The one-way system around Centre Point has few redeeming features, but one is that the swirl of traffic created a DMZ around W1’s mini Koreatown; few braved this hostile exclusion zone. As a result, for decades the cluster of caffs on St Giles High Street has only been sought out by Korean students and other fans of rock-bottom-priced East Asian food. At Seoul Bakery, you could get a bowl of bibimbap (stir-fried rice and veg) for a mere £3.50 – and you had the bonus of studying the walls, covered in cutesy Post-it note messages and doodles from diners, as a free bonus.
But now Seoul Bakery, Assa, Po Cha and Woo Jung have all closed, victims of the rapid development around Tottenham Court Road tube station as the Crossrail project continues apace. So what are cash-strapped fans of Korean food to do now? If time is no object, then New Malden near Kingston in Surrey is the place for hunting both bargains and quality in Korean cafés and restaurants. Failing that, you’ll need to fork out a bit more for London’s best Korean restaurants.
By Guy Dimond