When it comes to fusion cooking, Scottish-Chinese chef Jan Lee at Bo Drake is certainly standing out from the crowd and making a big impression with his Korexican cuisine. His unique idea of fusing together East Asian cuisine with smoky BBQ cooking methods from Europe and America has got people talking, and more importantly eating. Think tapas, but with an Asian twist, then a Mexican twist, then back to an Asian. And it kind of seems to go around in that flavour cycle…
Situated on Greek Street, every table has a flickering candle, with a choice of intimate dining at the back, or larger, relaxed tables at the front. Lights are suspended over the bar and the feel is modern and inviting. As we browsed the menu trying to make some sense of what was what, we tried the ‘Warming Christmas cocktail’, which consisted of rum, ginger, beetroot and maple syrup. Needing to work on our poker faces, it was pretty clear we had no clue of the ‘Bo Drake’ etiquette and luckily the lovely, friendly staff came to our rescue with advice on how much to order and what things were.
We ordered three smalls to start: tuna sashimi, mushroom bao, and KFC (yeah that’s right), which was Korean fried chicken with soy garlic, grapes and rosemary. Three between two for a starter was probably a bit much as the portions were a generous size. They were beautifully presented and delicious. For the main we ordered the Bo Ssam, which was smoked pulled pork with Ssamjang and Kimchi (which is Korean pastes/vegetables). The pulled pork was so tender, and was cooked perfectly. We shared this with the smoked aubergine, a bowl of steamed rice and sweet potato fries.
On paper you perhaps wouldn’t think these foods would work together, and at first you wonder if they will but each dish seemed to have the ability to battle against each other but compliment each other at the same time. The culture of sharing lots of little different dishes, makes eating out here seem more sociable. There is nothing worse than agonising over the menu trying to choose one dish and then having food envy all night when you see someone else’s dinner. There is no threat of this happening here. Bo Drake was relaxed and modest but proud of its flavours and presentation, and so it should be. The food was delicious and it was so refreshing to try something completely new. Being unique is definitely what makes this place special.