On Sunday I went for lunch with a friend and her brother at Cah-Chi Korean restaurant in Earlsfield. She lives down there and had asked me to help her sort through her wardrobe. I agreed, in exchange for Korean food. I’d heard good things about Cah-Chi and, if I’m going that far south, I need some sort of gastronomic reimbursement. I had booked but clearly needn’t have. There were just two other tables, both families, seated.
We ordered Hites, a light golden Korean beer that I quite enjoyed. Four complimentary bowls of nibbles were bought over – a spicy stir-fried aubergine, a potato salad (not sure how typically Korean that is), caramelised soya beans, which were deliciously moorish but rather frustrating to eat with my limited chop stick skills, and, of course, kimchi. This was particularly good; sour, with a good hit of spice. We shared two starters between the three of us. The prawn and vegetable tempura was a bit greasy, with an overly thick batter coating, but the prawns inside were fresh and juicy. The filling inside the fried pork dumplings was slightly watery, but the skin around it was crisp. Overall both starters were alright, but I think we could have ordered better.
The Cah-Chi specialty is table BBQ. I ordered the thinly sliced sirloin steak marinated in Cah Chi sauce, and my friend’s brother the pork loin in chili sauce. They set the BBQ up on the table, lighting a gas fire beneath a metal plate. A waiter came over and placed the pork loin on the sizzling hot surface. He cooked it for about five minutes before adding my steak. He kept the meat moving so as not to over cook it, and when both were done, turned off the BBQ. I liked that they did all of this for you; I’ve only been to places where you have to cook the food on the BBQ yourself. Plates of fresh lettuce, pickled radish, seasoned spring onion, sticky rice and soy bean paste were also brought over. We layered up the lettuce with the rice, slivers of meat, vegetables and a small lump of the paste. The combination of salty, sour and spicy flavours was excellent, especially with the umani soy bean paste. I really enjoyed it, and would definitely go back to have it again.
NB. They don’t accept cards so bring cash.