Saturday, 26 November 2011

Po Cha Covent Garden Korean Restaurant - a no frills eat


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Address: 56 St Giles High Street
London WC2H 8LH
Tel: 020 7379 7381
Nearest Tube station: Tottenham Court Road

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: Below £10pp
Service charge: N/A
Taste: ***
Service: ***
Ambience: **
It's funny how far one has to walk for a simple meal. Especially when you are in the middle of Soho surrounded by restaurants and eateries. I blame it on the timing - MC and I were stranded outside National Gallery after a failed bid to get into the Leonardo da Vinci's exhibition at Sainsbury Wing. We didn't fancy waiting for half a day just to get in; instead we decided to walk around a bit before grabbing lunch.

Ducksoup along Dean Street wasn't open for business yet, Cote Brasserie was packed, so was Princi. Rasa Sayang Express looked a bit dingy and the noodle place MC brought me to had closed down. We ended up at Centre Point after a mini tour of Soho.

The mere mention of Centre Point brought two things to mind - the Centre Point Food Store and a bunch of eateries seating opposite it across the bus terminal. Few tourists if any venture here - Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square are enough for them. For that reason, Po Cha was packed with locals when MC and I walked in just around noon time.

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Po Cha isn’t exactly a hole in the wall but it’s not far from that either. It is cosy for one with tables lined up right side by side. You could literally listen in to the conversation on the next table and that is if you haven’t accidently elbowed them while manueveouring your chopsticks. Else you could sit on the bar counter instead. Even then, it can get quite cram.

Space isn’t the only thing Po Cha is economic about. The same can be said to its one page menu spartanly organized into noodles, rice, mains and beverages. All items go for £6.50 and ‘services’ (pickled vegetables) is complimentary.

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Po Cha's spicy pork rice

MC went for the bulgogi rice while I went for the spicy pork rice. Both dishes came soon after our orders were taken. After Wife and I stop heading to Korean Kitchen, we haven’t really tried Korean cuisine. While Po Cha’s spicy pork rice wasn’t the most inspiring, I find it rather palatable. It was more sweet than spicy and if you are looking for kimchi flavoured pork, you would be sorely disappointed for “it didn’t taste of kimchi” as MC put it. Likewise, MC’s bulgolgi rice was sweet as well, perhaps a tad too sweet for my liking.

Almost immediately after we emptied our plates, a staff came over and proceeded to clear our table. “Oh, I don’t mean to rush you. It’s just that I want to give you more space,” he reassured us. If so, they have a strange way of doing that – the bill was pushed onto our table the moment he was done clearing the table. Subtlety isn’t their forte. Otherwise, the staff were rather pleasant and prompt in their services.

A queue was gradually building outside Po Cha as we left a moment later. Po Cha clearly appeals to the younger crowd; I felt positively ancient amongst its customers. One thing is for sure though – Po Cha does give the chop shops at Chinatown a run for their money. That’s if the hungry souls are willing to make their way to Centre Point.

Po Cha on Urbanspoon


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