On the Shoreditch side of Old Street, there’s a tiny little Korean place called On The Bab. It’s been around for a little while now, and it’s opened branches in Covent Garden and Marylebone, so chances are you may have heard of it.
The Shoreditch branch is tiny. So tiny, in fact, that we had to queue outside the restaurant because there’s no waiting space inside. Not a problem. We’d been there many, many times before and it’s always been worth waiting for. As a vegetarian, it can be hard to find places that offer great veggie options, but On The Bab has always come out on top. My favourite dish has always been the Veggie Fritters On The Rice, it’s amazing and one of those dinners that just leaves you feeling happy afterwards.
After queuing for a little while, the Bulgarian and I got a seat inside and were handed menus. A quick scan, and I couldn’t see my beloved vegetable fritters! I asked the waiter and he told me that they’ve stopped doing the vegetable fritters and now offer mushroom fritters instead. Vom. If there’s one non-meat food that I will never touch, it’s mushrooms. As a vegetarian, unfortunately, all too many restaurants offer mushrooms as the veggie option and they’re foul.
I opted for the bibimbap instead. I’ve only ever had this dish in a dolsot, which is a stone bowl. It’s usually served piping hot, so the hot stone of the bowl actually cooks the rice as you eat it, so by the time you get to the bottom, the rice is deliciously crispy. On The Bab’s, sadly, is served in a cold metal bowl, so that yummy hotness is lacking. The food wasn’t bad, and the spicy mayo type sauce they serve on the table definitely added to the flavour, but it was nothing worth writing home about. As a general rule, I’m usually pretty reluctant to pay for food I could make at home, and this simple dish of cooked rice and cold mixed vegetables isn’t terribly complex.
It’s always fun to spend time with the Bulgarian, and going out to eat with him is one of my favourite things to do on date nights, but unfortunately, I think I’m going to have to strike On The Bab off the date night repetoire… at least until they bring back those veggie fritters. It’s always disappointing when favourite restaurants take your favourite meal off the menu, but that’s the great thing about London – there’s always somewhere new around the corner.
So farewell On The Bab, and hello to wherever’s next!