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  • 164 Clerkenwell Road
    London EC1R 5DU
    Bloomsbury
  • Transit information Central Circle Hammersmith & City Metropolitan Get Directions
  • Phone number 020 7278 8674
  • Business website tohbang.com

Recommended Reviews

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  • 4.0 star rating
    28/2/2014

    My home town in America has an exceptional number of great Korean places, so I was curious to see how London's Korean compared. The answer is: very well! Enjoyed a lovely, flavorful Dolsot BiBimBap with nice crunchy rice and great veggies. Very small compared to American Korean places though, about half the size. Or maybe their lunch size is small?

    Service was fine, though the server spoke so little English we could not communicate that we wanted a raw instead of a fried egg on our BiBimBap, and it took us a long time to communicate that our friend could not eat rice (for medical reasons), for which they refused to substitute. So service and size are definitely where this place loses one to two stars.

    The side dishes were great though, I really enjoyed them. More savory than in America where they are much more sour. The potato was lovely. I'll definitely be back soon.

  • 4.0 star rating
    17/12/2013
    2 check-ins here

    YES. After the shit experience at Asadal, I'm glad I was able to find a different Korean restaurant with excellent service and satisfying food.

    After going for lunch once, I booked a table for nine on a Saturday night and there was excellent service though I could tell we were overwhelming them a bit. Might have to do with the fact that I speak Korean but who knows. Really hard working staff (UNLIKE ASADAL).

    Yukgaejang and kimchi jigae both filling and balanced. A friend of mine had the bibimbap and it looked/smelled delicious. Another friend had the kanpoongi and they said it was also tasty. I had a bite, it was sweet as you'd want it but all in all, just remember that you're paying London prices (not ridiculous but still) for average homemade Korean food. Luckily average Korean food is still, in my book, the superior cuisine.

    Will definitely be back. Regularly.

  • 2.0 star rating
    12/12/2013
    2 check-ins here

    After having moved into the area, i was looking for a go to Korean place and sadly this one disappoints.   Whilst the food was good and atmosphere cozy, the service was completely lacking!  After taking your order, it appears they continue to ignore you even while you desperately try and make eye contact.

    We have been to this place twice now to give them the benefit of the doubt, however, both times I had to leave my table to ask for an additional beer, ask for the cheque and then to pay for the cheque.  (NOTE:  the bill includes an unwarranted 12.5% service charge?)

  • 2.0 star rating
    23/3/2014

    The dishes were small and pricey. Not sure what the fuss is about but I'm still struggling to find a decent Korean restaurant in London. Average at best.

  • 3.0 star rating
    9/9/2012
    3 check-ins here ROTD 28/2/2013

    Korean is one of my favorite cuisines right next to Thai so I feel as if I'm allowed to be a little critical since I've eaten at several dozen Korean restaurants. Tohbang is a nice little restaurant a few blocks away from my school and I thought I'd pop in for some lunch one afternoon. They have some great lunch specials for under £7 which I guess is reasonable for a sit down meal in London. I keep telling myself to pretend the "£" sign means "$" so I don't feel as horrible about spending so much money...

    I was in between getting the bulgogi or the bibimbap, but when it came down to ordering I made the game decision for bulgogi. The texture of the meat was great, but the flavor was a bit too sweet for me. As for the side dishes, we got two different kinds of radishes. Maybe I'm expecting too much since I'm from California and when I go to a Korean restaurant, they give you anywhere from 5-10+ side dishes.

    When it comes down to it, Tohbang's food is okay, which isn't a bad thing at all. It's a good lunch option since they do have a variety of things on special. Service in London is so weird... I have yet to go to restaurant where I didn't have to ASK for a refill of water. Man... us Americans are on top of our sh*t (service wise).

  • 4.0 star rating
    2/2/2011
    ROTD 4/3/2011

    "1 Soondubu Jjigae and 1 Kimchi Jjigae, please. Yes, of course, the usual coke and tap water, please".

    My friend and I settle into our seats and look at each other happily since we are, once again - like every week, here to enjoy one of our favorite foods. One of us having spent years in Seoul and the other being raised in Asian-focused community for the majority of her life, we come to Tohbang every week to to feed our cravings and bring back wonderful -often hilarious- memories and stories.

