Surakhan Korean Restaurant: Table BBQ Review

 

We last reviewed Surakhan – the Korean restaurant on Park Row – back in 2012. Miyoung Kim’s venture is her first ever restaurant, and continues to go from strength to strength. We were there to try out her new Table BBQ menu: a selection of meats that are cooked by diners on a small barbecue built into the restaurant’s tables. A great concept – and we were interested to see how different it was from the European and US styles of barbecuing…

We began our meal with a selection of starters, including the fantastic deep fried squid rings with chilli sauce (£4.99 for one person, £9.99 to share between three). With a crisp, crunchy batter and tender squid in the middle, these were a definite hit.

 

Surakhan - Squid

 

We were also encouraged to try the butternut squash dumplings (£4.99 for one person, £9.99 to share between three – at the bottom of the following photo) – a new addition to the Surakhan menu since my last visit. With a light wheat pastry enveloping a sweet and savoury combination of butternut squash and cheese, these were also a hit.

Finally, we had to have a portion of Surakhan’s famous chicken wings (again, £4.99 for one person, £9.99 to share between three) – another portion of deep fried goodness! The coating was crunchy, spicy and slightly sweet, and the chicken perfectly cooked – it’s easy to see why these have become one of Surakhan’s signature dishes.

 

Surakhan - Starters

 

And so, onto the table BBQ: the main event. Miyoung preheated the small barbecue grill embedded in the middle of our table and brought over three different dishes of raw meat that we were to cook ourselves.

In the picture below, you’ll see two different pork dishes merrily cooking away: sliced pork belly with salt and pepper (£7.50) on the right, and sliced pork belly with Surakhan’s Gochujang sauce (also £7.50) on the left. We also enjoyed a portion of Surakhan’s chicken with Gochujang sauce (£8) that we cooked after the pork had finished. We were provided with tongs to turn the meat as it sizzled away and to move to the cooler edges of the grill once cooked…and fortunately we were told how we should eat the meat when it had cooked, as we were a little bamboozled by the extra dishes that appeared on the table…

 

Surakhan - Table BBQ

 

…and here are those extra dishes. The bottom two are side orders: at the bottom, a fantastic mashed potato salad (£1) with crunchy vegetables, and just above this, a broccoli and squid salad (£2) – a great combination of flavours that I’d never tried before. Our meal also included a thin, onion-based sauce (top middle) and a sweet sticky condiment (top left) whose names I forget…

 

Surakhan - Sides

 

We were also presented with a big basket of lettuce leaves. Whereas European and US barbecues will see meat encased in stodgy buns, lettuce is the vehicle of choice for the Koreans. You can choose to eat the meat straight from the grill, or you can wrap it up in a lettuce leaf with any sides or sauces that take your fancy. Miyoung suggested that we dip the meat in the onion sauce before placing it in the centre of a lettuce leaf. We were then shown how to take a chunk of onion from this sauce, dip it in the sweeter sauce and place on top of the meat before wrapping the whole parcel up and eating it in one mouthful.

The flavours were seriously amazing. The lettuce leaf is a great idea, as it makes the meat and the sauces the stars, rather than the bun – as we all know, too much bread means we fill up too quickly! The whole meal was an explosion of different flavours and textures – and the fact that we were cooking and preparing it for ourselves – and deciding which concoctions to go for with each lettuce leaf – meant that it was great fun too.

Price-wise, the Table BBQ menu is great value for money, and a fantastic introduction to this traditional shared Korean meal. If you’re looking for something tasty and different for a night out, then I’d definitely advise giving it a go – but would suggest placing your order with Surakhan a day in advance, to make sure that the dishes you want are available, and to ensure that your order can be prepared from fresh. And make sure you order a portion of chicken wings as the starting point to your meal. With their quality and reputation, it would be rude not to…

 

Please note: this meal was received free of charge, but in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.

 

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