restaurant in our fabulous city and see something completely new and inventive. Shuang Shuang, Pharmacy 2, Hoppers; all completely different yet wonderful. Koba, a Korean BBQ restaurant in Fitzrovia is a new one for the list.
I’m sure Korean BBQ is no new thing, but at chef/restaurateur Linda Lee’s recently refurbed Koba, with a grill in the centre of each table and a pullable extractor fan, it’s something I’ve not seen before – and it’s super fun.
We started with some simple snacks; Korean fried chicken (£7.90), a trio of buns (£9.50) and calamari (£7.20) which had the sort of flavour that had you questioning whether to order more.
For the main event, three of us shared a Koba BBQ Selection (£35) which was more than enough. Baby squid, pork belly, rib eye, short rib, prawns and chicken – all marinated enough to be enjoyable on their own or wrapped in lettuce and dunked in the salty sesame oil. The staff cook it for you yet the drama and theatre remains and it’s all rather enjoyable.
An extra plate of ox tongue (£10.50) was great and a definite must order even if you think tongue might not be your thing.
A spicy pork bibimbap (£10.50), served in a hot bowl, allowed the bottom bits of the rice to get all crispy; a moreish melange of textures.
For pud, a warm chestnut cake (£6.50), showed that Asian desserts aren’t always bland. It was everything you wanted from a cake; a soft and fluffy centre with a chewy browned exterior.
Koba is the sort of place that you want to go back to again and again. The friendly informative service, led by Linda who’s a total character, a mellow chilled out atmosphere and really good food with a theatrical flair – it all makes for a great night out. Looks like London has itself another ambassador proving how great our city’s food really is.