WESTENDER @ BIBIMBAP WEST
By Amy Glasgow @theglasgowdiet
My mum always told me that opening up your umbrella indoors was bad luck, although I suspect it was really to avoid me spraying rain water all over her floors and walls, so imagine my surprise when I entered the newly opened Bibimbap West to see dozens of colourful umbrellas suspended from the ceiling.
The effect is quite mesmerising; paired with the neon signs on the walls and behind the bars, the interior of Bibimbap is, above all, unique, emulating the bustling city lights of South Korea.
Korean food is something that we in Glasgow are somewhat lacking, although the introduction of Kimchi Cult and Silla in recent years were welcome ones, so it is nice to see the small city centre restaurant expanding into the West End, this time bringing with it the spectacle of the Korean BBQ.
In order to experience the Korean BBQ, you must be seated at one of six tables that are fitted with a central hot plate. The idea is that all of your meat is cooked on the grill in front of you. You then pile slices of pork belly, beef short rib, king oyster mushrooms and pork neck onto lettuce leaves along with a range of sides including kimchi, spicy green onion salad, soybean paste and fresh garlic and chilli.
It’s very much a hands-on experience and, although a member of staff was there to cook and chop our food for us, it lacked some of the theatre of say, a teppanyaki station. Traditionally with Korean BBQ, you would be required to cook the meat yourself, but here that element is taken away – whether to its detriment is open to debate.
In terms of the quality of the food on offer, the beautifully tender pork neck was the highlight of the BBQ, and the sides, particularly the spicy green onion salad and the soybean paste, were packed with flavour.
Keen to experience both sides of the story, we decided to order a few dishes from the main menu as well. The Korean Fried Chicken is not to be missed – both perfectly tender and deliciously crisp – served with a moreish spicy yum yum sauce. The dumplings too are showstoppers in both their vegetarian and pork and kimchi variations and at every turn the staff were incredibly attentive and happy to advise us on menu choices – they even discouraged us from ordering the BBQ for four people, claiming, rightfully so, that two portions would be enough alongside everything else we ordered.
What I love about Bibimbap West is its vibrancy, both in terms of its décor and its food, there are still a list of dishes I am desperate to go back and sample – in particular their namesake. I hope, more than anything, that it has better luck than the many previous tenants of 2 Partick Bridge Street and it is here to stay – lets hope that umbrella theory is just a myth!