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Korean food and cocktails with bourbon and prosecco (that taste nice, seriously)

I grew up in a happy and lovely but sleepy suburb, and as a 15 year old it was a pretty exciting thing when my Friday night plan was not to stay at home and watch TV, but to go and split a Margherita (cheese and tomato kind) and tap water with my pals in Pizza Express.

I'd pull on my super unflattering, midrift and hip flab revealing, ultra low slung jeans that we also used to wear, my trusty kitten heels and be really pleased with my £4.74 night out. I'd be picked up by my Dad, home by 10:30pm and had basically zero chance of meeting a boy or anything more thrilling happening than a whole Sloppy Giuseppe to myself, but I looked forward to those nights, and saved my pocket money up for them. (Obvs I realise a whole Sloppy Giuseppe pizza is still one of the most thrilling nights a girl can have, but you get the gist).

When I went to uni in Manchester, and even more so when I moved to London for work, I went out to nice and interesting places to eat all the time, more as a way to avoid having to cook dinner than because I saw it as anything exciting. Instead of looking forward to cocktails and dinner, I started to see it as the norm, and actually if anything sometimes I got more excited by a night where all I had to do was eat soup and cheese and watch the telly.

The lack of contrast between nights in and nights out meant that even when something interesting and memorable hit me bang smack in the face, I didn't really appreciate it.

So when I started Loner. Lover. Friend, part of my reasoning was that I might have more nights in writing this blog, but by writing about things and by having more nights at home, I'd start to appreciate how lucky I am to live in such a vibrant and amazing city. I'd start making reservations again. I'd research places to go, rather than stumbling into the nearest happy hour I'd been to one thousand times before. I'd begin again to think about what outfit to wear to dinner, or at the very least put some extra lippy on in the work toilets before heading out.

Having said all that, sometimes on a very very chilly Monday evening, after a very very long day at work, a girl just needs to go somewhere where it is totally appropriate to wear your ugg boots, have messy hair and just have someone cook for you while you share a bottle of red with one of your best pals.

Enter Hurwendeki, Bethnal Green. Korean Restauarant/ Hair Salon/ Coffee shop in the best way possible.

Photo by Bessie Jewels

My friend Beth has started getting her haircut there - it costs just £14 and they do a lovely job and you don't have to sit in a "salon" that looks like Mr. Toppers. Like, its an actual salon and everything. We wanted to try out the restaurant part, so we headed there on Monday night, armed with a Tesco's half price bottle of red (it's BYOB, amazing, I know).

The first thing that made me realise this was not going to be just a slightly prentious and hipsterish attempt at a Korean restaurant (I mean where other than London's east end would you find a salon-coffee shop-Asian restaurant hybrid) and was potentially something more authentic, was that there were Korean people eating and cooking there.

The new trendy Asian cuisine, now that Thai, Chinese, Indian and even Vietnamese are old news, I have been to a couple of "Koreans" in my time, which have largely focussed on kimchi and the spicy but delicious Korean fried chicken. (Jubo and Japanese Canteen I've found do particularly good ones).

I was surprised to find no KFC (as in Korean Fried Chicken, not the Colonel's) on the menu, but I guess the menu was a more authentic one, ticking off a few of the Korean classics - bimbibap and kimchi - but also had lots of dishes I hadn't seen at the KFC joints: like Jeon - Korean style pancakes, and jiggae - Korean style stews.

Beth and I shared a portion of kimchi and seafood pancakes (as it is almost pancake day) which was squid and kimchi in what tasted like crepe mixture, but it actually really worked. We polished it all off.

For mains, I had samgyeopsal - crispy pork belly (just remembered that name off the top of my head....naaaaaat) with kimchi and doenjang (a soy bean paste) sauce.

Beth had chicken bulgogi - a Korean style barbeque with rice and vegetables. It was all fabulous.

We also added a portion of crispy seaweed - a healthier but not quite as moreish a version as the Chinese one covered in salt and chilli.

The wait staff were so lovely, and best of all it was super cheap. £26 for both of us!

Which meant it was completely ok, to sneak in an £8 cocktail or two in Satan's Whiskers on the way home.

I've never actually been in Satan's Whiskers before, though I've walked past the bar whose window looks a little bit like a display at the Horniman museum which has collided with  hipster pop up bar: a taxidermied badger in the window shaking a cocktail shaker, the skeleton of what I think is a dog, birds and snakes, frozen and stuffed, candles and cocktails.

Inside the dim lighting give it a speakeasy feel, but the 90s hip hop music assures you you are very much in 2015, or at least some year after 1994.

We drank rebel flip's - an adventurous mix of bourbon and prosecco, and it was delicious o' clock.


Check out Hurwundeki here, and Satan's Whisker's here.
I've started leaving out whether I've categorised something as Loner, Lover or Friend in the subtitle, as some of them were getting a little lengthy, and I figured the Lonely ones fosho might look a bit weird on bloglovin...

But for another yummy places to eat with a pal, check out Forza Win - Friend: Eat melted cheese with everything at Forza Win(ter)

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