Thursday, 20 June 2013

REVIEW: Gogi, Edgware Road, Little Venice

Gogi opened its door in the Little Venice area back in January of this year. Sitting at the far end of the Edgware Road, next the lovely Regents Canal the restaurant sits in a nice spot, but just a little out of the way. Jae Cho is the owner of this restaurant, who is the man behind the Maida Vale venture, Maguro which in contrast is japanese.

The restaurant is essentially modern Korean BBQ aiming to give an informal and relaxed dining experience with a hands on cooking approach. Though all the cooking is done for you at the table, I would've prefered to go a little crazy on my own, i'm sure health and safety gets in the way of this these days. We started with a small plate of kimchi, which if you're unsure is pickled cabbage with chilli, garlic, red pepper and various other ingredients. Here it tastes incredibly fresh, there was the usual cabbage, cucumber and something I wasn't entirely sure of, the intensities and flavours of each were all subtly different. It may not have been the traditional type we are used to, but it was certainly delicious.

Another ‘snack’ was the Gogi mandu, pan fried chicken dumplings with a lovely soy and spring onion sauce. The dumplings had a nice texture, not too thick or chewy and there was a lot of filling, good flavours but maybe holding back a little, the soy dip was very good indeed and soon livened these up.

The menu is very extensive, and there is a lot of dishes to choose from. To start we also had the Gogi Special Salad, which included deep fried prawns, calamaris and a delicious, slightly sweet special Korean soy sauce. The piece of calamaris and prawn were delicately cooked, and had no chewiness. It was a nice little starter.

Moving on to the mains, which we ordered way too much of - the couple next to us probably thought we were disgusting, thats after I caught them laughing at my chopstick skills. We had the classic Korean BBQ to get through now. The usual lettuce leaves at hand to stuff and roll with the fillings. First to hit the grill was L.A galbi, a short beef with bone, marinated in their delicious korean soy sauce. The cut was very tender, and melted in the mouth. The only problem with this table cooking is that the entertainment means your meat will most likely end up overcooked. Especially considering its cooked for you, at your table. The bone part is merely used to grease down the grill.

Quicky to hit the grill next was the spicy pork marinated in a chili sauce. The pork was very tasty, and the dressing mouthwateringly delicious but again, it had to be eaten very swiftly, or removed from the grill for it not to become overcooked, but then you're still faced with the problem of it becoming cold. A foodie predicament - or just a greedy one. The yellow bean sauce was quite frankly stunning, and apparently the chefs own secret recipe.

Wow, too much food already and the prawns have just arrived. I can't get enough of prawns at the moment, and the more I eat them, the bigger sized I desire. Here, the king prawns are simply cut down the middle, tail left on with a sprinkle of soy and put onto the grill. What i had mistaken for a chestnut on the side of each dish, was infact a chestnut mushroom - close. The prawns were very good, and could have been even better if I had that option to cook it myself, as the waitress also had to attend other tables it meant my prawns were curled up, a little over cooked and slightly stuck to the grill before she managed to get back round to us. Still the flavour was there. There was also a good helping of raw garlic and chillies cooked along side each dish.

We actually thought that was it, and had completely forgotten what we had ordered - but out came another Korean classic. Dolsot chicken bibimbap. served in an earthenware pot, filled with rice, sauteed seasoned vegetables, raw egg yolk and red chilli paste. Its all then mixed together and left to bubble away in the hot dish. At first it brought lots of pleasure, with a subtle flavour. But unless you get through this dish quickly, most of the rice becomes overcooked, hard and crispy. I know some people love this dish, because of this reason, but for me - I can't think of anything worse.

When we got to desserts I became very annoyed with the menu. I've come to restaurant Gogi to try their own food. But for some reason, in a pudding menu which looked like it belonged to a cinema, was someone elses desserts, pre-made by an American cake giant, who yes makes some nice dishes - but I felt a little cheated. Luckily they did have one of their own, a sort of sticky rice based chocolate truffle. Which, looked a bit like a slug underneath. But thankfully didn't taste like one. It was very morrish, and simply delicious.

For Korean food in the Little Venice area Gogi is a good option. The food is good, the concept is fun and the restaurant modern. If you're a Korean traditionalist then this may not be for you, but if you enjoy good meats and delicious kimchi then i wouldn't hesitate to come here. Expect a meal for two with wine and cocktails to come in around £100.


Square MealGOGI Korean Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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