Review of On The Bab - best KFC in London?
My sister was on a bus journey through Shoreditch one day, and came home to tell me there's a new Korean Street food place there. I can't normally trust what she tells me, as she's not that clued up most times. I also couldn't trust her when she said the place is called "Korean Street Food". But as she seemed interested to check it out, being the foodie sister that I am, I said I'd take her. So we went there one Saturday afternoon, and I let her lead the way, still having no clue about what she's talking about.
We turn up, and its ON THE BAB!!!! Words could not explain how excited I was. There was no queue, and a table became free as we walked in. Normally when I walk pass, there's a massive queue and I think that's what puts me off. I'd heard so much about On The Bab, but embarrassingly had never been. I think my sister was also quite embarrassed when I told her the place is called On The Bab, and not "Korean Street Food".
We scan the menu. Naturally, I wanted to order everything on the menu. But decided to just order a few key pieces as a taster session. On The Bab works on a sharing plates system, so it's great for a group. But the Shoreditch branch isn't very big, so if there's more than 4 of you, I'd suggest going to their Covent Garden branch instead.
So here's what I had to eat:
Bab Twigim 밥튀김 (£3.80) - a kimchi and cheese arancini which was as good as the one I had in Rome! There was that crispy breadcrumb outside with gooey melted cheese inside. The kimchi was mixed in with the rice and gave a really good spicy kick to the arancini. Served alongside was Koba spicy sauce - which was ok, but nothing special - maybe because the arancini was so awesome by it's own.
Pa Jeon 파전 (£4.90) - spring onion and seafood pancake. I can't go to any Korean restaurant without ordering one of these. Sadly, this was a bit of a disappointment. It was a pretty small portion too. There was probably more spring onion than seafood in these ones. So I wouldn't recommend you ordering the pancakes from On The Bab, when there's so much more you can have instead.
Toppoki 떡볶이 (£4.90) - a must must order!! Toppoki is a rice cake with a soft squidgy texture. It's one of my favourite Korean ingredients so I had to order it when I saw it on the menu. I didn't regret it one bit, hands down, it's probably the best I've ever eaten! These were pan fried and then cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce. I'm not convinced the boiled quail egg added anything to the dish though. Either way, trust me when I say you MUST order this!
Now to the main event...
12 piece Yangyum KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) 양념치킨 (£11.90) - if you know Korean food, you'll know that they're famous for their fried chicken. It's nothing like you've had before, and definitely more classy than the famous one made by a certain colonel. These ones from On The Bab are coated in a crispy batter with crushed peanuts (so beware those with a nut allergy). You can have it in 3 different sized portions: 5, 12 or 22 pieces. There's also 2 different flavours to choose from: soy ginger and sweet spicy - if you're spoilt for choice, you can have half of each flavour like I did. Personally I preferred the sweet spicy sauce covered chicken - so good you'll be licking the sauce off your hands! The chicken is served with a very simple cabbage salad, with a very generous drizzle of a mayo like spicy sauce. If you're a beer person, then you can eat the chicken in the Korean way with a nice cold brew!
By the end of my meal I was truely stuffed and more importantly, satisfied. My two favourite dishes were the Toppoki and the Korean Fried Chicken. True flavours of Korea and On The Bab did it well. I can't say enough good words about them and highly recommend you visit On The Bab soon - what are you waiting for! :)
Address: 305 Old Street, London, EC1V 9LA
Phone: 0207 683 0361
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat 11:30 to 22:30, Sun 11:30 - 22:00