It’s one of those long, thin spaces near Central Station that offer a specific type of cuisine to attract your attention. To stand out from near counterparts, the aspiring hip hangouts add a quirky and cool veneer to their dining room and hope to spark a food craving.
New kid on the block, Bibimbap Glasgow takes its name from Korea’s favourite comfort food. Find them at the bottom of West Nile Street, a space previously occupied by the Riverhill restaurant.
Brief Wikipedia moment and we can move on: the word Bibimbap means “mixed rice”. It is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste), soy sauce, or doenjang (a fermented soybean paste). Here, a fried egg and beef are added. More on that later.
Things we like: They’ve settled in quickly and it already feels comfortable, somewhere to relax. There’s an attractive cocktails, sake and beats offering for the evening, or afternoons if you wish. Bar space attracts attention.
Lots of exotic small dishes. We spot king prawn tempura. Turns out to be a fantastic selection of oversized prawns in delicious, slightly sweet, light batter. Great start.
Onwards to the main event. The stone bowl of bibimbap arrives without ceremony with a little cup of miso soup and some hot sauce which we tentatively dab at. If you like your food spicy, dive right in.
First impressions: it is a very pretty dish. A quick stir disrupts the presentation and that’s when the ratios of ingredients are revealed.
No doubt this is an accurate recreation of the famous dish – mixed rice! It’s in the name! – but we’d like more beef on our plate. Even after making our way through the delicately cooked and flavourful top layer, there was still a lot of rice to deal with, while the meat element was an outnumbered, almost tokenistic element.
There’s ramen, tacos, African dishes, sushi, burgers and awesome donuts within a micro-jog from the front door. Make your signature dish compelling to compete. It’s almost there.
Beef it up a bit, keep the beats, bin that poster from the remake of The Karate Kid, maintain the fast and friendly service and you’ve made it on to our favourites list. Welcome to the neighbourhood.
3 West Nile Street