    We sit picking at and munching on our side dishes, which we can never predict as there is such a variety in side dishes at Tohbang. It has become quite a game trying to guess what they'll bring out to us. Some dishes are pickled, and others are not. We like both, but I'm sure you can let your server know whether you prefer one type over the other.

    Our dishes arrive in hot boiling cauldron bowls with a side of rice. The steam rises and the scent of the ingredients and heat hit us. We dig in. No talking, just eating. About 5 minutes into our meal, we remember we have each other at the table, and we begin chatting away again.

    You'll see when you eat here that there is sometimes so much variety, there is often times inconsistency. Sometimes we'll receive two side dishes, sometimes three. Some servers let you order to your liking, and others won't be the least bit flexible, even denying you of an egg in your soup. Some people like this, and some don't.  Whatever you like, though, you are sure to find at Tohbang. Although we normally order our soups every time, the dishes we've seen arrive at other table look phenomenal.

    It's always a lovely experience at Tohbang, and we will continue to come back for more - especially with their lunch menu at only 6.50gbp/person!

  • 5.0 star rating
    6/10/2011 Updated review
    14 check-ins here

    I think I might've officially earned 'regular' status at Tohbang, as more often than not, I get the familiar recognition from the lovely manager and her staff whenever I walk in. Conversely, it seems that Tohbang's popularity has also skyrocketed in the past few months to the point where one of the first questions asked upon arrival has recently become, 'Oh, did you make a booking?' Seems like business is booming!

    Regardless, the grub is unerringly delicious, the food comes on fast and furious, the beer is frosty, and the cucumber soju is dangerously smooth. For best results, bring an army of slaveringly hungry omnivores with you, because there's nothing like having a Korean feast of a dozen different dishes.

    Popular menu items for me include their pajun, dolsot bibimbap, kalbi and bulgogi, jap chae, and any of the fried dumplings (though the pork ones win extra points for deliciousness). It's worth noting that unlike many Korean restaurants, ban chan don't come gratis, so order an extra dish or two of kimchi along with a lettuce and spring onions if you plan to use them as wraps for your meat.

    Between the friendly folks, the reliable service, and the consistently delightful and satisfying K-cuisine, I've come to truly depend on Tohbang as a local staple in my neighbourhood oriental restaurant rotation.

    4.0 star rating
    27/5/2011 Previous review
    There are some things about the past cities I've lived that I miss a lot: pickup and delivery… Read more
  • 3.0 star rating
    7/12/2012

    Living on the west coast for the past 3 years its pretty hard to measure up the standards of Korean food in London. I was recommended to this place by a friend and while the food was nice, portions were on the small side and not quite as tasty.

    One thing I never understood was why the hell do I have to pay for kim chi in London at Korean restaurants, back in the US they gave 5 appetizer dishes out for free!

    Toh bang was a little further away and wasnt exactly where I expected to find a korean restaurant. Despite this, it did satisfy my cravings for spicy tofu soup but didn't warrant a second visit

  • 4.0 star rating
    24/2/2011
    2 check-ins here

    When I was a kid at Sunday School, there was a little Hebrew song we'd sing: 'Bim bom, bi bi bim bom, bi bi bi bi bim bom bom.' I don't know what it meant but I always rather liked it. As a result, discovering that there was a Korean dish called bibimbap, I instantly liked it. That and the fact it has great Jewish things in it, pickles and egg.

    I came to Tohbang for lunch after reading Ha's review. They have a selection of lunch specials that are all around £6-7 and really filling. I was a little disappointed to discover there was no bibimbap on this selection but I ordered a rice dish with egg and snow peas (basically egg fried rice) and it was tasty. But what did impress me was the large groups of Korean kids who seem to know what they were ordering. They had a table heavy with sizzling dishes and smells that came from that direction were wonderful. I want to come back here, for dinner and really take my time. Order a selection from the menu and roll home after.

    It's a really lovely place, they have fabulous loos. They were super duper clean with posh soap and everything. I might actually go back just to use them.

