Having been to the now defunct St. Giles branch, many years ago, I was surprised to find that they had relocated to Waterloo. The blame coming down to Crossrail’s mass exodus of the Koreantown in St. Giles and now Po Cha finds solace in the rather eclectic Lower Marsh in Waterloo. On my visit they had yet to plaster their windows with enticing photos of Korean dishes, what seemed customary at St Giles, which somehow degrades the whole experience of being lost in a maze of Korean posters. If memory serves me right the old Po Cha was dark and dingy, barbecue smoke filling the room. The new and “improved” Po Cha keeps the pitch black walls but somehow manages to feel much more light and airy, possibly simply because of the fresh lick of paint.
Their online presence still very much pits them at St Giles so it’s quite difficult to judge whether relocating has dented their reputation but on my visit it seems the food remains standard. The seafood pajeon just wasn’t up to scratch. A rather limp attempt where it wasn’t browned evenly so parts were crispy whilst parts were doughy and a hint of vinegar was already in the pajeon. The little morsels of squid did even less to bring it to life. The main went down much better and much larger! I ordered the Fried Squid and Bulgogi with a bowl of rice. The spiciness of the dish was just right and came in ample proportions. It’s definitely a dependable dish with a bowl of rice and a pint of Hite to wash it down!
Outside of the food Po Cha manages to charm. The place feels much “cleaner” than before or potentially the new-ness hasn’t warn off yet. Service was friendly and efficient with the usual confused Korean charm and as always Po Cha is a hit with Korean expats and students with K-pop blaring from the speakers. I find what’s always a good sign of a traditional restaurant is if they play songs from their country.
Overall if you’re down in Waterloo Po Cha might be a good choice for some variety but it serves standard Korean fare that isn’t difficult to find elsewhere.
Address: 30 Lower Marsh, London, SE1 7RG
Telephone: 07787 414 249
Minimal online presence, here is a post they shared on a Korean community forum with some photos.
Panda ate, shot and left.