This Korean restaurant lives underground right next door to Holborn tube station. The decor and location are perhaps the most interesting things about it as on our trip we found the food to be woefully tedious.
We ordered a selection of meat, fish and vegetable dishes. The waitress tried her best to be informative, warning us that Yuk Hwae was raw beef and that one of the dishes we ordered was very spicy. The wine list was laughably poor so we ordered [link2post id=”1523″]Korean beer[/link2post]. Sadly, when the food arrived it was as lack-lustre as the cold February night we were hiding from.
The Yuk Hwae was perhaps the most disappointing of the dishes. This is Korean steak tartare, billed as the world’s best steak tartare. Strips of raw beef served with, in this case, sesame oil, grated garlic, an egg yolk and Asian pear. Not only was it served too cold, but it is was inadequately spiced with far too much pear. In this state it tasted of little beyond the pear. It needed more garlic or chili in order to perk it up and could certainly have done with far less pear. When it warmed up the beef had some taste, but it was still exceptionally dull.
The raw skate in chili sauce was the dish we had been warned was very spicy. I wish it had been. It tasted of little beyond sesame oil and the lumps of skate cartilage were distractingly chewy. Another depressing dish. We also ordered some a monk fish dish, which came with worryingly little monk fish for the fifteen pounds charged for it. Some hand-made pork dumplings were acceptable, but my local Chinese take-away does them better. The tempura-style prawns were also acceptable, but frighteningly expensive for only four, boring prawns. Another boring dish was some cold strips of squid that were reasonably tender, but seemed to have been cooked so as to remove all character.
We did get a selection of the Korean speciality pickled vegetables Kim Chee. These ranged from the incredibly dull (radish Kim Chee) to the actively unpleasant (cabbage Kim Chee). The first bite is with the eye, so it is said, so I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised these were awful as they looked like congealed vomit.
The food was so boring we couldn’t bring ourselves to finish it all up; the staff looked rather surprised by this. They have had a number of good reviews recently so perhaps they were expecting us to wet ourselves with pleasure simply for getting a table. Sadly, the food was mind-meltingly tedious and so our moods deteriorated to ‘stunningly depressed’ as the meal progressed. By the end we were both incredibly eager to get out of there and even thought about going to a decent sushi place near by to cheer ourselves up. Unfortunately, the boring rubbish they called a meal was so frighteningly expensive that our budget for the evening was spent. The problem with this was not that it was bad, but that it was incredibly boring; I’d rather be offended than bored. It was a depressingly dull meal and I can only say that Asadal is deeply sub-interest.