Bristol's Bokman plans for second opening

The founders of an authentic Korean restaurant concept in Bristol have announced plans to launch its second outpost in the city.

Husband and wife Duncan Robertson and Kyu Jeong Jeon have built a loyal following since launching Bokman on a steep Stokes Croft side street in October 2019. With truly authentic Korean cooking still relatively rare in the UK, Bokman is considered somewhat of an industry secret for those in the know, offering skilled techniques, complex flavours and a relaxed vibe.

This year marks a milestone for the restaurateur duo, as they embark on the opening of their second Bristol venue later this year. 

The couple met in Paris while working at the two-Michelin-starred L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon and went on to become executive chefs for the opening of Restaurant L'Envie in southwest France, where they helped the venue secure a Michelin star. 

Working together on their very own concept, ideas for the couple's dishes come from their own experiences in South Korea, offering a unique joint Korean and British perspective.  

Dining at Bokman

The menu is an authentic representation of Korean fare, but the menu takes a format more akin to the European restaurant scene, offering a selection of sharing dishes. In Korea, restaurants typically specialise in just one dish, whereas Bokman offers a range of classics. Inspired by destinations such as Seoul, Gangwon and Jeju, the pair have recreated a traditional neighbourhood restaurant that prioritises food over interiors and fancy presentation. It offers 35–40 covers split across two floors, with a couple of streetside tables located outside. 

Like butter in French cooking or olive oil in Italian, jangs are the soul of Korean cooking and almost all staple dishes centre on the use of three types of jang: ganjang (soy sauce), doenjang (miso) and gochujang (fermented pepper paste). The couple are proud to make their own gochujang on site, used in a wide range of dishes on the menu. Locals flock for the Tongdak – a wood oven-roasted chicken stuffed with rice and served with dipping sauces; and the newly-added Korean street food favourite, Tteokbokki, featuring strips of fish cake made with cuttlefish, cod and cubes of rice cake, served in a richly-spiced sauce with crispy gimmari for dipping. 

Desserts are simple yet satisfying, including Kyu's matcha and chestnut tiramisu. Drinks include Korean beer, low-intervention wine, cocktails and the Korean rice spirit, Hwayo Soju. The team also serve a delicious homemade Omija-cha – traditional Korean tea made from dried magnolia berries. 

(Image: Christian Barnett/Bokman)

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