Ceena: Fleet Street, London

Whilst  not having made it to Korea just yet, I was lucky to have had grown up with a lot of Koreans in school. If there is one word I could use to sum them all up into a group, it would be ‘food’. Everyone of them was a certified foodie, adept at cooking all manner of noodles and each bringing with them, their mums special creations. It was thanks to them, and especially my roommate for many years, that I learnt of the wondrous thing that is kimchi. What I remember most about it is that it really had the most intense smell and that it lingered around for days after it was finished. Proper kimchi, fermented slowly, stinking to high heavens, tasting of the heavens too! Unfortunately, I have yet to come upon a London restaurant that serves kimchi worthy of its name. 

Ceena is a tiny little hole in the wall just off Fleet street, with just about enough room to wiggle your elbows and with the usual fare of Korean dishes to be found anywhere. Judging by the flow of people during lunch, one feels that the food might just be an hour well spent.

Kimchi
Bibimbap
Beef ribs

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By looking at it straight away, one can tell the personality of the kimchi and true to its dopey look, this was nothing close to the kimchi of my childhood dreams. Heck, it hadn’t even been fermented and nor was the ‘marinade’ strong enough, with little to none acidity.

The sizzling bibimbap wasn’t sizzling to start with and had a sniffle-full of chicken in it. The rest was as interesting as a bowl of plain rice and raw vegetables can be and the chilli and garlic sauce too was a light and airy affair (refills of the sauce had to be requested for).

The Galbin tang or beef short rib soup, fared slightly better against the chilly wind blowing outside and was a hearty broth, but failed to score any points with its beef dumpling.

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Sometimes one does come across little tiny places that are heaving with people and yet manages to churn out exquisite food. Sadly, this little Korean seemed to fare better with city workers on a quick lunch break, looking for something a little different but not very exciting. Nevertheless, having an engagement nearby shortly after meant that its purpose as a stomach filler was achieved and I was on my way without much ado about something.

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Overall experience: 5
Food: 4
Recommend you go: 4
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