I should blame this next review on Netflix. Since they added so many Korean Drama and movies to their selection, i have been spending too many hours Keeping up with the KDrama.
After a lazy afternoon spent watching hours of Kdrama on Netflix, i was craving for Korean food (You know the feeling!). I needed a Kimchi fix, so i thought it would be a good opportunity to visit the Korean restaurant next door for a review. Tohbang is located two minutes away from my place and the feedback i have heard so far are pretty encouraging.
Tohbang is a Korean restaurant located near the Farringdon tube station on 164 Clerkenwell Road.
As explained on their website the meaning of the name Tohbang is literally Larder: “In the olden days it came to signify a rich store of culinary pleasures – wealth which was denied to most people, and to which only the mistress of the house held the key. “
The aim of Tohbang is to serve authentic and honest Korean food. They serve most of the Korean specialities you can think of such as Bulgogi, Galbi, Pa Jeon, Kimchi or TteokBokki. We should, hopefully, be far away from the Kimchee fast food chain in terms of taste.
Tohbang is managed by Korean staff (which is a good guarantee), and i have been recommended this restaurant several time by Korean people (extra guarantee!). Regarding the dining room, there is a good capacity and the atmosphere inside is really nice. Good decoration, softened light, not noisy, perfect for a dinner with friends or a date with your new Korean lover.
The menu at Tohbang is based on traditional Korean cuisine. They offer plenty of choices from the most well-known dishes such as the delicious Korean Pancake (Pa Jeon, Kimchi Jeon and several other variations); Korean fried dumplings (Goon Mandoo and Yache Mandoo). Tohbang also offers the classic Bulgogi preparation (whether it is Chicken, Beef or Pork); the delightful chicken Kanpoonggi or even Bo Ssam a Korean speciality of boiled pork served with cabbage, marinated radish and a chilli sauce.
In addition to the usual Korean dishes mentioned above, Tohbang also has on the menu several Big Broth options such as Jeongol and Jigae. They are Korean-style hot pot dishes that you can order Small or Large. The serving is quite big (hence the name) and it is something you would share with the whole table (I am definitely keen to try this one next time!). The Big Broth can be served with assorted Seafood, Kimchi, pork, beef or even dumplings.
As with every Korean restaurant nowadays, Tohbang also has a Barbecue menu with all type of meats and preparations.
Tohbang also has a very competitive Lunch set menu for £6.90 and you can choose from several main and side dishes. If you work around the Clerkenwell area it is something i would recommend you to try.
My review of Tohbang:
I visited Tohbang on a Saturday late afternoon around 6:30 pm. The perfect time to fill your belly before going for a night out with the team.
After a look at the menu, i decided that i would go for a mix of several small dishes as a starter; And then try something different from the usual Bulgogi, Kanpoongi or Galbi as a main. I decided to keep it healthy and go for a fresh Yookhoe (Yukhoe).
The starter was composed of:
A plate of pickled Kimchi, Cucumber and Radish. The Kimchi was really good, not spicy enough for my taste but a good deepness as well as a slightly sour taste. I could eat that Kimchi all day long while watching Kdrama.
Regarding the cucumber and Radish, i am not sure there is much to say about it; They were fresh and had a good texture, nice seasoning as well.
The fried potato on the side (was it even fried potato?) was not really hot, tasteless, and the texture was not that great. The pickled veggies composed of a mix of onion, pepper and aubergine were too oily and a bit fade for my taste.
Then came the Agedashi tofu :
The Agedashi Tofu is, in reality, a Japanese dish made of deep fried tofu cubes served in a savoury dashi broth. Agedashi Tofu is a must when it is well prepared and it says a lot about the chef’s skills. It’s all about the texture, crispy on the outside and soft inside.
The Agedashi Tofu served at Tohbang was perfectly prepared and cooked. It was served at the right temperature, still hot, crispy and tender at the same time. The dashi broth was a perfect match for this tofu, light and tasty, a must try.
Then came the main dish, the Yukhoe:
The Yukhoe is the Korean equivalent of a steak tartare for the French. It is a dish composed of seasoned raw beef served with a raw yolk egg and sliced Korean pear. Only the most tender parts of the beef are used for this dish. The way to eat it is quite simple, mix the whole ingredients together and enjoy yourself with a tasty and fresh treat. (Disclaimer: One thing to consider with this dish, you’d better have it served at a clean and proper restaurant; This mix can be poisonous if not deadly if the ingredients are not super fresh and well prepared.)
Thankfully, the Yukhoe served at Tohbang is superb. Really tasty, super fresh, well seasoned. The mix of the raw beef, the egg yolk and the pear give a delightful combination in the mouth. The meat is super tender, the pear adds a sweet taste to it, one word: Yummy!
Concerning the service at Tohbang, the team of Korean waiters were friendly, efficient and helpful (my waiter had the attention to ask me if i knew how to eat Yukhee). You also have a button on each table to ring the waiters when you need them (quite useful).
Price: At £27.50 for a combination of starter, a main dish and a Korean Tea, the bill was not cheap, nor expensive. Good price for value. In addition to that, i would highlight the fact that Tohbang offers attractive and competitive menu-set but you need to be two person to order them (unfortunately for me that day i was on my own! Where are you foodie friends when you need them…?).
Overall, My visit at Tohbang was great, they managed to take care of my craving for Kimchi, and the food was really good, both the Kimchi, fried Tofu and Yukhoe say a lot about the quality of the cuisine there.
I will certainly visit Tohbang again after my next Kdrama session; I have already spotted quite a few interesting dishes that i want to try on their menu.
Tohbang is an honest Korean Restaurant, serving great food in a nice atmosphere.
Great place to bring your date or for a dinner with friends.
Lots of interesting choice in the menu.
Taste : 4/5
Price for value : 3/5
The Restaurant : 4/5
164 Clerkenwell road, London, EC1R 5DU
tel: 020 7278 8674
Opening Hours :
- Monday to Friday : 12:00 – 15:00 / 18:00 – 23:00
- Saturday : 18:00 – 23:00
- Sunday: closed