Hamgipak is a snug little family run hole in the wall that serves up Korean comfort food such as; stews with the deep funk of kimchi; savoury jeon pancakes laced with seafood; or the pleasant stench of kimchi, crisp skinned mandoo dumplings and of course the sizzling plated bulgogi with edge to edge dark charred flavours. It’s blessed with the familiar and all for a short walk from New Malden station – it’s the one painted in canary yellow and seats about a dozen people. Recently, it’s been renamed Imone, which means ‘Aunt’s place”. You couldn’t find a more fitting name as it’s the sweet Auntie’s doing everything here, which is part of the unavoidable charm.
Our sweet Auntie.
Banchaan are generally little plates of cold palate teasers brought to you before the main events. Gochujang laced vegetables, in this case thinly sliced soft spuds, deeply funky kimchi and the crunch sesame seasoned beansprouts feature.
Goo mandoo £6 have a pleasing rust coloured crisply fried skin and a nicely seasoned filling of cabbage, pork and beef. All hand-pleated by Auntie.
Sundae £8 (pronounced soondae), may look like what dog walkers clean up in the nearby Richmond park, but what you get is a reassuring snap and an enjoyable funk of blood, this is also where rice makes friends with vermicelli and is all he more satisfying for it. I always order it.
It gets a side dish of “saeu-jeot” which is a foul tasting salt bomb made of fermented shrimps. It’s where your taste buds go to die and should be avoided unless you like this kinda punishment.
Pa-jeon £8.50 is a spring onion and squid pancake, it needed hotter oil to crisp up the edges and this one seemed to have limped to us in comparison to what I’ve had elsewhere. Jin Go Gae do an fine example of this.
Ttuk boki £7 are gummy rice cylinders, slithers of fish cake and onions slow stewed in fiery and luscious gochujang – it’s delicious here.
Caramelised Bulgogi short ribs £9 are sweet and savoury all at once from the long marinate it gets treated to. You’ll need good gnawing skills to get the un-yielding flesh off the bone and into your bellies though. Or just order it off the bone.
When did I go? July 2017
The damage: Expect to pay £20/25 per head for just food
The good: It’s matchbox sized snugness does exude a lot of charm and they do the sundae and ttuk boki exceptionally well.
The bad: Better can be had elsewhere at Jin Go Gae or the neighbouring Palace and Haru.
Would I go again? Maybe
Address: 169 High Street, Town Centre, New Malden