I’ve been feeling quite under the weather this week, and Ban Ban Kitchen came to the rescue on Thursday with some absolutely quality comfort food. It’s a small street-food style Korean fusion restaurant near Boddinstrasse which does a few things well: burgers, rice bowls, tacos and some really stellar kimchi fries.
These are a meal in themselves (there’s soy meat in there, and the beer bottle in the picture should give an idea of the enormous portion size) but we got burgers and split them between three as a side. They were incredibly indulgent and absolutely delicious: hot and crispy chips, flavourful soy meat and kimchi, and a highly addictive combination of mayo and chilli sauce slathered over everything. I assume the sauce was gochujang, and it was superb – definitely a step up from sriracha, in my view.
I had the same soy meat in my burger – all the menu options come with a choice of either chicken, soy or beef. When the food arrived we actually had a discussion about whether they’d given us beef by accident, because my non-vegetarian friend thought it was uncannily realistic. I liked it in the fries, as the soft and chewy soy meat was a good contrast to the chips, but in the burger I think I would have preferred some crispy tofu or something with a bit more texture to it. Essentially, something along the lines of the tofu burger at Burgermeister. Please bring it back, Burgermeister, I’ll do anything. However, my friend absolutely loved it and said she would start looking for soy meat to cook at home, so I guess it’s a question of taste.
Otherwise, the burger was decent but not outstanding – a good bun and nice salad, including red cabbage, which I really liked. Due to the aforementioned need for comfort food, I paid an extra 50 cents to add cheese, which turned out to be a very good decision. My one major complaint is that the whole thing was basically at room temperature. So was the soy meat on the kimchi fries, although the fries themselves were hot and clearly freshly cooked. I understand that this is a fast food joint and they’re just assembling pre-prepared food when you order, but taking an extra 60 seconds to heat it up properly would unquestionably have been worth it.
That one issue aside, it was an excellent meal. The restaurant itself is also very nice – it’s all very bright and shiny and new, with lots of colourful wall art and neon signs but still quite a clean, streamlined look. They’ve done a good job at creating a fun atmosphere and a place that’s quick and casual but still a nice environment to sit and chat for a while.
Staff are friendly and prices are reasonable – I paid €8.80 for the burger and a third of the fries, which was a very good amount of food. I’ve already enthusiastically recommended it to my most Korean barbeque-obsessed flatmate, and I can definitely see myself going again (will probably skip the burger and just fall face first into the kimchi fries).
Side note: we went on for a drink at Frosch König, which is only a couple of minutes’ walk away, and really liked it. It’s a lovely, cosy bar, with lots of fairy lights and a wood-burning stove, and they get extra points from me for offering Früh Kölsch. If you try Ban Ban Kitchen, I’d definitely recommend checking it out as well.
Kimchi fries: 10/10
Value for money: 7/10
Ban Ban Kitchen
Schillerpromenade 32, Neukölln