Oftentimes when I need some comfort, I find myself in dire need of Seoul food. Har har. Seriously, when things aren’t quite right, my craving for jap chae, KFC (Korean Fried Chicken), tteokbokki, gochujang and an indoor barbecue shoots up. Enter Asadal in Holborn.
MD and I went for post-work rant catch up. Instead of going a la carte we went for the Special Set which, let me tell you, was a HEAP LOAD of food.
Unlike Koba in Fitzrovia, Asadal has a more dated look. Not that I think it’s tracking back to the 80’s or some other era. Even the presentation is rather dated.
We started with man du soup, broth tasty and sole dumpling packed with satisfyingly rich filling.
And then the mo dum jeon arrived in a box resembling an old school type of trinket box.
An array of deep fried breaded courgette, prawn and white fish, this would go well with an ice cold bottle of Hite. Personally, I’m not a fan of most battered things, especially when the batter has an eggy texture.
I was really looking forward to trying Asadal’s jap chae as it’s my favourite Korean dish. Their offering was spot on authentic. The potato noodles were well cooked, the beef was tender and the veg was abundant. Flavour-wise, it was bold in taste as the seasoning was perfect. It was down-right hearty and comforting.
One of the few battered things I actually love is Korean Fried Chicken. Asadal’s kan poong gi put a huge smile on my face. That sticky sweet and spicy sauce brings me back to good old comfort eating – where you don’t need anything fancy schmancy, just well cooked food with a bang of flavour.
Served like popcorn pieces, the batter was crispy and not overly fried whilst the meat was still juicy. I loved it so much, I practically ate the whole plate (and it was a lot in that plate).
I was super excited to have some Korean barbecue. The special set included a serving of topside and ribeye steak. But we’ll get onto that later.
Can I be honest? I’m usually down for a lot of vegetables, but the ban chan didn’t really move me. I don’t think it inspired us at all. So we didn’t touch it at all.
So let’s get back to that Korean barbecue, okay?
I mean after the first four courses, this was like, the finisher.
I really loved the beef although my preference leaned towards the topside rather than the ribeye.
But of course, Korean barbecues ain’t always just about the beef.
We created our own lettuce wraps, and each bite just hit the nail home harder. It was nothing fancy, just beef on a lettuce leaf with spring onions, chilli oil and that good ol’ gochujang. Comfort food at its finest.
My belly was at peace.
But it wasn’t over.
Absolutely stuffed at this point, the bibimbap, which we totally forgot about, arrived.
Quite frankly, it didn’t really appeal at first. But when the server started mixing up the bowl, I heard the rice sizzling and I couldn’t help but take a few spoons of it.
Honestly? Maybe I’m just really not a fan of rice, maybe I was just too full, but I thought I’ve had better.
Dessert was a plate of fruit. Again, nothing special. But it rounds up the whole meal as being comforting. Like how we ate food at home.
Verdict of Asadal
Overall, I genuinely think Asadal is a little gem in Holborn where you can go for a decent meal that satisfies. Is it the first place in mind when you’re in town? No. But it’s there, it’s been there, and I hope it’ll stay there because it brings good comfort food. And funny, no? Because for us expats it kinda sounds like home. It’s there, it’s been there and you know you will always find it there because it will always be where you’ll run to for soul food.