BI BAP, Palma
2020, Jan. 27th | by Jan Edwards
Flavoursome authentic Korean and Asian cuisine await you at this popular restaurant in central Palma.
Toothsome isn’t a word I use very often, but it sprang to mind as I was eating a delicious lunch at Bi Bap restaurant in Palma de Mallorca last week. If I hadn’t been eating alone, I’d have used that word in conversation with my lunch companion. Instead, I’ve saved it for this review.
Bi Bap is a small Korean and Asian restaurant, opened in November 2012. I’ve always found the cuisine rich in umami and interesting textures. Plenty of others do too: it’s best to book a table if you want to eat here.
The original Bi Bap is quite small, with unfussy but attractive décor (there’s a second Bi Bap space – the owners’ former Koh Korean gourmet restaurant – opposite). You can also eat outside, which is a more appealing proposition since a traffic ban in Plaça del Mercat came into force at the end of 2019.
The kitchen is at the rear of the restaurant and, to one side, is the open area where the sushiman does his work (from 12:30 – 16:00 h and 19:30 – 22:30 h).
The cuisine here is Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese, with a mix of contemporary, traditional, and fusion dishes. There’s an à la carte menu only – which includes a sushi section – but also some separate additional suggestions. Bi Bap’s busy kitchen uses seasonal local produce with authentic Asian spices and no monosodium glutamate (no such flavour enhancer is necessary here).
Apart from the sushi section, there are appetizers, soups, typical Korean dishes, Bi Bap-style dishes, and two types of kimchi. Some vegan and vegetarian dishes are included. The two ‘suggestions’ on the day I visited were Thai-style beef with fresh basil (14,50 €) and duck fillet in Korean red ginseng sauce (18,50 €). Authentic Korean dishes are also marked on the menu in that language.
I chose a starter of galbi gun mandu (8,90 €) – steamed dumplings with free-range beef in ‘galbi’ sauce. I had five dumplings in a deeply flavoured broth – delicious.
My main course was a generous helping of pato de Bi Bap – deep-fried crispy duck with vegetables and cashews, in a red curry, lychee and coconut sauce (16,00 €). It was not only delicious, but very satisfying – leaving me too full for dessert.
With a half-litre of sparkling water and an Americano coffee to finish, my bill came to 30,50 €. More economical lunches in Palma de Mallorca are available but, if you love authentic Korean and Asian cuisine and are in the heart of Palma, Bi Bap is the place to enjoy it. And use the word ‘toothsome’.
Photos: Jan Edwards / BI BAP
Prices and details correct at time of writing.