Lime and Orange – The Korean restaurant that wasn’t

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Expectations vs reality: What I imagined my meal to be like Courtesy of KoreanBapsang.com
Expectations vs reality: What I imagined my meal to be like
Courtesy of KoreanBapsang.com

If you happen to be unfortunate enough to work in the vicinity of London’s Victoria station, you will know that it is, unequivocally, a culinary wasteland. On a budget? Have a stale sandwich filled in limp and watery salad leaves at Pret. Got £££ and three hours to spare? Go to Hunan and have a blow out meal. Got an hour to kill and less than £10? Good luck with that.

My latest culinary disappointment was Lime and Orange, a Korean restaurant just a few minutes away from the station.

Walking into the restaurant, I felt assured by the authentic menu descriptions – mentions of beef slices marinated in a pear and soy sauce, kimchi pancakes and hearty stews made my mouth water.

Given my curiosity, I chose the Budae jjigae – a spicy kimchi stew with sausages, spam and assorted vegetables. The dish’s name translates to ‘army stew’ – a reference to the types of food supplied by US bases in Korea just after the Korean War. I thought I was getting an authentic taste of Korean by ordering this dish – but I was soon proven wrong.

Can you find the miniscule amount of meat in this dish?
Can you find the miniscule amount of meat in this dish?

The first warning sign was when the food arrived. The colour of the stew was an insipid orange, nothing like the fiery traffic light red I would expect from a bowl containing kimchi. Upon further inspection, I realised I could barely see the aforementioned meat, spam or vegetables in this dish. Swirling the gloopy liquid around with my chopsticks, I managed to scoop out a few morsels, but these were so miniscule you would have needed a microscope to identify them.

The ‘kimchi’ present in the stew was just as bad – tasteless shreds of cabbage with absolutely none of the pickled, fermented goodness I had come to love.

In fact, tasteless is how I would describe my entire dining experience – I couldn’t detect any spiciness in the kimchi, so tasteless was the broth I may well have been drinking water, and given the meagre portions of meat I’d been served, it was impossible to tell if these had any flavour at all.

For a better example of Budae jjigae, I’d recommend visiting Noob Cook’s blog, where you can get a recipe (and probably do a much better job than Lime and Orange ever could).

Budae jjigae done right Courtesy of NoobCook.com
Budae jjigae done right
Courtesy of NoobCook.com

The worst thing was receiving the bill for such a substandard plate of food. I paid £10 in total and in other words, a total rip-off. All I wanted was an inexpensive but tasty place to visit on my lunch break, but the gastronomic desert that is Victoria seems to mock me at every turn.

One Response

  1. I’ve been plenty of Korean restaurants in the UK and you will not get the “Done Right” Budae jiggae here.
    That photo probably was taken in Korea where several people share one big Pot of soup, but I am guessing your Lime orange visit was alone… I think you set your standards too high if you were looking forward in seeing that big pot…
    Just saying

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