I’m creeping South of the River again for my Korean fix, but seriously there’s no better place for it than the burbs of New Malden, since it’s one of the most densely populated places for South Korean residents outside of Korea (20k+ and counting). The portions are good here with rustic home style cooking made by your Korean mama in the kitchen. The decor isn’t anything to shout home about with its drop ceiling tiles, basic wooden tables & chairs, with patina’d walls needing a lick of paint – but who cares if the food is good right?
The menu is perfect for any novice Korean diner as every dish has an English name and corresponding picture. The confusing thing is though, are the random Chinese dishes on the menu. (I later find out that there is a large Chinese community in Korea and the owner is Korean-Chinese). But don’t let that dilute the spirit of it of the food here as it’s good, having Korean customers around you is always a good sign too. (Most of the time).
With any good Korean meal it has to kick-off with good banchan which are a variety of small side dishes, usually had alongside your soup or rice. And of course some bottles of Hite.
Kimchi pancake £7. Crispy as-you-like batter takes on the spices of the kimchi as you can see in the colour. That dipping sauce (choganjang) was a delectable accompaniment too; its a sesame, soy, chilli, umami thing of joy.
Fire up the grill!
Various condiments for your grilled meats – dressed spring onions, garlic, salt dredged in sesame oil, and fermented soy beans (doenjang) and of course some fresh lettuce for wrapping everything up.
Beef (Rib eye roll) £13. Don’t expect butcher-grade 45 day hung beef, but wrapped in lettuce with all the condiments it isn’t a bad bite at all. The short-rib has the edge though.
This is how you do it!
Korean braised short rib (galbijjim) £20. Rich, deeply flavoured, infused with spices, wine, garlic, ginger, soy, sugar and red dates. There are some sprinklings of pine nuts too. The meat just falls off the bone and takes on all the flavours its cooked in – I love this dish without reservation & it’s ordered every time. This is a quintessential Korean comfort dish that you have to get, or you’ll miss out!
Fried tofu £7. It’s the non-crumbly variety and is coated in egg to keep that consistency silky on the inside. It’s quite subtle this one, it’s the sort of dish you’d like if you grew up with the stuff.
When did I go? March 2016
The damage: Expect to pay £35-£45 per head with drinks.
The good: My ideal experience of Korean food comes with strong flavours and good ingredients – Palace has both. Our front of house (she is the boss lady) was warm, friendly and attentive which made the meal even more enjoyable. The Korean braised short rib (galbijjim) is a rite of passage if you come here, I’m sorry if you’re vegetarian. I can say the same for the kimchi pancake – delicious. The rest, however I’m ok to miss.
The bad: New Malden is a little out the way for most, it’s not quite a destination restaurant but if you’re planning to spend a day here then check it out.
Address: 183 High St, New Malden KT3 4BH
Phone:020 8949 3737
Closest tube/train station: New Malden