Raon, Korean barbecue restaurant in Brighton, has been open since 2010, although it recently changed its name from Binari. It’s often filled with Asian diners and offers authentic Korean cuisine on Brighton’s Preston street.
Visited: February 2017
Very laid back no-frills restaurant
The beef bulgogi tasted excellent
The dishes were quite pricey for the portion sizes
The cleanliness of the restaurant, I quite like that it’s not too fancy but there was lots of food splashed up the wall next to where I was seated, which was a little offputting
To begin we ordered some meat mandoo (dumplings) to share. Sadly, these were unavailable so we ordered the vegetable ones instead. These didn’t arrive until our mains were served but they were very tasty. However, we felt that £8 a portion was quite expensive given the portion size of five very small dumplings. It was also disappointing that the meat mandoo was unavailable and that it took so long to communicate it to us, our main was almost with us by the time we were informed they had run out.
For a main dish we were drawn towards the DIY barbecue as this looked really fun – a stove is brought to your table and you cook your own meat. The ready done assorted barbecued bulgogi costs £25 and comes with rice, soup and kimchi (fermented cabbage and chilli). To order a DIY version of the same dish without the side dishes costs £36. This seemed like quite a high mark up to receive less food and to do the hard work yourself. Our waiter didn’t seem to have an explanation as to why this version didn’t come with any of the side dishes.
As a result of the confusing and seemingly high pricing, I opted for a simple beef bulgogi (‘Bul” means fire and “gogi” means meat), which was barbecued for me and did come with soup, rice and kimchi. Tim ordered the pork belly bibimbap (a dish that means ‘mixed rice’ and is traditionally meat and rice served with sauteed seasoned mixed vegetables). We ordered two Korean Hite beers to go with our food.
The food arrived fairly promptly and my first thought of my main dish, bulgogi, was similar to my starter, in that it was a meagre portion for the price tag (£10.50). Nevertheless, the beef was delicious with just the right sweetness. The accompanying soup was fairly bland, a clear tasteless broth with tofu and spring onions.
The kimchi had a nice heat and was one of the better ones I’ve tasted.
The bibimbap was a colourful tasty bowl of Korean flavours and textures.
Overall, it was nice food but for the price of the dishes I would have expected better cleanliness in the restaurant, improved communication on what dishes were available and larger portions. However, I would return for a tasty Korean fix.
Overall verdict: 7/10
Cost of food: Our meal for two people including a shared starter and beer each cost approximately £40.
31 Preston St,
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