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Restaurant Review: Hamgipak or Ham Gi Pak in New Malden

New Malden is not a place you necessarily want to visit (despite only being 15 minutes by train from Waterloo).  The office block above is their idea of modern architecture. There is, however, one very redeeming thing about New Malden;  Koreans.  It is the centre of London’s Korean community.  Whilst that may not do anything for the architecture it means great things for the food.

Before going to New Malden Jen and I sat down and did serious amounts of research. New Malden is relatively established as a food tourism site in London.  I’ve been before and have vague memories of eating Korean bbq out of an oil drum on the side of the street.  The boards of chowhound have a series of recommendations, Time Out has reviewed a few and there are odd mentions on blogs here and there.

One of the ones which keeps coming up is Hamgipak or Ham Gi Pak which is placed on a suburban high street of exquisite shitness.  Chain shops, boarded up fronts and tack.  Hamgipak has gone for the clean wooden feel inside.  It is a bit like a Korean Wagamama which has seen slightly better days (I know the New Yorkers amongst you are thinking David Chang… and yes).

We were intending to order a few dishes there and continue our culinary tour but Jen went into a Korean frenzy and just started pointing at things.  Korean chicken wings and pancakes started flying out of the kitchen which were then joined by kimchi and various other overordering by Jen.

We steeled ourself and began.  There is no need to do a dish by dish breakdown; it was all outstanding.  It was the kind of meal which restores your faith in restaurants.  Supper clubs are all well and good, pop up is fine but sometimes you just want to go to a restaurant which has a permanent address, eat food, pay and leave.  The whole meal cost £30 and was just 15 minutes away by train from London “proper”.  As an aside it does make me think about why I bother with the more expensive inner London variety of restaurants.
But back to Hamgipak, Jen’s favourite dish was the Korean chicken wings which, chanelling her Chinese heritage, she started ripping into until there were mere bone fragments left.  They were fantastic.  My favourite was a Korean pancake which was like an Asian toad in the hole with the batter folded over itself. It was a little revelation for me.  The other dishes were also good.

The one problem with this was that we didn’t have anything left in us to continue our culinary tour of New Malden.  Which is kind of good as we will be back.  Just as a note if you are thinking of striking out to New Malden yourself, Hamgipak was just meant to be a cheap canteen Korean pitstop on the way to another Korean restaurant which looks like it could be rather good – Jee Cee Neh.  Let me know if you have already been and it is good.

Price – £30 for two

Ham Gi Pak on Urbanspoon

27 Comments

  1. Mr Noodles

    I feel like a crap foodie as New Malden is less than 15 mins by train for me yet I still haven't made the short trip here. The Korean pancake is my favourite too!

  2. Lizzie

    Hangipak has been on my must-visit list for ages – many say it's the best Korean in New Malden.

  3. Tom

    Mr Noodles – I am still in awe of how cheap and good and close the Korean food is in New Malden. Every time I think of dumping a bunch of cash in a so so restaurant in the middle of time I am going to try and remember – New Malden, New Malden.

    The amazing thing is this was just the first place we stopped at and it was really good. And it is just a canteeny type venue.

    Lizzie – there are a lot down there. That other one I mentioned in my post I am really keen to go to as it looks a bit more like a "serious" venue. One think which Hamgipak doesn't have is the traditional Korean bbq at your table which I love and want to find (in New Malden)

  4. Surizzle

    Mama and Papa Surizzle live a very short drive away from New Malden (don't faint, TT, they live in Coombe, which is significantly better) and I would highly recommend Sorabol (opposite Hamgipak, if I recall correctly). The place used to be a branch of Asadal (near Holborn tube). The lady owner is graciousness personified and the food is divine. I remember in particular the egg-coated courgette, bulgogi and bibimbap. It is a proper restaurant but not much more expensive than what you paid above.

