Arang – Restaurant Review

Restaurant Review: ArangA/R/A/N/G
9 Golden Square
020 7434 2073
Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Pricing: Most set lunch menu prices around £7-8, side dishes around £2 (other prices varies accordingly)
Menu: Can be seen here
Hours: Mon-Sat 12pm-1.30am, Sun 12.00pm-10.30pm
Reservation? Yes

This larger than expected restaurant is set in Golden Square, a great location that’s easy to get to and has lots going on around it. You can see from the outside that it has a spacious interior, and upon entering you can see that the décor has a somewhat traditional Korean feel to it – there is a lot of wood panelling and dotted about are some traditional decorations. There’s also an extra area downstairs that I saw that looked like a closed of VIP type area, and on the ground floor, there’s a back area that can be reserved for parties for up to 20 people. This is particularly handy as if you’re a frequent visitor to Korean restaurants, you’ll know that getting a reservation for a lot of people is often hard as the establishments are often small.

My friend had reserved a table for us at around 2pm for lunch, but at this time there were quite a few tables left to eat at, so I wouldn’t say reservations are necessary for lunch. I can’t say how busy it is in the evening though, as it was my first visit here.

Looking at the menu I can definitely say one thing – you won’t be short of choice here. You have a set lunch menu, soups, sides, casseroles, noodles, BBQ at your table and much more. You might be a bit overwhelmed when you first open the menu as there’s so much choice, but have a good look at what’s on offer and you’ll be sure to find something that will suit everyone.

My friend talked me through the set lunch menu, telling me what we should try. We settled for bossam (보쌈) – steamed pork with kimchi and miso soup, dumpling, kimchi, seasoned vegetables fruit with steamed rice or fried rice, kimchi bogumbap (김치복음밥) – kimchi fried rice with pork & fried egg, pickle radish with soup, and tuigim udong (튀김 우동) – noodle in seafood stock soup with deep fried prawn, vegetable.

One dumpling already eaten, who's the culprit!

One dumpling already eaten, who’s the culprit!

The sides to the bossam came before the main dishes arrived, but couldn’t wait for them and started eating. The kimchi was good, spicier than in most places I’ve been to, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just depends on how hot you can handle you spice. I’m a fan of bean sprouts, and these were perfectly seasoned and delicious. The dumplings (mandu) were lovely too, with a slight crunch from where they’d been fried. There was also potato salad, with what I’m guessing was a seasoned mayonnaise like sauce. This was also good. Note you can see in the photo where the bbq plate is. There’s a space on each table for a bbq, something that I’d definitely want to try on another visit.

This actually looked much better than my terrible picture

This actually looked much better than my terrible picture

The first main dish I tried was the kimchi bogumbap. This was delicious. I mean addictively delicious. I could have eaten plates of it, and will definitely order this again at this restaurant, and at other places too. The flavour was well balanced, and there were lovely clumps of stuck together crispy rice, and the kimchi flavour was just the right level. The only thing I would say that could be improved is that there wasn’t much pork compared to the other added ingredients. The portion size was also very good, it was split between two people with enough for each to feel satisfied.

Restaurant Review: Arang

If I was to eat this meal again, I would’ve eaten the tuigum udong first. As I left eating this until after the kimchi fried rice, the tempura had gone a bit soggy. My mistake entirely, as the tempura looked very crisp when it arrived at first. The flavour of the tempura prawns and vegetables was still great though. The fish  stock that the soup was made from was very tasty. It turns out that noodles are my chopstick nemesis, and had to get a fork in the end. I won the noodle war however, as the fork and I successfully defeated their slipperyness. Udong noodles are known for being thick and delicious, and these were no different. They were chewy and lovely, and the flavour was perfect.

Restaurant Review: Arang

By the time I began to eat the bossum, I was feeling pretty full, so probably didn’t appreciate this the same as if I’d had an empty stomach. My friend showed me how to tackle this dish, as I had no idea what I was was doing.

How to construct your bossum:
Take one of the cabbage leaves, and place spicy kimchi, pork, garlic and chilis (to taste), sauces (watch out how much you put on, taste them first, I went a bit crazy with them), and rice, then wrap up. Enjoy trying to stuff it your mouth all at once! I really enjoyed the spicy kimchi in this dish, and how the cool seasoned cabbage went with it. It was particularly fun trying to make each little roll, and this would be a great dish to share between people.

My friend and I shared a cutely cut up orange for dessert, which finished off things nicely. Overall, I’d say the kimchi fried rice was my favourite, I’ve been thinking about it ever since! A big thanks to my friend who paid the bill like a ninja when I wasn’t looking, too generous!

Report Card:
One thing I noted at this place was that the people working there were extremely polite and friendly. My friend told me the manager was talking to his staff in 존댓말 (polite speech form), showing how respectful everyone was to each other. The service was quick and efficient, and the staff were happy to carry out any requests we had. The food was all very good, and portions sizes were enough that even the hungriest person would be full. There is so much choice on this menu that you’ll have to come back again and again to make sure you don’t miss out on anything!

I give this restaurant…..

Daebak Star

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