  • 3.0 star rating
    22/5/2011

    My fellow yelper, A Liu wanted to go here, so who am i to say no? :)

    Décor: Dark and dim. I can see what it was trying to achieve (a sort of classy yet comfortable atmosphere), but I wasn't particularly a fan. I like the rustic Korean look with brighter lights better, but eh, personal preference. It is a small place though, so if you can do reservations beforehand, do!

    Service: It was fine, nothing to complain too much about. There was a large group when we went so service was a little slow, but it was fine. Oh and I love how we were greeted at the door with a big smile by the lady- big rosy smile put a smile on our faces!

    Food: I got a Tofu Soup dish (The ones that come in a hot stone bowl and rice on the side). Mine was quite delicious, spot-on!
    - My friends got a Bibimbap, which she found quite good and another friend got a (forgot the name) Korean fried rice combo in a hot stone bowl which smelled veryveryvery good (we stole a couple of bites since he said he was 'full'. Hehe)
    - Oh and they do give you those little Korean appetizers beforehand. Though their 3 dishes doesn't compare to the usual (At least) 5-6 dishes I get back home.

    Bottom Line: It's good food and for a 'classier' environment to eat Korean food, it's good. But IMHO, I thought it was a bit expensive for what I got. Call me a cheap-o, but hey, I am still a college student!

  • 5.0 star rating
    10/8/2011
    1 check-in here

    Ooooh, how much did I love this place!! Starting with the end: Tohbang, you sure deserve your 5 stars!

    I went to Tohbang with a huge group of people and we ordered many dishes to share between all of us. I can't even say how many different dishes I had, food just kept arriving on our tables and everything was so good I just didn't seem to get full. So I ate, ate, ate, tried so many different things, ate as much spice one can humanly eat and loved every bit of it.

    I feel really bad about not being able to name any of these dishes, but I can assure you that from salad to meat and meat to salad, I loved the taste of everything. And I can only agree to Svenja G's warning : "When it says "spicy dish", be warned, it is spicy!" I had to eat a lot of rice to save myself from the spices at some points, but all in all didn't mind at all! I don't eat much meat and I was happy to discover that meat Tohbang style is just the way I like it!

    If you are into very strange tasting alcohols, you should try the fresh cucumber water (oh wait... no, it's schnaps !) Some of my friends loved it a loooot, but for my part I found it a bit confusing, so much I was sure it would be water!

    The waitress was also very nice, the interior very cosy and everything was made so that our groupe would have a great time. I want to go back!!!

  • 4.0 star rating
    4/6/2012
    1 check-in here

    Yum!  Always glad to get my korean food fix outside of New Malden.  I ordered the dumpling soup to start - and it def reminded me of home cookin'.  I tried to keep myself from moaning 'cuz of course that would be weird.  The spicy pork was good but I think I'd try something else next time.  

    I did appreciate the 2 banchan at the beginning!

  • 5.0 star rating
    18/5/2011

    This place was top notch! Excellent food, friendly service and nice atmosphere.

    Since I didn't order, I can't remember the names of the dishes...but everything was fantastic. The beef, the rice noodle crepe/pancake thingy (sorry, don't know the name), the Soju with fresh cucumber is super...extremely refreshing.

    I can't wait to go back to Tohbang.

  • 5.0 star rating
    24/5/2011

    Oh my god, where should I start?

    First recommendation: go there in a big group so you have the chance to try as many different dishes as possible! So we went there with about 15 people and we had a feast! The food just kept on coming and one dish was better than the next one. The very kind waitresses had to rearrange everything on our tables with every new dish arriving, as we had ordered to much and yet they always managed to accomodate everything on our table.

    When it says "spicy dish", be warned, it is spicy! Good though that one can extinguish the burning sensation with a certain schnapps, that they serve here. Unfortunately I forgot the name of it, but it is served with fresh cucumber. Quite an interesting flavour but also refreshing. Give it a try!

    I am still salivating by just thinking about Tohbang, I wish there was a Tohbang in my neighbourhood.

  • 4.0 star rating
    21/1/2012
    4 check-ins here

    Really, for London, this should be five stars, as it is probably one of my favorite Korean restaurants thus far (and I've been a-searcin').