  5. London Chow

    Nice one, Tom. I used to head to New Malden quite a bit for its grocery stores. Well, that was before I found out about the one at Centrepoint. Interestingly, a Korean friend of mine recommended me to Korean restaurants (Jin Go Gae and Cah Chi) that are off the High Street.

    Oh, seafood pancake is a favourite of mine as well!

  6. Tom

    Surizzle – I went to Asadal in Holborn a while ago for supper and really enjoyed it. I then recommended it to my dad who went for lunch and he said he had a crappy meal so I haven't been back. I see it still gets good reviews so I probably should. Or I can go to Sorabol as suggested by you and have another excuse to go to New Malden. I really want to hit some of the grocery stores down there and stock up on kimchi,

    London Chow – I'll put all of these suggestions in an ever growning list of places to try in New Malden. It has been quite a refreshing experience going there. Just good food, cheap and everything I love about London's international food vibe.

    I can't sleep atm and am dreaming of seafood pancake!

  7. Surizzle

    I like Asadal too and went fairly often when I used to work in the bulbous building around the corner. However, your father's view is shared by some of my ex-colleague who had negative experiences. Arang on Golden Square is even better. If you can't bear visiting New Malden again, let me know and I'll pick up some kimchi for you.

    I wonder if they will ever open a Korean in the Wharf… scoff.

  8. Little Miss Random

    I just chanced upon your blog (was looking for reviews on Franco Mazzei's creations for Pizza Express as I love L'Anima but can't afford to go there that often). It's brilliant! Nice name too!

    I went to Hamgipak in February, and it was really nice. Much cheaper than central London. We had gone to New Malden with the intention of trying out one of the Korean restaurants, but found that almost all of them were closed on Sundays and ended up in the first open one we saw – and that turned out to Hamgipak. I'd love to return and try some of the other dishes. The beef I had was really good, although the kim chi and egg stew-like dish we had… not so much. Probably an acquired taste.

  9. Tom

    Little Miss Random – thanks for giving me the chance to stumble across your blog. Been enjoying reading your blog and it preventing me from sleeping. Love your choice of Massive Attack on music but City of Angels?!?!?!? Crazy…

    Glad to see it wasn't just us who loved Hamgipak. What I really like about New Malden is that I feel that Hamgipak is just the tip of the iceberk and there is so much good stuff to go…

    Ok better get back to not sleeping now

  10. Krista

    LOVE Hamgipak. I did a New Malden tour last year and it was AWESOME. We also did You Me and KJ. Hamgipak stole the show, so don't feel so bad about not getting any further!

  11. Tom

    Krista – interesting to hear as I was almost scared to think how addicted I would get to Korean food if there was something that much better!

    I think we will still go back to the one I mention in the post. Also I wander if there are any real BBQ places there as the smell of smoke in tme meal adds that something special!

  12. Krista

    When I was in New Malden, I asked around for a charcoal BBQ place and it doesn't seem to exist. All gas-powered BBQ. But if you find the real deal, please let me know!

  13. Dan H

    Tom, let's do a tour a New Malden before you're off, because I'm curious to see some of these places and get a bit of nostalgia out of it…

  14. Tom

    Dan H – it's a deal. You speak Korean, I'll eat.

  15. Little Miss Random

    Tom – I was young(er) and foolish when I started that list. I'm not planning on updating it just because I happen to be older and wiser now. I haven't even watched City of Angels, though I'd probably still enjoy the soundtrack!

    And thanks! I don't think my blog's at all worthy of keeping anyone up, so thank you very much. :)

  16. Anonymous

    the korean restaurant called butchers in new malden is great for fresh meat. its just by the train station opposite the glass house

  17. Anonymous

    oh and krista there is a place in new malden that does real charcoal bbq. its on burlinton road near the krispy kreme. its called jin go gae.
    google maps says its around 249 burlington road

  18. Tom

    Anon – I wish I had know about that place called Jin Go Gae. There is nothing charcol doesn't improve!

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