On The Bab in Covent Garden was an unexpectedly lovely find. I initially discovered On The Bab whilst browsing Time Out looking up potential foodie venues for a date I had lined up back in September. I didn't end going there on my date, but I did stop by after London fashion week. You can't make reservations but I didn't have too much trouble getting a table for two, even at dinnertime.
As soon as you walk inside On The Bab you get a good sense of the atmosphere that you're going to enjoy whilst you're there. It's busy but not over-crowded, and with the kitchen in the middle of the venue in plain sight you're also treated to the smells and sounds of the food that you're eventually going to order. We were sat towards the middle of the restaurant and I found the seating arrangements comfortable but casual, which pretty much sums up all of my favourite dining destinations.
We decided to order four dishes to share - three of which were "starter"/"side" dishes, and one "main". They all arrived as and when they were cooked, so I'd definitely recommend ordering multiple dishes to share. In the photo above you can see the first dish which arrived at the table, the Small Yangyum Chicken in Special Soy Sauce - 5 pieces (£5.50). It's really, really good - perfectly cooked chicken, with a perfectly posied outer layer that balanced a sweet stickiness with an ever-so-slightly crispy texture. You can order this dish in different sizes depending on how many of you are eating, and although five pieces was technically enough I think we both wished we'd ordered ten!
The second dish to arrive was the "main" that we ordered, the Korimari with Spicy Chicken (£9.50). Served on a large wooden platter, it consisted of a series of complexly flavoured mini-dishes as well as seaweed rolls (which very different to what I'm used to, but still delicious). I liked that this dish allowed us to try so many new things at once, and it would be the perfect sort of thing to order if you were dining solo. I don't think that any part of the platter was my favourite out of everything that we tried, but I did really enjoy the cabbage salad and the anchovies served with walnuts.
It might not look like much in my photos but the Gimgari Salad (£4.50) was absolutely delicious! I'm going to crudely interpret it for you now, I'd describe it as a vinegary salad crossed with soup. It featured a lot of liquid, in which was served shredded cabbage and friend seaweed rolls. The flavours were slightly less complex and unusual than some of the other things we tried, but I found it utterly more-ish and I'd love to go back for another bowl!
The last thing to arrive at the table was the Kun Mandu with Prawn (£3.90). These were seriously delicious dumplings - cooked really well and served with a very tasty dipping sauce. However, in terms of value, especially if you're on a budget, then I'd give these a miss and opt for the Yanyung Chicken or Gimgari Salad instead.
Overall, I really enjoyed my visit to On The Bab in Covent Garden. The venue had a lovely atmosphere and our waiter was delightful, and he was really helpful when it came to suggesting dishes that we should try. The food itself was even better than I had imagined and although the menu isn't vast there's a lot to try! I'd definitely recommend paying On The Bab a visit and I'd very much like to go back sometime soon.