A restaurant that has photographs of its food in the menu is usually one to avoid, but in the case of little Oshibi, tucked down a hard to find yard off Walmgate, they have an excuse. It’s Korean and trying to explain Saewoo Bokkeumbap and Kimchi Jigae to a table full of Yorkies probably takes far too long. Even so, having never been closer to South Korea than the west coast of Japan, we needed more than photographs to help us choose some typical dishes.
The genial owners of this simple family-run restaurant, recently relocated from Goodramgate, helped us out. Bibimap with Bulgogi beef was just the thing he said. A typical Korean dish of rice, vegetables and strips of marinated beef, it arrived in a generous cast iron pot and with instructions to toss it all together and amalgamate the flavours. It was good, comfort food, the tender strips of beef mixing with the rice, sesame and soy with the odd crunch of a courgette in there. With it came a tiny pot of kimchi the Korean national dish of preserved cabbage, and a few sweetened black beans. The kimchi added a sour note, the black beans a touch of sweet.
Yang Nyum was the next recommendation: crisp battered prawns in a sweet chilli sauce and if that sounds like a Chinese takeaway fare, these crisp coated prawns and the good – not over sweet – chilli sauce, delivered a superior version. Our final dish of chicken noodles was still bubbling in a pot with tender slices of marinated chicken and more of those Asian flavours.
The deliveries of Korean beer had been delayed so we settled for Czech beer and Korean tea. Barley tea, ubiquitous across Korea, is made with toasted barley and had a soothing, nutty flavour and for good measure they brought us a pot of rice tea to try, traditionally made by pouring boiling water onto the burnt leftover rice in the pot. It tasted better than it sounds. Nice find.