Clubbers and bar types who love the hip Shoreditch scene will inevitably have noticed an establishment on Old Street which has constant queues jamming up the pavement. Must be some really happening celebrity DJ, right? Or perhaps some extended happy hour serving amazing cocktails and free shots? No, it’s actually a restaurant. The On The Bab Korean Street Food restaurant has bigger queues than a lot of clubs on the weekend and here’s why.
Its small dining area certainly adds to this sense of exclusivity – the ‘wait to be seated’ crowd coveting the throne-like allure of the selected few. None of this is a deliberate marketing ploy. In fact, this humble, self-styled taste of Asia does the exact opposite – creating a welcoming, all-accomodating vibe but then struggling to cope with its own popularity.
Small seems to be the desirable element. Small restaurant, small portions, just right for night-life seekers who want in and out quite quickly but with something more culturally appealing and exotic than your average fried chicken joint or kebab shop. Little of this exotic allure comes from the functional tables and chairs with no trimmings so that can only be the delicious selection of meals.
A starter of Octopus & Prawn Salad is well recommended. Cooling enough for those humid spring/summer evenings that beckon and with that yummy signature Korean peanut flavour working your taste buds your second dish may well require a cup of Honey Yuza Tea to soothe with its lingering sweet citrus. It comes served in a metal container as does all the dishes.
Try their Yangyum Korean Fried Chicken with crushed peanut and soy ginger. Local traditional fried chicken shops have long since waved the white flag in the face of competition from these snacky gourmet delights. And yes, every bite does have that peanut aftertaste, dotted as they are all over the portions.
Queues don’t lie. So the next time you see a huddle of people waiting patiently outside any restaurant which has clubs and bars either side which cannot match its custom-attracting power, then they just might be on to something special.
(Review) Octopus & Prawn Salad/Yangyum Chicken On The Bab, Korean Street Food, (Old Street) Octopus & Prawn Salad in spicy vinaigrette dressing £5.9. Korean Fried Chicken with crushed peanut and soy ginger £5.9 – £22.9. Honey Yuza Tea £2.5