Each table has its own grill, and vents hang down like lamps to suck up every last wisp of smoke. And though the table BBQ is the main event, there's an enticing and broad selection of appetisers. The Tofu Kimchi is smokey and cut through with rich, salty chunks of pork and the pan-fried Patterned Rice Cakes are crispy then chewy.
Then comes the BBQ. You can pick one dish to grill or go all out with a selection, of meat seafood or both. The signature Koba BBQ Selection is a vast platter loaded with raw meat and fish. Rib eye, beef spare rib, pork belly, spicy chicken, prawn, baby octopus and vegetables. At £35 for two sharing it's steep — but generous on meat, though surprisingly stingy with the vegetables.
We'd looked forward to taking over the prongs and playing at being master-chefs. But the ever attentive staff take charge of the BBQ. At first it's a novelty having the meat grilled for you. But you then have to keep up with the pace at which meats are cooked and you face regular interruptions as the staff lean over you to flip chicken fillets.
The marinaded beef is a highlight and when wrapped in lettuce leaves, in traditional Korean style, the BBQ is fresher and crisper than our Western version, though we would have liked more a selection of dipping sauces and kimchi to liven up the wraps.
As you have to buy sides of lettuce and rice to accompany the meat and fish, it gets pricey. But Koba is certainly an interesting experience and a stylish showcase of Korean cuisine.
|What||Koba restaurant review|
|Where||Koba, 11 Rathbone Street , London, W1T 1NA | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Tottenham Court Road (underground)|
15 Feb 16 – 15 Feb 18, Open from Monday to Saturday for lunch from 12pm to 2.45pm and for dinner from 6pm to 10.45pm. Open for dinner on Sunday from 6pm to 10.45pm
|Price||£10 - £50|