Posted 31st August 2013
I have actually been to Surakhan about four times now and it has become one of those go-to restaurants, when you want something reasonably priced, different and satisfying. Just, whatever you do, don’t let the most insane window display I have ever seen put you off!
If you have walked along Park Row, you will know what I’m talking about. The window is adorned with plastic versions of the Korean dishes inside, that wouldn’t look out of place in my niece’s toy kitchen! But believe me when I say the real thing looks and tastes a lot better than you might imagine, based purely on the window.
Inside, the restaurant is surprisingly modern and simple, providing a relaxed environment. You can either sit in comfy booths at the side, or normal tables and the drinks menu includes an impressive collection of Asian beers, including my favourite (not Korean I know) Singha.
Testament to the food is the fact that Surakhan has won Best Asian restaurant in the Bristol Good Food Awards for two years running. The menu is small, but interesting and true to its Korean roots and if you aren’t sure what to order the staff are always happy to make recommendations.
I have tried a few of the dishes now, but my favourites remain the kimchi pancakes and garlic and pepper yangneom chicken to start, followed by their speciality, Dolsot-bibimpap with bulgogi.
The pancakes are rich and have a delicious crunch from the addition of carrots and beansprouts as well as the distinctive tang that comes from the kimchi. The chicken is essentially the best version of KFC you have ever tried. Crisp coating, covered in a hot, sweet sauce that is so moreish that before I knew it my boyfriend had devoured about six in five minutes!
The Dolsot-bimpimpap is definitely the entertaining choice! Rice, meat and veg comes out in a sizzling hot pot, with an egg cracked in the middle. The waiter then adds chilli sauce and uses your chopsticks to mix the dish at the table. It is really tasty, particularly with bulgogi, which is marinated beef. If you want something a bit dryer I also recommend the Bimpimpap, which comes with a fried egg rather than raw egg mixed in to piping hot rice. Both have the distinctive combination of sweet and salty flavours and can be as hot or as mild as you like.
The verdict? Tasty, good value (mains are around £10.99) food, perfect for when you are looking for something a bit different. Well deserved award winners, just ignore the window display!
Surakhan Korean restaurant
52 Park Row, Clifton
t. 0117 929 0806