Ginger and Garlic
Ginger and Garlic Korean – Your Kimchee Fix is Here.
The Longer Read Ginger and Garlic is (we think) Cheltenham’s first and only Korean restaurant. It’s also a takeaway and are those karaoke booths? The restaurant is in frontierland on the Lower High Street. No scores yet from us, we want to check it out properly, but on the basis of a quick bibimbap (see below) we’ll be back.
Korean food is fast, interesting and exciting. You’ll have heard of kimchee, the fermented cabbage/vegetable side dish that has a legendary status in the west, but which is pleasant enough. I get my Korean friends to try Marmite, by way of revenge. Other prominent Korean ingredients that might be less familiar include Gochujang (fermented chilli & soy bean paste) and soy bean paste in general. You’ll also see Gochugaru (red pepper powder) on the menu a lot – it’s a winner, with a lemony, acidic heat.
Finally, you’d better like sesame oil, because that’s king in Korean cooking. Bimbimbap is the Korean comfort food of rice vegetables gochujang sauce and an egg on top.
Perhaps surprisingly, there’s also a section on the menu for fish and chips. That’s sometimes a cop-out for the unadventurous eater in the group, but they make a feature of it at Ginger and Garlic. Fish and Chips come in Panko breadcrumbs and seaweed salt with promises on ethical sourcing. If that still sounds a bit routine, you can order Grilled Salted Mackerel (we should eat more mackerel) or Grilled Hamachi Jaw (£8.80), served with lime and grated radish. Hamachi is yellowtail, a game fish. I look forward to trying that one.
I also liked the sound of Bulgogi, ginger marinaded beef with soy sauce and chilli sauce served with lettuce wraps and rice. The Koreans have a way with tofu and a veggie wouldn’t be bored here. There’s agadashi fried tofu – OK that’s a Japanese thing, but it’s just made for all those Korean flavours and side dishes. There’s a nifty version available at Kibou though.
The frontage is smart/functional and prices are pretty good – mains between £5 and £11.
Drinks at Ginger and Chilli
Ginger and Chilli were still sorting its licence out, so bring your own, in case.