BI-WON: GET ONE FREE
Well, no we actually didn’t get one free, but how sweet a title would that have been if we did? What we did get was a very decent lunch of well-prepared Korean food for around £10 a head, so sue me.
It’s that time post Christmas where belts are being tightened and, added to the credit crunch, my chum and food writer, William Leigh was begging for an option cheap enough to save him from turning to gay porn and a situation where he might become imprisoned by Boy George. Being the good chum that I am and not wanting him to go GFP, my research brought us to Bi-Won, a small but tidy little restaurant on Coptic St, minutes from The British Museum.
Alongside a large normal menu, including some appealing looking BBQ dishes, Bi-Won offers a bargain selection of lunchtime plates from which we chose my own particular favourite, Bi Bim Bap and a Chigae (spicy bean curd) soup for William. We supplemented them with a plate of kim chi, upon the quality of which every Korean restaurant must be judged and Mandu, their own take on the gyoza.
The Kimchi struck me as a little muted as if it had been toned down so not to scare whitey. But, the mandu were excellent, moist filling inside light dumpling crust with a slight crunch from a brief moment in the frying pan.
Likewise the Bi Bim Bap was a very decent example of the art of stuff in a hot bowl. Hot enough in fact that the rice in touch with the base, as it should, scorched to form a pleasing crunchy crust that had William looking over with slightly green eyes as he enjoyed his spicy soup about as much as anyone can enjoy a dish made with bean curd.
As we finished our meal and paid our bill, a paltry £22 including a cup of ginseng tea, we noticed a procession of staggeringly gorgeous women wandering by each with a map in their hand. We decided from their blank looks that they were obviously models looking for a nearby casting call. That parade of lovelies alone might have been a reason to return to Bi-Won, but in the current climate, I think a decent £11 lunch is even an more attractive proposition.