New Restaurant Review: ‘Oppa’

Amidst the influx of new students, St Andrews has also welcomed a new addition to its list of restaurants. Positioned in the middle of Market Street, ‘Oppa’ is a Korean restaurant that offers both a sit-in dining experience as well as catering to those who are in a rush and simply want to grab something to-go.

After three years of craving Korean food, I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by the establishment of a Korean dining experience. So what could be better than to go visit this new place – especially after a night of drinking.

My Order: Pork Belly Bibimbap

Priced at £12.50, the bibimbap comes in a large stone bowl, with a small container of sauce on the side. It is topped with kimchi, shitake mushrooms, beansprouts, cucumbers, carrots, fungus (my guess – cloud ears), peppers and a raw egg.

First impressions:

I was pretty amazed by the presentation of the dish. At first glance, it was large and authentic looking. I must admit, however, that I did not expect to see peppers in my dish, nor for the meat to be placed separately.

Pros

1) Large portion size – As shown the portion size is quite big. I managed to finish my food but it was definitely very filling (and worth the 12 pounds!) A few of my friends didn’t manage to finish the meal – so if you have a small appetite you could definitely split this in two and take the rest home!

2) Sauce on the side – I really like this as it caters to a wide audience with different levels of spice tolerance. As someone who likes spice, I just used all the sauce, but it’s definitely helpful if you’re not great with spicy foods or trying Korean food for the first time!


3) Crockery – I personally feel like the crockery in which food is served plays a big part in influencing one’s dining experience as well as the flavour of the dish. I loved how they used a stone bowl to serve the bibimbap, which kept the food at a really hot temperature and also allowed for scorched rice. Scorched rice, is when rice is slightly burnt (or slightly dried out) which gives it a crunchy texture – a common thing in some Asian cuisines and dishes!

4) Hot Food! – I am honestly a sucker for a nice hot meal. Perfect for a cold winter’s day!

Cons

Although I did generally enjoy the dining experience, there are a few things to consider.

1) Lack of marination – As I only tried the bibimbap, this does not extend to the other dishes they serve. I do wish the pork belly was marinated rather than boiled. It would also have been nice if the protein was incorporated into the meal rather than set aside.

2) Flavour – Most of the flavour came from the spicy sauce, so for my friend who wasn’t big on spicy foods, it was slightly bland.

Comparison to other places

1) Price – The price range is pretty similar to other Asian restaurants in St Andrews, such as ‘Tanon’ or ‘Dining Room’. Given the quantity of food, I believe it is an acceptable price range.

2) Food – Although the town is already home to restaurants that provide a fusion of Japanese and Korean food, ‘Oppa’ is a refreshing experience as no other restaurant provides hot Korean dishes.

3) Take out – To my knowledge, the take-out section provides a wide selection of food (from gyozas and sushi, to build-your-own poka bowl). This part of the restaurant definitely reminds me of ‘Combini co’.

If you’re considering heading to ‘Oppa’ I hope this review helped, and hope you enjoy your time there!

But I’m definitely looking forward to trying their stews next~

Start the School Year Off Right: Easiest dinner party recipe

The beginning of the term users in new flats, and along with it housewarming parties, so here is a stellar dinner party menu which is an assured way to wow your guests without requiring you to give up much of your precious free time before term gets underway. 

Main: Mussels

700g mussels scrubbed clean 

1 tablespoon butter (or can substitute for 1 tbsp olive oil) 

½ cup shallots chopped

4 cloves garlic diced

¾ cup roma tomatoes diced 

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Zest of one lemon 

½ cup white wine (dry works best – a Savugion blanc or prosecco) 

Pinch of black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley 

4 wedges lemon (for garnish) 

Wash the mussels thoroughly and discard any fibrous beards that are attached to the shells. Melt the butter in a pan and add the shallots and garlic until the shallots become soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and one tablespoon of the lemon juice and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the wine and lemon zest, then add the mussels and cover the pot for about 2-3 minutes, steaming them until the mussels open. To serve add the lemon wedges, parsley, and the rest of the lemon juice. 

Dessert: Chocolate Bark

90g cocoa butter (or coconut oil)

60g raw cocao powder 

50g maple syrup 

Toppings:

-optional for whatever you want, in the photo I used coconut flake and chopped almonds to create an almond-joy bark.  

Melt the cocoa butter or oil in a saucepan (this might take a while so you could put it in the microwave for a couple seconds first), then stir in the cacao powder and maple syrup. Line a pan with parchment paper and pour the chocolate mixture in. Add your toppings and put in the freezer to set. Keep the chocolate bark in the freezer for 30 minutes, then move to the refrigerator until served. 

Enjoy!