“We’ll have the lot, please.”
The Rose & Crown is a big boozer nestled in the heart of the ‘Stow. It’s a classic ‘locals’ pub; the booze ‘n food offers sellotaped to the bar on neon card cut into star shapes, the local vagrant a mere drafty waft away and an eclectic music selection that throws Irish jigs followed by ambient jungle followed by Abba at you.
It’s also a celebrated CAMRA venue. We only know this because of the certificates on the wall. We know absolutely toss-all about real ale, but this pub is definitely on the circuit and they have an impressive array of regularly changing casks on offer, if that’s your thing.
It’s here where Kimchi Cult take over the kitchen for their Korean-style menu every Thursday night. We live in the mighty E17, so when we caught wind that someone was selling sliders at a pub a three minute bus ride away, we were straight down to sample everything we could get our hands on.
So, we ordered one of everything on their menu. It’s what we do.
We’ve come across Kimchi Cult before - a few times on Eat Street (where they pop up regularly) and when they were first getting started at Brick Lane Market. We’d not had their sliders or wings, since the street food tends to be geared towards subs. Being LA street food nerds, we’ve long been hankering after someone beefing up the Korean offerings here in London, Kogi BBQ style. There’s no Korean BBQ / Mexican fusion as you see over there, but we’re gradually heading in the right direction.
First out of the traps were the sliders: Kimchi burger, Kimchi Cheeseburger, Kimchi Cult Special (Bacon Cheeseburger), the Kimchi bacon and the Pulled Pork. Now, we won’t bore you right now, because that is for a longer post, but these are less ‘sliders’ than they are mini-burgers, but they are cute, dinky things indeed.
The stand out factor in most of these is, obviously, the namesake kimchi. You could liken it to the sauerkraut of Asia, with chunks of cabbage amongst a spicy red sauce, it provides a gentle, universal heat with a tiny side-pocket of sweetness to everything it covers.
Our recommendation would be the Kimchi Cheeseburger (surely you’d call it a Kimcheeseburger, right?) as it has the best flavour balance of kimchi, drippingly melted cheese and nicely (if only just slightly over-) cooked patty.
The pulled pork is boosted by a totally inspired fresh, zingy ginger coleslaw that got must-find-this-recipe shout outs instantly. If anything, the buns are a tad large and heavy dough-wise, but they don’t overly mask the taste of their contents.
However, Kimchi Cult really level up with their chicken wings.
They are outstanding - sticky, with a familiar base of chinese take away sweet and sour, but with a thump of hotness and extra lemongrass zip at the end. They taste double-fried.
We’d say the wings are worth braving the top end of the Victoria line for. We think they’re on to a real winner here, and get the inkling they do too.
Luckily you don’t have to travel up to the Walthamstow to check these guys out, as they pop up on Eat.st every now and again, and the wonderfully chatty Sarah told us there is more to come. We do hope so.
- Rob and Simon.