    While they DID give us two free banchan (woot!), we still had to pay £3 per dish of kim chee, which I see as more of a condiment than, like, a side dish, but that's just me perhaps.

    I mean, the food here is REALLY quite good. I highly recommend the jap chae, which was really fresh, nice chewy noodle, perfect balance of sweet and savory. The Bi bim bap is also really good, though the Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap doesn't get QUITE as crispy on the bottom as I want it to.

    My two friends and I spent over £70 here, however. I wish I could afford to come more often. Where's the affordable, good korean in this down??!!

  • 4.0 star rating
    29/2/2012

    I made the trek to Clerkenwell Road just to try this place. I had a lunch special-- jap chae and soup. I also ordered Kimchi and cucumber Kimchi. The jap chae did not compare to LiKo but the kimchi was so perfect that I ordered some to take away, and an order of Kimchi Jeon as well. I was recovering from a bad cold and nothing takes the pain away like kimchi with a kick.
    The staff was very warm and welcoming and it seemed there were a lot of familiar faces dining there. I like a place that has regulars!

  • 4.0 star rating
    4/7/2009
    First to Review

    Great Korean place. I shared one of the set menus for two with my dining partner and really enjoyed the variety and quantity of the food. I'd probably order the same thing again next time (there will be a next time) but make sure to drink more water. The dishes were especially spicy and extremely salty. The kimchi rocked and the fried chicken was all sorts of down home tasty. I've only been to one other Korean restaurant in London (Young Bean near London Wall). New Seoul is just as good (maybe a little better) but with a homier feel to it.

    One word of caution: the staircase leading down to the toilets is unusually steep and starts right on the other side of a door. Watch your step! And here's another tip: come on an empty stomach.

    • Qype User thegru…
    • London
    • 39 friends
    • 25 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    21/4/2010

    "Just popping off for a Tohbang" has a certain ring to it. Much better than" going for a New Seoul" at any rate.

    And to be honest, the chance to say that was all the encouragement I needed to pop along to this Korean eatery on Clerkenwell Rd. I know next to nothing about the cuisine, other than it kinda involves steamboat, bbq and, erm well, that's it really.

    ON the advice of my more experienced dining companions I went for somthing uniquely Korean: the intriguing Yukhoe dolsot bibimbap for instance. Somewhere between Japanese katsudon and a steak tatare, it arrived at the table in a sizzling stone bowl. Small piles of thinly sliced raw vegetables such as bean sprouts, courgette and carrots sat atop a pile of sticky rice. Crowning it all was a slivered mound of raw beef and a wibbly raw egg yolk.

    As instructed we covered the whole with great swirls of chilli sauce and mixed it all up with gusto. For someone who often compartmentalises the food on his plate, this was a curiously exciting thing to do (I think it should herewith be referred to as "doing a Tohbang").

    So there I was doing a Tohbang like some demented three year high on Pepsi. And somehow managing not to spray everything within a five foot radius with globules of yolk, sticky rice and chilli sauce. And then i dove in.

    It tasted fabulous, surprisingly gentle in flavour, but in a hearty way. Even with the chilli sauce the flavour wasn't too strong. Almost raw beef and vegetables were all bound together with the just-cooked egg while the chilli provided an underlying heat. This is the perfect cold-day food, warming. Something I would definitely come back to.

    The whole thing was pretty reasonable too, with some fermeneted chilli pickled potatoes and other vegetables and a hite beer (more purile fun to be had here with "missing" letters), it came to £13 a head. And that was for a properly filling lunch.

    And who knew that eating Korean, doing a Tohbang and drinking (s)hite beer could be so much fun.

    • Qype User gloomy…
    • London
    • 15 friends
    • 35 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    27/3/2010

    I was here many times before it refurbished and changed name. The nice people gave me free starters kimchi and this potato thing!
    The food is authentic korean love the kimchi pancakes! must for anyone trying korean for the first time!

  • 4.0 star rating
    14/8/2012

    I used to live in Asia and I was often tempted to try Korean food. Whenever I did I found it a bit bland so moved this cuisine to the back of the list.
    Last week I was feeling a little blocked in the nose so thought that I needed something fragrant and spicy to clear it. As I walk past Tohbang every day I thought i'd pop in a see what they serve - I was looking for some boiled water and chili (not quite) and something that would also fill me up.

