Haymarket Walk seems to be getting a new lease of life recently. Mathilda’s Chilli Bar is proving popular, and Mayflower continues to be regarded as one of the top Chinese restaurants in Bristol. There’s an Oriental supermarket, which also serves bubble tea, and now you’ll also find an organic Korean cafe in the form of Sky Kong Kong.
August 7th, when I visited, was only the cafe’s eighth day of trading. Its unassuming exterior features a simple, hand-painted sign, and a few paint-splattered tables and chairs at which diners can sit.
Inside, Sky Kong Kong has the feel of a second hand shop: it’s welcoming, informal and unassuming. Two long wooden tables are adorned with various vegetables and vases of flowers; wooden wall shelves display a selection of hats and cake stands; and a large bookcase houses a variety of mismatched crockery, along with a selection of cookery books that can be read as you are waiting for your order to be prepared.
At the helm in the kitchen is Chef Wizzy, whose Korean roots combine with her Michelin-starred restaurant experience to create daily changing Bento boxes, using fresh, organic, local and seasonal ingredients. Her aim is to provide nutritious, healthy food that benefits both your body and your mind, with a range of different ingredients coming together to create a filling and affordable meal.
A recent Korean bento box lunch featured grilled chicken breast, pan fried sardine, sweet potato noodles with sautéed vegetables, braised kimchi, wild black rice, British heritage tomatoes with mozzarella and balsamic vinegar – and a mixture of meat, fish, salad, vegetables, kimchi, pickle, pancake and rice is generally what will be on offer. On the day of my visit, however, the meal (there is only one choice per day) had a Spanish flavour, with a seafood paella, potato tortilla and salad.
No complaints here. Although it wasn’t the most authentic Spanish paella, it was perfectly tasty and well-prepared. The rice was beautifully seasoned with a nice kick to it, and still had a decent amount of bite. Super sweet red peppers, slivers of onion, halved cherry tomatoes and peas accompanied the tender prawns and mussels (still in their shells) and translucent flakes of white fish that sat on top. The seasoning was perfect – I pushed my unsqueezed lemon wedge to one side.
Rather than being prepared with chunks of potato, the tortilla was more sturdy in its construction, filled with layer upon layer of thinly sliced potato. I loved the crisp top too.
The salad? Well, that was a bit of an odd one. Fresh nectarine, strawberries, orange and cherries sat on top of a bed of seasoned rocket leaves – a bizarre combination.
When it comes to drinks, diners can choose from a wide variety of teas (£2.80 each), orange juice, Korean ginseng juice or – strangely – Yakult: I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen this on a menu! The drinks menu is apparently a work in progress, but also featured two freshly blended options: “Strawberry Field” (£2.50 – strawberries, grapefruit, yoghurt and honey) or “Golden Sunshine” (also £2.50 – pineapple, mango and golden syrup). I chose the Golden Sunshine, which was beautifully summery and fresh.
At the time of writing, Sky Kong Kong was still very new. If you’re reading this close to August 7th, head down there soon – they currently have an opening offer of a bento box for just £3. While the prices should increase as they become more established, they have made it clear that they want to keep it as an affordable venue.
There’s plenty more to come from Wizzy over the coming weeks, with added options such as Korean barbecue, as well as breakfasts with fresh juices, breads, eggs and homemade jams. Evening meals were also mentioned while I was there, so keep an eye out on their Twitter feed and Facebook page for more information.
Currently open from 12-7pm, it’s a great alternative choice to the bog standard sandwich if you’re working or living nearby. Recommended.