August 21, 2012 Closed, Korean, New Town No Comments

MJ’s Verdict
Today, after a successful book festivalling morning, Blythe and I tottered along George Street until it began chucking it down, then we ducked into a bus stop and awaited the worst of it to pass before continuing our way to Shilla, a Korean restaurant on Dundas Street.

When we entered the lower ground floor space with foreign symbols on the walls, it felt like the place was a nice mix of what I would expect to find in South Korean diners, made into an approximation of what the Edinburghian market would expect from such a place. It was charming, and when we were seated at a table in one of the wee side areas, I was looking forward to our Korean meal.

Wee tasters

The lunchtime menu is pretty big and we opted to simply order mains and a side of kimchi. I ordered the bul go ki, or chargrilled beef marinated in soy sauce and served with salad. Blythe went for one of the all-in-one dishes.

After we ordered, a group of four wee snacks to get us started: boiled potatoes, seaweed, aubergines, and marinated tofu. All had an underlying hint of soy, but each was flavoured uniquely and I enjoyed them all, but ranked them 1. Aubergines 2. Tofu 3. Seaweed 4. Potatoes.

We made short work of the wee starters and soon our mains arrived. Mine came first, sizzling on the hot plate, with a side of boiled sticky rice and iceberg lettuce and a miso dipping sauce. Then Blythe’s arrived, a large stone pot filled with various healthy bits.

Bul go ki

I first tried the salad in the miso-based sauce, which worked considerably better than the sad cabbage we were served at Yummi Tori a few weeks ago. My beef was good. It reminded me of a less heavy version of the Mongolian Beef I used to order from the Chinese restaurant back home. It was slightly sweetened with a few onions in it for good measure. Not oily, and generally well-flavoured.

The kimchi was a revelation. Who knew I’d rather like it? It was a very slight touch spicy (but to be fair, I have pretty strong tolerance for spice-as evidenced by when Blythe and I both had small spoonfuls of his hot sauce and I didn’t think it hot at all), and had a pickled flavour that I found moreish. I must say that I did try it with both the miso and the fruity hot sauce, and though I could eat it mixed together… it was not something I’d inflict on others.

Miso soup

Kimchi and Miso based sauce

The service was friendly and not intrusive, but attentive when they were needed. The place is quirky, and I bet that I would rather like to explore Korean food more and I’d be happy to go back when the craving strikes.




Blythe’s Verdict
Today was, for sure, a day to appreciate Korea. After a lovely morning spent with Kyung-Sook Shin, which followed our regular morning ritual of practicing “Gangnam Style” dancing, it seemed only fitting to eat Korean food for lunch, so we headed to Shilla, on Dundas Street.

After negotiating a little rain burst, and the continued fact that I can’t distinguish effectively between Frederick and Hanover Streets (and in turn, Howe and Dundas Streets), we found ourselves entering the labyrinthine venue.

Decor is quite simple, with a blend of wallpaper and exposed stone, with the odd piece of traditional art to break things up.

Dol sot bi bim bab, as served

Service was welcoming and friendly, and upon being shown to our table, we found menus awaiting us. These offered a large range of options. Having previously eaten at Kim’s Mini Meals, on the other side of town, I somewhat knew my way around the menu.

MJ opted for beef bul go ki, while I chose the hot stone delights of bibimbap. We opted to share a portion of kimchi, the traditional Korean pickled cabbage dish.


Before our dishes arrived, we got to sample some starter portions of potato, aubergine, shredded leaf and tofu. The aubergine was lovely, the tofu very good, the leaf shreds good, and the potato a bit ordinary. Overall, this was a pretty good start to matters.

Our main courses arrived promptly, and looked very good. My dish had a good array of interesting vegetables, and the dish had good flavour that was augmented by adding the nicely spiced hot sauce, which accompanied my dish. The little bowl of miso soup was always likely to be a winner with me, too.

Dol sot bi bim bab, mixed up

I attacked the dish with considerable chopstick vigour, but had to resort to using the big spoon when rice grains began to outnumber the more easily grabable items, towards the end of the bowl.

So, I was pleased with our visit to Shilla. It provided us with good, filling, well-seasoned dishes, at a reasonable cost. Service was efficient, and the place is an interesting rabbit warren. I’d happily pop back, in the future.

MJ scores Shilla
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 14/20

Blythe scores Shilla
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 14/20

Today’s questers were: Miriam, Blythe

We ate: tofu, potato, shredded leaf and aubergine starter samples; beef bul go ki; Dol sot bi bim bab; kimchi

We drank: sparkly water

We wore: exquisite brogues, stripey shirt

Total bill: £23.40

Shilla on Urbanspoon

Written by BKR