Catching up with friends over food is my favourite thing to do so when my friend Claire came to visit me, I decided to take her to one of my favourite haunts in Birmingham. Topokki is a little Korean Cafe serving ‘home style food’ and I was happy to discover that the owners and staff were all Korean. Some reviewers have described it as a ‘Seoul Urban Cafe’ but since I’ve never been to Seoul I wouldn’t know – but I am desperate to visit! If you remember this post on an unauthentic Korean restaurant – then you’ll be pleased to know that this place passed the Kimchi test. It’s really good and definitely authentic. Topokki is also the name of one a well known Korean dish of rice cakes…which confused a few of my Korean friends as it is like calling a Mexican place ‘Burito’ or something.
We started with some Manduguk which is a dumpling soup – and perfect for a cold Winter’s day. I have to admit that I was pretty distracted with those bowls and plates. Just LOOK at the adorable cat, I’ve never seen tableware so cute!
We also had bulgogi bibimbap which is a signature Korean dish full of vegetables, rice and beef which you mix all together along with a chilli pepper sauce. That day was also pancake day and so we thought it was only fitting that we went for the Kimchijeon, which is a type of savoury pancake dish. It looks a little burnt in the pictures but luckily it didn’t taste that way at all. It’s probably my favourite thing to order there.
My friend Claire is an English teacher in China and has a love for K-pop too so she was rather pleased to listen to the K-pop playing in the background. She is now back in China and I get to see her fleetingly about once a year when she visits home. She has a great instagram account if you are interested in following her daily adventures as an International English teacher in Guangzhou, China.
Lastly, I have to mention the amazing wall illustration. Every time I go to this place I stare at the beautiful line drawing. It features a street full of traditional Korean architecture on the wall with lots of quirky details. It is all hand drawn which makes it even lovelier!