Tuesday, 15 March 2011


I have had a cold for what feels like months. No matter what I take, it sticks around, lulling me into a false sense of security by momentarily letting me breathe through my nose whilst talking, or sniff unshackled for a nanosecond. But no, it’s always a brief glimmer of hope over across never-ending sea of Olbas oil. If it carries on any longer I will be buying shares in Sudafed. Worst of all, people look on in horror when I try talking as I sound like Ed Miliband. Where everything else has failed, I am hoping to purge myself of this unwanted horror by writing the brute out.

Perhaps I could be forgiven for thinking that some serious spice might shift it. We tried lunch at Wahaca last week: crunchy and briefly fragrant but no cigar, and I’d had high hopes for the curry we had at the Battersea Rickshaw for my brother Dave’s 30th (he’s a spice addict) – apparently it was delicious…though I did have a kamikaze mouthful of one green chilli somewhere during proceedings which I could taste…

There was a longer break in the status quo when we hit Dotori in Finsbury Park last week. The BSG’s sister, Pom, has long been singing the praises of her favourite local, opposite the Twelve Pins on Stroud Green Road. If you’ve never trodden the Finsbury Park turf, do not fear getting lost – this place couldn’t be any closer to the station.

The restaurant serves both Japanese and Korean food, with a slight lean towards Korean. This being my first Korean meal ever, I was not sure what to expect, but I can say with certainty that they do hot and crisp very well. It’s not a big place and was already heaving when we arrived – Pom had been right to book. The menu was broad and gave good descriptions of everything on offer. We had some pork gyoza dumplings to start, plus some very spicy kimchi (fermented cabbage), delicious and reportedly rather smelly (what’s the nasal equivalent of falling on deaf ears, I wonder?) with a chilli hit to pierce the lurgy. Then, some tooth-sticking crispy chilli squid which no doubt held the fat content of a small town but was caramelised deliciousness. The rice sticks in a chilli-based sauce (looked like anaemic Cheesestrings but thankfully the similarity ended there) were hoovered up in no time, and somewhere along the way the BSG snapped his chopsticks in half in his unbridled enthusiasm.

Everything was shared and enthusiastically scoffed and the staff were ready to make any decisions on our behalf when required, thus avoiding any faux pas when coupling our main courses of bibimbap and their sauces. These are clay pots of sizzling (nuclear-hot, finger-tip-searing) rice, egg, vegetables and a choice of meat toppings, stirred ‘in the right way’ by our helpful waiter. Ever the wild card, the BSG chose the raw beef topping – there was no offal listed on the menu. Lip-reading the groans of pleasure elicited by my fellow diners I could tell that these were good – if not quite spiced highly enough to clear my olfactory system.

In the name of research, I am looking forward to revisiting this reasonably-priced, no-frills establishment once more, when I’ve taken hold of the appropriate senses. Much to the BSG’s chagrin, I will be taking my camera next time, if the food stays on the plate for long enough…

1 comment:

  1. ooh must check out Dotori- have duly added it to the "hit" list. That bibimbap in particular sounds gorgeous. Hope you're on the mend, you poor thing!