It’s always good to have an excuse to go out on a Monday night, and even better when that excuse involves the opening night of a new restaurant. Korean venue Surakhan is Park Row’s latest offering, and seems only to be (correct me if I’m wrong) central Bristol’s second Korean eatery.
52 Park Row has seen many establishments come and go over the years: I know I’ve not been here long, but a quick Google search brings up a string of names, including Asia In Wok, Takala, Thai Palace, and the most recent to disappear, Legend Oriental Kitchen. Hopefully Surakhan will fare slightly better.
We ignored the list of six starters, ranging from the £3-£5 mark, and went straight for the main course. I opted for the Bibimbap – described on the menu as being world-renowned as “wellbeing food”, and enjoyed by Michael Jackson and Queen Elizabeth II, no less. A bowl of rice, topped with courgettes, carrots, beansprouts, mushrooms, minced beef and a fried egg, the bibimbap was served with gochujang – a traditional Korean hot pepper paste that was reminiscent of a more fiery version of hoisin sauce.
Two of my fellow diners ordered a slightly different version of the bibimbap, served in a sizzling stone pot and topped with a raw egg. The trick is to stir the dish while still sizzling in order to cook the egg through, then add the gochujang sauce. Our waiter appeared at our table after the mains had been brought out, to let us know that our dishes still looked “too white”, and that we should add more sauce to season.
We were also given two small bowls of kimchi – fermented cabbage – to accompany our mains…I could have eaten plenty more.
The food was tasty, and completely different to anything I’ve had before – and I’m glad we were instructed to apply the sauce liberally, as it made a huge difference to the flavours. There were a few disappointments with the evening, however. Read the account of the evening on Bristol Culture to find out about the lack of Korean beers, the timing of the service of the mains and the design of the menu, and Ephemeral Digest will tell you how we witnessed one member of staff crouching on the floor to fill takeaway cartons with rice, due to the lack of space.
Main course prices are reasonable at around £8-£11, with bottled beers at £2.90 and wine priced at £2.75 per 125ml glass/£14-£20 per bottle. The restaurant also offers a lunch service at £5.49 to eat in or £4.99 to take away, and dishes available from a cut-down version of the main menu.
All in all, an enjoyable experience, and I’m putting the service issues down to first night hiccups. I’d definitely be keen to go back and try more of the menu…especially as it’s only a 5 minute walk from my front door
Surakhan Korean Restaurant
52 Park Row, Bristol, BS1 5LH
Telephone: 0117 9290 806