trying to eat dinner on a friday night in soho without out having to queue for at least half an hour is virtually impossible. o and i tried byron, busaba, wahaca and dong san in poland street but with no luck. eventually i dived into the nearest newsagent to get a snack whilst o called up colbeh to see how long the wait would be. it was a curt phone call that ended in no luck there either. at this point o was ready to give up and go home but i wasn't. i was thinking of places where we could eat in islington when o suddenly suggested goodge street.
we did a quick recce of charlotte street and goodge street eventually settling on koba. we were seated promptly after being told that we had our table till half nine. koba is bare simplicity and the staff are excellent and attentive. we started with dehydrated hand wipes. the tiny capsule sized compressed napkin grew about an inch in hot water after which we used it to clean our hands.
my fondness for korean food is recent. i first ate it when my dad introduced me to it in pakistan in the late nineties and at that point i didn't take to the mix of sweet and salty or to the sharpness of pickle and the heavy slick of garlic that some dishes have. now i love trying it and wish i had someone to talk me through the cuisine and where i can find authentic korean in london.
i picked a pajeon to start with. it is best described as a thick pancake made with rice flour, green onions and sea food. koba's pajeon came piping hot and had a light melt in the mouth texture. there was a generous amount of shrimp in it. the dipping sauce that came with it was slightly sweet. o and i polished this of rather quickly.
i had japchae as my entree as i love noodles. the noodles in japchae are made of sweet potato cornstarch and are the colour of glass when cooked. texturally, they are slightly chewy. i love the meeting of sweet and savoury in this dish with a hint of sesame and the crunch of vegetable. the thinly sliced beef made it quite substantial. o had one of the bibimbaps which came in a hot stone bowl and was given a furious stir by our waiter when o agreed to some chilli.
on the side o had beer whilst i had ginger tea which aside from being liberally sweetened with honey was made even more interesting with the addition of some pine nuts in it. i'd definitely like to come back to koba but the next time for the bulgogi and korean barbecue.
for dessert o and i popped into yog. this was to make up for o's snog craving which he had been deprived of since we couldn't find a place to eat in soho. we had the pom yog as there was no chocolate yog. i have to say i had to search for the flavour of pomegranate which to me was evident only in the pale purple-pink tint of the yoghurt. it tasted more like a plain frozen yoghurt to me and if i think of it as such it was good, especially with the chocolate coated seeds.