*** UPDATE: As of April 2015, Old Justice at Bermondsey has now closed down. But the owner has opened a new restaurant in a more central location: K Place, 1 St Mary at Hill, London EC3R 8EE. Watch this space for a review soon!
Yes, there is a Korean BBQ buffet place in London and this post is not suitable for vegetarians… Our friends have often spoken about this place and Korean pub/restaurant, Old Justice has been around long before Gangnam Style made it big and remain as the only Korean pub in the UK. Based 5 minutes away from Bermondsey underground station, we tried to find a few reviews of the restaurant before making the trek south of the river. We’re going to be honest, we were a bit hesitant as there were some good reviews but also some very off-putting reviews. But our friends have always highly recommended it so what’s the worst that could happen right? The bad reviews mainly referred to the lack of service, things not being available and a few terrifying comments about the kimchi tasting off. So we decided to go on a Saturday evening, a night all restaurateurs expect to be busy and most profitable, so they should be prepared right? We called up, made a booking (tel: 07949 089673) and headed off expecting the worst but we are very very glad to report, although it was a bit strange stepping into a traditional English pub with Kpop music playing in the background and Korean grills on the table, we were pleasantly surprised.
The Review – RESTAURANT NOW CLOSED DOWN
Old Justice – Facebook page Address: 94 Bermondsey Wall East London SE16 4TY (closest tube – Bermondsey, Jubilee line) Tel: 07949 089673
The buffet consisted of: Starters ~ Kimchi, Pajeon (Korean fried pancake) and mussels.
Main ~ All you can eat meat for the Korean BBQ with a small serving of vegetables, salad and lettuce for wrapping. Rice and soup is also included but you will need to order this as they won’t automatically give it to you
Price ~ £18.99 per person (please note a service charge will be added to your bill)
*please note the following photos show the portions given to a party of two
Lets start with the starters, the pajeons were crisp and delicious, the mussels were nicely cooked although a bit on the small side but we weren’t really bothered as we were there for the meat. Each table had a grill and the first lot of meat (beef and pork) was brought out to us on a metal tray with foil. You then cook the meat on the tray placed on top of the grill and the foil will be regularly changed so you don’t end up with nasty burnt on bits and it’s like a new grill every time. The waitress’ English wasn’t great so we don’t know for definite what the cuts of meat were but in general, meat is good. We’re hearty carnivores so we just asked the waitress for more beef or pork and see what they brought us. Some of the cuts we managed to figure out were pork belly, something they called beef blade and sliced rib eye steak. We weren’t ever offered any other animal though so we think there is only beef and pork available for the buffet. The meats weren’t marinated and we relied heavily on the sauce and kimchi to add flavour (btw, why not try adding some kimchi on the grill? You’re welcome). The fillet steak was a bit tough but that might just be our
lack of cooking skills. The thin cuts of beef were amazing though. It would have been helpful if there was a list of the different cuts of meat available making it easier to order. But the waitress was lovely and you can’t go wrong really. Getting to cook your own meat is actually really fun and it didn’t actually take that long.
We asked for more lettuce for wrapping and kimchi but was told there would be an extra charge. So we asked for the kimchi only which was only £1.95 (btw the kimchi was good, we were happy to pay for more) but then we noticed that other people were getting extra wrapping lettuce so we think there was a slight misunderstanding and the chef actually meant the kimchi was extra charge. But we were OK, we just ate more meat which came quite quickly. Old Justice is split into 2 sections, we were in the front section with around 6 BBQ tables and were looked after by 2 people. The Old Justice really is a strange eatery, it was full on traditional English pub from the outside to the interiors, the only thing Korean about this place was the Kpop playing in the background. At first, with only 3 tables of customers it felt a bit quiet as it’s quite a small room and the Kpop was only just audible but as everyone’s food started arriving, the atmosphere became very cosy and comfortable. As mentioned before, the waitress’ English was not great but she was very friendly and attentive and she understood “more meat” which was the important part of the evening. Then there was another guy who was dressed like a hip hop chef and spoke good English. Before we got there we were most worried about the service, we were scared we would be left sitting alone most of the time and having to beg for more meat. Although hip hop chef and the waitress were very busy and constantly running about, they would come to our tables regularly to ensure we were all OK. There was also a moment where the waitress came running out fearing she had left us alone for too long but all 5 tables including us were happily chomping away. So we were quite happy with the service and realised we were worrying over nothing. Old Justice had other options on the menu which you can see on their Facebook page HERE but we went purely for the buffet so can’t comment, but the pajeon in the starter was very tasty. Overall depending on your meat consumption, £18.99 is not a bad price and they’re not stingy as they kept asking if we wanted more. Drinks were standard London prices (£2.50 for a can of coke), and they also had a selection of Korean drinks available as well as Asian beers and a few fruity ciders. In the end it cost around £55 for two buffets, three drinks, and extra portion of kimchi and the service charge. The food is good for a buffet place and it’s fun to be able to grill your own food just like in the Korean dramas. We would have liked to try a few more different cuts of meat as it was quite difficult to order but we left with satisfied bellies. We had a fun night and will definitely consider going back, the only thing really stopping us this time being the trek to Bermondsey. So don’t let the bad reviews scare you away from a fun and very satisfying buffet. When we left we also spotted these Korean picnic tables outside which must be cool for chilling out on a warm summer’s evening. And we just wanted to add, we don’t really recommend walking all the way from London Bridge as it’s a bit of a trek but it does work up quite an appetite. It is a pleasant and scenic walk but there were also a lot of tourists you have to constantly dodge and the overall walk took us around 40 minutes and we were starving.