Jubo, Korean Street Food in London’s City Centre
Korean cuisine is undoubtedly poorly represented in the British culinary scene when compared to impact of its neighbours in China and Japan. That isn’t to say that these two countries are underserved in their ability to infiltrate the West with gourmand excellence. What this is to say, that for the many who have delighted in Chinese and Japanese food, for all their flavour combinations and variations, you’re sure to appreciate the rising presence of Korean dining in the UK. In this article, I talk about the Korean restaurant, ‘Jubo’, located in London’s Farringdon and Shoreditch areas, and how my palate is still thanking me for the visit. To be more exact, Jubo focuses on Korean street food, meaning that like much global street food, what’s on offer is simple and effective. Korean food, although incredibly diverse, is largely based on staples of rice, vegetables and meat dishes, often served with many smaller, Tapas-reminiscent side-dishes called banchan. The flavour staples are similar to East Asian and South-East Asian cuisine, with an emphasis on spices, sweet and salty ingredients. However, what is perhaps most important, is that quality Korean food, is nothing more than absolutely delectable, wherein premier ingredients are allowed to shine with how they are prepared. For the sake of this article, I will focus on the Farringdon branch of Jubo, where I had the pleasure of dining personally.
<h2>The Décor is a Clever use of Space and Light</h2>
The setting of Jubo’s Farringdon branch, in Exmouth Market to be exact utilizes its space effectively. Like with many of the restaurants in the area, each venue is often rather narrow, but with sleek décor, minimalist furnishings and a mirrored wall, Jubo effectively creates the illusion of space. Furthermore, Jubo gives you the option to sit outdoor, facing the picturesque and vibrant Exmouth Market. You aren’t placed in the centre of a chaotic market space however; rather this dining experience is more akin to terrace seating. Overall, Jubo manages to feel friendly and relaxed and is notable for staff and an atmosphere which is similarly so. The good news is this allows diners to fully focus on the deliciousness of the food, and each other’s company as a solid second.
<h2>The Menu, Simply Mouth-watering Throughout</h2>
It’s difficult to recommend a particular dish at Jubo, as each of the smaller plates I have tried during my visit (which were a lot), were equally mouth-watering. The flavours were zesty and sharp, but sweet and salty. Basically, every type of taste bud is treated with dishes that make an art of the balancing of flavours. However, as evidenced by the above image, Jubo is strong when it comes to its meat dishes, many of which are prepared barbeque style. If forced to select any, I’d suggest that highlights include the ‘Kochi’, ‘street-style BBQ skewers’, which at £4:50 per plate, provides a delectable serving of soy marinated slow cooked pork belly with roasted garlic or spicy bulogi chicken.
These dishes are a part of the ‘bar bites’ section of the menu and so a single plate wouldn’t be normally enough to satisfy an appetite; consider it more of a sharers menu. The Korean Fried Chicken portion of the menu, also named ‘Ynagnyeon Tongdak’, has delights, which include the ‘Chicken Dinner Platter’, and at £37:50, is a meal for 2-4 people with eight chicken wings and eight strips, served with soy garlic, hot or volcanic sauce and a selection of three sides. Other Menu standouts include the Kim Chi cabbage slaw at £3:50 and the Ja Jang myen noodles, which comes with baby squid and crispy shallots, priced at £7.
Jubo also offers a takeaway service across most of its menu, available both in the Farringdon and Shoreditch branches. Although this takeaway is collection only, it provides incredible food for an indulgent evening in, and could make for a romantic date night with a loved one or feast night with friends. In essence, Korean food is a cuisine that I’m sure will become a favourite of those who have access to it, and Jubo, makes for an incredible way to indulge in it.