We’re huge fried chicken fans, and after seeing numerous photos of the boneless fried chicken at OBP, we decided to brave the queues and try out this popular Korean joint. OBP opened earlier this year during several COVID outbreaks, but it still managed to gain a massive following despite all the dining limitations. This is how we knew we were onto something good.
Opened by Westside Hospitality, the dining group that also runs Mexican restaurant 11 Westside and Westside Taqueria, OBP is a foray into the Korean sool-jip, or alcohol house, experience. Headlined by Chef Junwoo Choi, who most recently was at Jinjuu and Bib n Hops, the restaurant also offers a bevy of delectable beverages created by Daniel Eun, the beverage director of Westside.
We had to watch an instructional video sent by a friend before finding the hidden entrance of the restaurant. The main shopfront on Old Bailey is blocked, and instead, the entrance is through the back alley around the corner, with just a teeny-tiny sign. Gimmicky? One hundred percent, but as much as we hate to admit, this did add to the intrigue.
The dimly lit interior is furnished with wooden tables and loads of artificial flowers, making us a little wary that this could be just another Instagram outfit with all style and no substance.
Since we like to wisely spend our daily calories quota, we opted for a refreshing Dokdo gimlet ($120) made without sugar. The blend of chungha (Korean sake), green apple shrub and lime juice is only mildly sweet. This provided an instant cool-down from the unforgiving summer heat.
The OBP salad ($98) with baby gem lettuce, smoked ikura and shallot chips has delicious savoury flavours, but on our visit, it was a tad too drenched in the creamy yuzu dressing for our liking. We would have preferred just a smidgen of dressing so that we could have tasted the sweet crispness of the lettuce.
The honey butter corn ribs ($88 for 4) are deep-fried with a crunchy honey and butter glaze, then sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. This is a very rich, sugary dish that’s best shared.
The chicken is what drew us to the restaurant, and OBP’s boneless fried chicken ($108) did not disappoint. Each juicy piece is fried to golden, crunchy perfection, accompanied by an array of condiments including garlicky sweet chilli sauce and fried garlic chips. Finger-lickin’ good – though because it’s boneless, you don’t have to use your hands.
A classic dish on every Korean menu, the braised short rib ($358) features tender USDA Prime short rib simmered in a house-made soy broth alongside potato, daikon, carrot, mushroom and pine nuts. Fresh edamame is sprinkled on top before the pot hits the table. This dish takes some patience; it needs to bubble up like a cauldron on the portable gas stove that accompanies it, but it’s well worth the wait. It also feels like you have contributed to the cooking process – so you can give yourself mad props for creating such a tasty dish.
Apparently, Spam with rice is a popular lunch-box option for Korean kids. The salmon lunch box ($138) is a more upscale (and healthy) version of this childhood classic. Amber slices of soy-cured salmon are layered over nori-infused butter rice, and the trick is to put on the lid and shake the box in order to mix up the rice and salmon. If you have weak arms, you can always ask the cute general manager (who moonlights as a model) to shake things up for you.
As gimmicky as the hidden entrance and artificial flowers are, we still had a deliciously satisfying time at OBP. It’s easy to understand why this place has amassed such a huge following, and by the time we left at 7:30pm, there was a queue of at least 15 people. The food is hearty, the music is loud and the vibe is on point – just make sure you get there before 6pm (OBP opens daily at 5pm).
LG/F, 3–5 Old Bailey Street (enter via alleyway on Old Bailey), SoHo, Central (no bookings)
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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