Wednesday the 23rd of June 2010 was an eventful day. England had progressed to the knock out stage of the Football World Cup Tournament in South Africa and it was sunny and warm.

I found myself in the West End, in the heart of China Town, for a meal prior to a later appointment. Nothing remarkable here then-but wait.

I was in Lisle Street with its selection of Chinese restaurants together with Public Houses (which were full of drinkers watching England play Slovenia).

However, it wasn’t a Chinese meal I was looking forward to but other cuisine. Astonishingly, I found it in Lisle Street and I was quite surprised.

It was a Korean restaurant with the Korean flag flying high. The name is LITTLE KOREA- which is quite apt because of it’s location amongst the number of the expected Chinese restaurants, food and herbal remedy shops. Its façade is similar to the other restaurants in the street. It granted me respite from the mingling crowds and rising temperature.

LIKO Little Korea Restaurant
2-3 Lisle Street

Telephone number: 020 7434 1601
Opening Times: Monday to Thursday 1200 hours to 2300 hours, Friday and Saturday 1200 hours to 2330 hours, Sunday 1200 hours to 2300 hours

Leicester Square tube station on the Northern and Piccadilly lines and Piccadilly Circus tube station on the Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines are both literally a short distance away. Numerous bus routes are also a stone’s throw away.

LITTLE KOREA is in close proximity to the numerous entertainment venues, clubs, public houses, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street and Oxford Street

The owner is Mr Young Kyu LEE and has been so since it’s opening some three years ago.

The décor, to some, could appear to be quite stark with functional frniture. Diners in the area tend not to linger over meals as they are en route to exploring the West End. On the ground floor level there is seating for twenty six patrons and a further forty four on the lower level (which is due for refurbishment in the very near future)

The menu has photographs of many of the meals available with descriptions of all the meals described in English and Korean. A special lunch time menu is also available.

The busiest period during opening times is in the evening. About 20% of diners are Korean, a further 60% are Chinese and the remaining 20% comprise of other nationalities. However, over the course of a year the months between October and February attract the most diners- The Chinese New Year being during the latter part of this period.

Four dishes were served.

(Raw strips of beef, rice and assorted vegetables in a hot pot)

Prior to eating chilli sauce is added and the contents were mixed together. The pot is made of stone which keeps the food warm. Not everybody would entertain the idea of eating raw meat but when it is mixed with the rice and vegetables but it does blend together well. It is a firm favourite with Korean diners.

(Selected sea food including octopus, scallops, crab and assorted vegetables with chilli sauce)

This combination is then cooked on a portable gas cooker on the table. Patrons then help themselves.

(Deep fried bread crumbed pork cutlet with cheese accompanied by a green salad)

A dish which I eat quite often on my regular trips to South Korea

(Stir fried sliced rice cake together with fish cakes and assorted vegetables in a spicy sauce)

This is what I particularly enjoy when I go to Korean restaurants.

(An integral part of any Korean meal)

Always balances whatever other dishes form part of a meal.

(Another side dish always served)

Kimchi is a spicy Chinese leaf lettuce pickle-a must for me at all Korean meals.

The location of LITTLE KOREA in the heart of China Town must be quite a challenge for the owner Mr LEE, but that said, it does offer an alternative venue for diners from the restaurants in the area.

I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the meal.

(Watch the YTN Report)

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