Jiali Lu with permission for Varsity

The restaurant chain Yori – meaning “cook” in Korean – promises “fresh and authentic” Korean cuisine. It recently opened its second Cambridge location, landing sleekly on Green Street like a wood-panelled spaceship. With Leo still jet-lagged from a month in Korea and Daniel still stubbornly a kimchi virgin, it was time to investigate whether or not one of Cambridge’s hottest new eateries would live up to the hype.

In terms of atmosphere, we had no complaints. Cambridge is a city that closes egregiously early, so it’s nice to see Yori sticking it out till 11pm. The restaurant is always, from what we can tell, bustling with people, and the decor is crisp and classy, with marbled black tabletops and warm yellow lanterns. The doorway is also adorned with photographs of famous faces who came to visit. If Yori is good enough for the cast of Parasite, surely it’s good enough for us?

“This kimchi had progressed far past fermentation and become a biological hazard”

We started our meal with their signature boneless chicken platter. For the mammoth sum of £23 we were presented with 16 measly pieces of popcorn chicken – something you could get from any high street chicken shop for a fiver (probably with fries too). The main selling point was the tasty Korean sauces, but the chicken itself was tough and dry, ending up more of a disappointment than Week 0 Revs and only slightly less financially draining. Stars: 3/5 - avoid unless you’re using daddy’s money.

Next up was the courgette jeon (pancake) which was crispy to perfection and doughy to a tee. Leo was quoted as saying it was as good as any of the jeons he had in Korea, but where this one differed was in its £10.50 price point. For flour and a few slices of courgette, this was lamplight robbery. Stars: 4/5 - very good, but you can make it in your gyp for a quid.

Throughout the meal, Daniel was sampling Korea’s national beer, Cass. Cass is perfectly fine for Leo, but it failed to impress Daniel’s seasoned Lancashire palate – he found it mostly inoffensive and declared “it’s beer for people don’t like beer”. Despite being disappointing, the beer did serve the purpose of getting rid of Daniel’s shakes, making the chopsticks infinitely easier for him to use.


Mountain View

Coffee, cake, and conversation with Michael Wells

When the japchae and kimchi arrived, we realised we had hit a new culinary low. After a single bite, Leo sighed “this is the worst japchae I’ve ever had”. The noodles and beef were dully sweet, lacking in flavour and simply existing in our mouths. The kimchi was not content with simply existing and instead decided to choose hatred, obliterating us individually in mouthfuls of malicious sourness. Kimchi is, of course, supposed to be fermented – that’s what makes it so tasty. But this kimchi had progressed far past fermentation and become, in our opinion, a biological hazard. Daniel was left disoriented and scared, while Leo struggled to hold his chopsticks steady over the ominous rumbling of his ancestors turning in their graves. Stars: 0/5 - just unethical.

Yori is not a bad restaurant (hell, it’s probably one of the best in Cambridge) but it is, quite simply, disappointing. In Korea, eating is all about generosity. Tables are crammed with dishes and side dishes. Everything is shared, and when you finish a dish, it’s refilled – the eating stops only when everyone is full. Of course, this isn’t a viable business model for a London-based restaurant chain. But with its modest portions and highly ambitious prices, Yori fails to hit at the heart of Korean food. Next time we fancy a fun little Varsity date, we will go back to college and fry some jeons ourselves.