When I looked at Gogi’s 77 dish menu, two questions entered my head – ‘how can one chef perfect so many dishes?’ and ‘how the hell am I going to choose?!’. Our waiter eliminated the second dilemma by picking for us. As for the first, the answer had to be ‘they can’t’. But that’s not to say some weren’t very, very good.
Gogi is a relatively new Korean restaurant in Little Venice, already popular with the locals (there were at least three families enjoying dinner when we arrived at 7pm). Despite its large windows, the interior is dark, made up of black wooden furniture, exposed brick walls and individual BBQ’s that would later cook the best food of the night.
We sipped two insanely sweet cocktails whilst peering over the menu of soups & sides, starters, grilled BBQ, BBQ sides, Dolsot Bibimbap, pot dishes and noodles, before moving onto a far nicer bottle of white.
We then had ‘side dishes’ of Modum Kimchi (£5.90) and Modum Namul (£5.90). Kimchi is like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it. I rest in the latter camp, so much preferred Modum Namul’s less fermented pickled spinach, radish, courgette and mushroom.
Moving onto the actual starters, grilled asparagus with sesame seeds (£5.50) was crisp and fresh, whereas a heavier portion of Pa Jeon (£8.90) was a pancake stuffed with prawns, spring onions and what looked like seafood sticks. Yummy, but let down by less than luxurious ingredients.
Up next was Roseu Pyeonchae (£16.90) and Yang Yeum Chicken (£8.50). The lightly battered chicken was covered in a sweet, sticky sauce that was pleasant, but rid the batter of its crispiness.
By contrast, the beautifully presented Roseu Pyeonchae was thin slices of roast beef sirloin, playfully used to scoop shredded onion, pepper and lettuce into a parcel topped with mustard sauce. Hands down, this was my starter of choice.
The best was definitely saved ’til last. In the centre of our table, a waitress heated our individual BBQ before cooking strips of Bulgogi (£8.90), Pork Belly (£8.90) and Ganjang Chicken (also £8.90). Each piece of sizzling meat was tender, juicy and enhanced by its own delicious marinade. Having the meat cooked at the table was certainly novel and something children are sure to enjoy.
Gogi was a mixed bag of perfectly adequate food and memorable gems. Now I’m no expert, but having experienced this friendly restaurant, I wonder if the menu should be stripped back to concentrate on dishes that leave a lasting impression, such as the BBQ’d meat and Roseu Pyeonchae. But as I said, I’ll leave that to those ‘in the know’ and give Gogi a LLE Rating of 6.5 / 10.
Gogi, 451 Edgware Road, Little Venice, London W2 1TH