Seoul Kimchi and why to go off the beaten track.

3 Jun

About a year ago, and after an offer to study at university, I came to Manchester to suss it out. My first thoughts of this mother city were, uninspiringly, that it was big. Bigger than the little Leicester that I had come from. We arrived at night and the sprawl of lights spread into the distance, surrounded by dark hills. If anything, I felt claustrophobic – away from the comfort of familiarity. 

The morning dawned in Salford Quays and we drove our way around the city, passing the conspicuous Seoul Kimchi along the way. These were not roads known to me and I suffered to remember the place we had passed. 

A year later and a taxi ride along that same route in which I recognised the back end of the Manchester Royal Infirmary, I’ve found it. By now the persistent feeling of being alien has disappeared and the investigation into the whereabouts of this restaurant has been solved. Welcome to Seoul Kimchi. 

When we visited, it was a miserable day. The fact that it was so desolate (grey, drizzle, icy wind) must be remembered because when we left Seoul Kimchi, we were skipping out of the door. Nothing improves my mood more than a good feed (and nothing worsens my disposition more than hunger). I was satisfied. 

The interior was tight, only four separate tables and two long counters. Somehow, we arrived at the right moment to be shown to the seats with a fascinating view of the kitchen (always interested). It took us a while to order as the menu had many traditional Korean dishes that I had never come across; curiosity is forever making me slow with decisions. Eventually, we did decide on a few (an awful lot) of our favourites and one exciting extra. 

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Seoul Kimchi, Manchester

First to arrive were the accompaniments. We had homemade cucumber pickles with sesame, wickedly hot kimchi and –  when I asked – a type of bean curd in a mildly flavoured chilli oil. The latter I had never tried before… It was delicate and smooth, though I have yet to find out precisely what is it. 

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Beef and kimchi gyoza; Seoul Kimchi, Manchester

Soon after came our beef and kimchi gyoza. Without a doubt, gyoza – no matter the filling – are a favourite of mine; I cannot help but be thrilled when I spy them on a menu. These particular gyoza perfectly alterated between crisp and succulent. 

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Sushi; Seoul Kimchi, Manchester

With the sushi, the tamago was the only disappointment – I didn’t find it quite as gratifying as I usually do. Apart from that, I have no complaints! The standout pieces were the tobiko – it was sublime, the ‘pop’ not too strong – and the unagi, which from my first taste at Umami I have fallen in love with – it lived up to all of my expectations.

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Seafood Stew; Seoul Kimchi, Manchester

Lastly came the bowl of seafood stew and rice. Packed with baby octopus, clams, mussels, fish, shrimp, it bubbling away at us until it cooled enough to eat (believe me, I tried tackling it as it was still boiling and funnily enough, burnt my tongue). The half-moon shaped daikon added a curious, yet much needed, crunch to the dish. It was lovely, the amount of chilli just what we needed to warm our cockles and send us off into the cold outside air once more. 

 

Yours, 

Joss

Seoul Kimchi on Urbanspoon

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