    As I was on my own I sat by the bar and started staring blankly at the menu. The girl behind the counter offered some excellent advice and chose a seafood noodle soup thing. It was absolutely amazing. It had all elements I was hoping to find in this soup. In fact it was so good i went back the next day with a colleague from work and had it again.

    (we had the pork dumplings in addition this time, following a previous review, they were superb.)

    • Qype User mdanie…
    • London
    • 2 friends
    • 47 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    25/11/2008

    New Seoul is a lovely little Korean restaurant in Clerkenwell. It doesn't look particularly impressive from the outside, and I'd walked past without really noticing it plenty of times before a Korean friend of mine took me there for lunch one day.

    I was very pleasantly surprised by what I found. It is authentically Korean and the customer service is very good, although their English isn't always the best. The food, hwever, is lovely. I usually have the dolost bibimbab, which is rice, beef, a fried egg and assorted vegetables in a hot stone bowl. They also offer chilli sauce to spice things up a little and all dishes come with a free miso soup.

    The atmosphere is very pleasant and I've had no hesitation to take both friends and family here, either for celebrations or casual visits. One friend who spent some time living in Korea said he'd been searching for a good Korean place in London and that New Seoul was by far the best and most authentic.

  • 5.0 star rating
    10/2/2010

    This has recently changed it's name (and possibly ownership) from New Seoul to Tohbang, however no need to worry about any changes in the quality accompanying it.

    The staff are always smiling and friendly, the food is fantastic and served in super quick time, but not such that the food seems badly prepared and you don't feel rushed. In all it makes a great place to go for a workday lunch as you can quite easily be in and out within an hour.

    Starters feel a little on the pricey side - around £6.40 for 6 grilled dumplings - but the main courses are better value. It's one of those places that isn't cheap, but its certainly not too expensive either, and the quality is more than worth the outlay.

    Highly recommended.

  • 1.0 star rating
    7/11/2012

    Terrible. Terrible. Terrible. Rice is charged. Side dishes charged. Small portions. I ordered dehggi bulgogi (pork bbq)...it was burnt. Judging from the number of people in the restaurant (aka only us)...this place probably is not really that great. Again...just don't eat Korean food in London.

  • 3.0 star rating
    23/11/2012
    1 check-in here

    The service here sucked. Had to remind them to bring my drink 10 mins into my meal. The food made up for it as it was excellent and tasted well. The sides were a joke. Quite small portions. I would definitely recommend the dak bulgogi and galbi. The atmosphere was warm. I sat next to the window and the views were great.

  • 4.0 star rating
    7/11/2011
    2 check-ins here

    Great service and wonderful, flavourful dishes.  I don't know how you can order anything bad from the menu!

  • 4.0 star rating
    10/10/2011

    Yep - it's good. Better than the other Korean I've had in London. It absolutely can't compare to New York or LA's Koreatowns (not Korea itself, obviously) but it will do for a sundubu fix.

    • Qype User Joshua…
    • London
    • 0 friends
    • 8 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    15/2/2013

    The place is always busy which is a good sign  you can rely that everything is fresh and delicious. I am quite the meat lover so I always fancy a well-prepared steak like this place offers.

  • 5.0 star rating
    15/3/2011

    This place ridiculously awesome! Price are fair for the location.

    • Qype User ahgrim…
    • London
    • 9 friends
    • 9 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    4/1/2011

