As you know I love a pop-up and as you also know I’m a big fan of Gizzi Erskine so when I heard about K-Town (short for Korea Town) a pop-up Korean dining experience curated by Gizzi, well I couldn’t wait to go! Renowned for their stand-out Korean street-food the K-Town districts across the pond in L.A and New York were the inspiration for the evening, and as a passionate lover of Asian food Gizzi wanted to bring some of their look, feel and flavour to London. And that she did.
Held in the basement of Concrete, beneath Pizza East in Shoreditch, the stripped back walls and exposed fitments of the venue had been dolled up for for the night and lit by bespoke neon signage that created an industrial, almost Blade Runner-esque ambience, adding to the gritty back-street feel. Diners were seated on long tables which made for a buzzy and relaxed atmosphere and also meant that a few sake cocktails later my lady-date and I were merrily chatting to our neighbours and sharing our food!
And the food was spectacular, all five courses of it. We kicked off with a Ponzu-dressed Korean Tuna Sahimi that was melt-in-the-mouth divine and then onto Spicy Crispy Tuna Rice that was tantalisingly more-ish. Our second course was a serving of Korean Fried Chicken Wings that to say was generous was an understatement, they were also so damned good that writing about them is making my mouth water. Tangy, hot, sour and with a deliciously crunchy crumb they had my lady-date and I licking our fingers.
In-between courses we were treated to an audience with burlesque pocket rocket performer Fancy Chance who came on stage dressed as the illegitimate love-child of Uhura and Sulu from Star Trek (look it up!) wearing a massive afro, Star Trek uniform and we found out … nipple tassels to match!
Which then lead quite fittingly into our next course, courtesy of Yum Bun (!) pillowy soft streamed buns with a succulent and sticky hoisin pork and crunchy cucumber filling, amazing. I always make a point of seeking theses guys out at any street food event I go to, they are insanely good. The star of the show though was course number four, Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder “Bo Ssan”, brought out by the chefs on a gigantic serving plate. This is when it came in handy that we’d been sociable with our dinner guests as someone had to make like Dad at Christmas and get a-carving, although ‘carve’ is the wrong word as in some places the meat was so tender it came off with a spoon. Now I absolutely love playing with my food so I was thrilled that “Bo Ssan” meant I could pick the lamb up in my hands, plop a dollop of sushi rice on top and roll it up to eat it! Seriously good (and tasty) fun.
Dessert was ice-cream in suitably dramatic flavours – white mizo (my favourite), matcha green tea (blow-your-head-off strong but weirdly delicious) and black sesame (this was a bit too avant garde for my palate but my lady-date loved it).
The whole evening was fantastic, Gizzi created a fully immersive culinary spectacle that was as much about the fun, as the food.
K-Town is running until Friday night but it’s now sold out. However you can buy tickets for the post-dinner entertainment at only £10 here.
Concrete, 56 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JJ