Dotori – Finsbury Park

Despite being very tasty, and in my humble opinion not too ‘exotic’, I’m very surprised people (food bloggers excluded) don’t seem to eat a lot of Korean food in London.  There are far fewer Korean restaurants than, say Thai or Vietnamese.  I really loved Koba when I went there for their lunch special, but I every time I mention it to non foodies, I’m met with blank stares and sometimes fear over Korean cuisine, and that’s a shame.

I have a couple Korean restaurants on my list to try, but Dotori was a spur of the moment decision – one of those ‘I feel like Korean, where’s nearby?’ times. After the boy and I bowled a game at Ten Pin in Finsbury Park on a random rainy Sunday, I decided Korean was the way to go for dinner. Lo and behold, the closest Korean restaurant (well, half Korean, half Japanese) was across the street. Fate.

I had high hopes when I did a quick search for reviews and found that Douglas from Intoxicating Prose really liked it, but a week after my meal, and I’m still not sure how I feel.

The meal started out with an absolutely gorgeous Seafood and Spring Onion pancake.

This is what it’s all about, folks. Crispy/fluffy dough with perfectly fried squid.  The portion was more than generous. Coupled with a side of super funky (read: perfect) kimchi, the meal looked full of promise.

Our bibimbap arrived shortly after, and our server offered to mix the ingredients as soon as the sizzling bowl was set down.  I hesitated, as I generally like bibimbap to sit a little bit for the rice to properly crisp in the hot stone bowl (and also to get a pre-mix picture!), but I didn’t want to be that person, so I kept quiet.

It would have been a mistake anyway, but regardless of a ‘mixing strategy’ the bibimbap didn’t live up to expectations.  First off, there was no egg. Second, the gochuchang was bland and a bit runny – not at all paste-like. And finally, the rice – as well as not being particularly crispy – was off. Odd thing to say because I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong, but, with the runny gochuchang, it was almost like risotto.  The whole thing was a bit of a mess.

Much better was the Barbecue Pork:

This dish served with a lovely ginger paste and lettuce wraps was bursting with flavour. The pork was succulent and very lean, not too oily or greasy. Just right.

When I think about 3 out of the 4 things we had were excellent, but that one strike against the bibimbap, a staple of any Korean menu is something that’s left me feeling a bit cool towards Dotori.

Dotori on Urbanspoon

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5 comments

  1. How funny – I happened to eat at Dotori for the first time last weekend after spending the morning in Finsbury Park. Like you, I “felt like” Korean, and although everyone around us seemed to be eating sushi, we were happy with the pajeong. Jon ordered a marinated beef dolsot bibimbap which turned out to be inferior to my raw beef dolsot bibimbap because mine was served with a raw egg. So perhaps try for the raw beef one next time.

    I thought it was pretty good, but not as delish (or generous) as the one served at Young Bean near the Barbican. (I wouldn’t order anything else at Young Bean other than the dolsot bibimbap, though).

  2. Ahh – but I did go for the raw beef (the only way to eat bibimbap!). I think they just forgot the egg. It’s a real shame.

    I’ll definitely try out Young Bean though. I hadn’t come across that one. Thanks!

  3. Hi there – thanks for the mention. Sorry it didn’t deliver fireworks. I don’t know your heritage, but, as I think I mentioned in my review, I think I reaped the benefits of taking a Korean to a Korean restaurant. Perhaps its less of an intriguing experience for a pasty caucasian(!)

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