Naru – a little bit of Korea located in the West End

Naru

230 Shaftesbury Ave

London

WC2H 8EG

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I’m currently at the stage in life where I am celebrating a lot of 30th’s. I’m finding these to be quite fascinating affairs which become humorous for a variety of reasons but mostly because the vibe is dictated by the mood of the guest of honour. You get those who absolutely dread the occasion and will avoid the discussion of said age at all costs, then you get those who are in a reflective mood who avoid the discussion of what little they have achieved in life at all costs and then you also get those who are out to ring in the new decade in style and will avoid the discussion of what happened on their 30th birthday at all costs. In addition, there is the incredible array of presents which give you a real insight into where that person is in life at the moment whether it be travel vouchers for a trip around the world or, and I am absolutely not joking here, a bed.

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Recently, I found myself at a 30th where the hostess requested a thermomix for her birthday. What an amazing piece of machinery! I’m in awe of its versatility! But this is neither here nor there so I will get back to the point of this blog. At this particular gathering, I got to speaking with a fellow guest I’d never met before. Here is a snippet of the conversation:

Guest: “So you read any good books recently?”

KS: “Nope.”

Guest: “Seen any good movies?”

KS: “Nope.”

Guest: “Seen anything good on TV?”

KS: “Does re-runs of Friends count?”

Guest: “No.”

KS: “Then nope.”

If you’re still with me now, I swear the food related piece in coming up.

So finding myself lacking some much needed culture (and a conversation piece), I got my sorry ass to War Horse with some gentle persuasion from T. I haven’t stopped talking about it since. It’s as if it’s the only thing I’ve ever done in my life (which isn’t far from the truth).

Being cultural though works up an appetite (“Finally” I hear you say. Thanks for reading this far). Tonight, I felt like Korean and in the West End, you can’t go far wrong with Naru. It’s a neat little restaurant with limited capacity of no more than 50 max. The times I’ve been, the food has always been great and you always get service with a smile albeit they still need to strike a balance between giving people space and also being attentive.

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On this occasion, T got the beef bi bim bap which doesn’t come as a surprise because I don’t think she has ever had anything but bi bim bap from a Korean restaurant. I am beginning to fear she actually thinks it IS Korean cuisine but I jest, I am sure that is not the case…anyway, the bi bim bap looked beautiful; it was like staring at a rainbow. Importantly, it also tasted delicious, the beef being very well marinated and the accompanying sauce tangy and sweet. I would recommend ordering a second helping of sauce though as the initial portion they gave left the dish a bit lacking in taste. Big props to them for heating the stone bowl enough so you get that nice crispy layer where the rice meets the bowl. Who needs chips? This dish was also accompanied by a seaweed soup which was seasoned with sesame and pepper (a lot of pepper). Give it a go if it’s your thing but no big loss if you skip it.

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Being slightly more adventurous, I decided to go for the boluji lettuce wrap. Those who know street trader Kimchinary will know that boluji is a delicious slow cooked beef with a Korean sauce. Naru’s boluji, cooked with onions and carrots, was fantastic with the meat just a tiny bit over-seasoned so that the flavour of the meat was retained when wrapped in the bland lettuce leaf. The accompanying bean curd sauce was the perfect complement to the dish and added a bit more saltiness if you thought that was required. The only problem was that there wasn’t enough but I find I run into that problem a lot. Maybe it is just me. Yea it’s probably just me.

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All up, a fine meal up to the high quality which I have come to expect now from this place. There’s no doubt I’ll be back again in the near future, probably the next time I go to a show after making a dick of myself to a complete stranger again.

By the way, have you seen War Horse…?

KS

Naru Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon Square Meal

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