Sad news is that a couple of friends of mine who I trained with are leaving work for a bit. Good news is, they'll both be back next year.
So, in order that they remember us and want to come back, we all went for a good old farewell meal at Ceena, just off Ludgate Circus.
Ceena is a Korean restaurant offering a fantastic variety of Korean dishes wither to take away or to be enjoyed from the comfort of a small row of sit-up chairs at the bar. They also have a tiny private dining room downstairs (which I imagine could just about squeeze nine in at a very uncomfortable pinch).
What they're best known for – and what I understand Korean food is best known for (although I confess to knowing precious little about it) is sizzling bibimbap. It's a Korean word that means, literally, mixed rice – and that's pretty much what it is.
Basically, you order up your dish, choosing from an assortment of cooked meats – I went for the barbecue beef, which turned out to be a popular and good choice. Your meal then comes to you in a gigantic stone pot that has clearly been in the oven for a few hours as it sits there sizzling away throughout your meal, keeping the food hot and effectively cooking the raw egg that comes with it.
The dish itself is a mound of rice, topped with meat, egg, and sauted vegetables. When it arrives you douse it with gochujang, a kind of red chili paste, and mix it all up like crazy. The wolf the thing down.
It was spectacular, no kidding.
Also, because it was a special meal, I got to have pudding. A rare enough treat.
What followed was the head chef's recommendation, a dish of hotteok, a small, Korean pancake filled with a brown sugar filling. The bossman described it as his childhood treat and his absolute favourite thing to have, and I can honestly see why. What's more, it was beautifully accompanied with green tea and sesame ice creams – both aesthetically stunning and whose savoury flavours were the perfect foil to the sweet pancake. Washed down with barley tea – a wonderful palate cleanser – this was the perfect end to a meal.
I am very much hoping, therefore, that when Holly and Claire return next year, we will welcome them back with a return visit…
- GrubsterBoy -