    She was not very pleased. Infact she looked like the lady who got caught in the midst of my morning sneeze.
    I had dragged her half the way across town for a 'Toh Bang'. How very romantic!
    It didn't help that the front of the restaurant resembles a downtown café and offers little inspiration about the experience you may have inside, you think medioacre Coffee Shop at best, and not one of those that provide the 'extras' either. But this is part of the charm. You go expecting little and come-out feeling like you have just bagged the lotto! Once you have scratched the veneer you un-earth a gem of a restaurant.
    If you only like dining in raucous, contemporary settings then your Bang will be more of a squirel-fart, however if you can see beyond the pale interior and slightly dull persona you will be rewarded with a firework of flavour combinations that leave the mouth feeling as though the War of '53 is still taking place.
    I opted, on the advice of fellow Qypers, for the intriguingly named; Yukhoe dolsot bibimbap (try saying that with a mouthful of seaweed) and even had a go pronouncing it instead of the usual bingo-calling; I'll have a number 66 please. It arrived within minutes and the lovely waitress encouraged me to mix-up the thinly sliced veg, sticky rice, almost-minced raw beef and perfectly formed raw egg yolk as if I were a mad two-year old. After augmenting with a lovely glug of chilli sauce I had my first wallop what came next was a super-tasty congealed mess of flavours; almost-naked (slightly cooked) egg, strong, rich, raw beef, sticky but delicate white rice and fresh baby veg locked in a powerful and excitable four-some! Bang! I'll definitely come again!

    • Qype User Jagell…
    • Dorking, Surrey
    • 1 friend
    • 50 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    29/11/2008

    Very good Korean food with friendly service. Handily placed for Farringdon station and for a browse on Leather Lane market if coming at lunch time. Not too expensive, and with an extensive menu, this is a place I keep coming back to. It's also good if you want to take a decent sized group because it never seems to get too busy.

  • 4.0 star rating
    14/7/2012

    Pleasantly surprised to find really good Korean food in London. Yu kae jang was nice and spicy, rich broth. Dolsot bibimbap was yummy.  Bulgogi was tender and tasty. Service was excellent, uncommonly gracious & accommodating. A great find, highly recommend!!

  • 4.0 star rating
    3/3/2012

    Definitely one of the better Korean restaurants that I've been to in London so far. Delicious!

    • Qype User jimena…
    • London
    • 3 friends
    • 18 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    22/7/2009

    good food, clean and simple space, i like it for lunch

    • Qype User Irielo…
    • London
    • 0 friends
    • 2 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    12/12/2009

    This is an outstanding restaurant: authentic, delicious and friendly. The large coachloads of Korean visitors flocking here at the weekend are testament to its quality. Try it, it's a bit different and worth a trip!

    • Qype User rabhar…
    • London
    • 1 friend
    • 8 reviews
    1.0 star rating
    6/9/2010

    After reading the reviews here I was really looking forward to eating here. It is quite expensive, so I had saved it for a special occasion.
    The menu has a lot of choice, though very few purely vegetarian dishes, but many with a vegetarian option available.
    I chose a (vegetarian option available) tofu and vegetable broth, and my dining partner chose prawn with noodles.
    The food looked amazing when it arrived, but the second thing I pulled out with my chopsticks was a prawn. There was no mention of seafood in the dish on the menu and I had asked for the vegetarian option. As mentioned in another review, the waitress spoke very little english, which would certainly explain a lot!
    She took my dish, stared at it for about 30 seconds and then disappeared. No explanation, nor an apology.
    After five minutes with my dining partner politely waiting despite her food going cold awaiting her, and with no further explanation coming from the restaurant, we walked out and went to Oriental Taste on Laystall Street.
    So, if you have vegetarians in your party, or even just care about getting what you ordered, avoid this place until they get their act together!
    Addendum: I just read this to my dining partner to make sure I was giving a fair review and she tells me there were no prawns in her prawn noodles, I guess they were all in my broth!!

    • Qype User RedSmu…
    • London
    • 0 friends
    • 3 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    25/5/2011

    Great little Korean restaurant in Clerkenwell. The staff is always attentive without hovering and the food is the best out of all the Korean restaurants that I've tried in London. Their Kimchi is their own recipe and their Bimbimbap and Bulgogi are outstanding. They have even starting serving cheongju (a sweet rice wine served from a metal teapot). Yummy!

    • Qype User thnder…
    • London
    • 0 friends
    • 3 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    26/2/2012

    The food is great here  had the Pajeon (korean pancake) as the appetizer and it was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.. soooo delicious! Soup was spicy and yummy and bibimbap was also excellent. Prices were affordable, but not dirt cheap. Best of all, very authentic if you are craving Korean!

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