CJ’s K-Cafe/ Life 4 Cuts


HONESTLY? I thought this was a nail bar at first, then maybe a toy shop; only when I was right inside the door and the two boys were pointing to the wall-mounted, super-interactive, highly-electronic, full-fat Korean menu did I take a seat.

Then I had some Kimbab. Filled with just-fried Spam. Yes. Spam. And rice. And herbs. And an omelette. Made, says the 23-year-old waiter-kid who has by now pulled up a seat at my actual table, freshly and only moments ago. By his big brother. And his big brother’s girlfriend, Aisha. Though she is actually also studying international contract law as we speak. Downstairs.

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The Bimbab? Think big sushi roll, plus that rice, wrapped in seaweed, salty Spammy flavours – yeah, something to do with the war and Korea – kinda weirdy delicious. If you like fried chopped pork cubes that is. I do.

Then…because this meal gets even weirder. Some pretty beautiful Takoyaki arrive. Deep fried, gooey batter, yep that is octopus inside, shavings of seaweed atop, pink wafery ribbons of dried fish too, splurges of mayo-esque sauce blasted over it all. Gulped down in one hot, tangy, savoury sensation. After another.

The Herald: The corndogThe corndog (Image: free)

At this point curiosity draws me like a doughball to one of the many walk-in stand-up photo-booths that line the walls. Linked directly to the other side of the world, apparently. Scary.

This I know because after I’ve presented my bank card and the waiter kid has come in with a selection of fun hats and glasses, sigh, ah what the hell, stuck his head in one photo, and the camera has gone clickety-click, I get a message saying these snaps are on their way to South Korea for processing. But will be right back. Which they are. Amazingly. Printing out in a roll of eight. So if my coupon ends up deep-faked onto the ass of a donkey on the that damn dark web remember you read it here first.

Then… we’re back at the table. And I’m still the only customer though a couple have come in to get their fun photos taken. And the brother is still cooking in the downstairs kitchen and Aisha’s brought the Spicy Tteok-Bokki.

Now, Carlsberg don’t make edible polystyrene sticks, but the Koreans apparently, okay definitely, do…Sort of. Some super-fiery, salty-savoury, this time sweet, chilli squirts kick-start on the flavour front.

But let’s not kid ourselves: this evening we’re eating mainly bouncy rice batons. Yes with flavour squirts. Plus…long thin slivers of what is apparently fish cake. Am not so big on this dish, but the waiter kid whose name is Sae, (we’re pals now) has just told me their dad makes the fish cake himself in his highly-rated restaurant in Aberdeen (Yorokobi). You need to keep up for this review.

How do kids from South Korea, end up In Glasgow, via London and Aberdeen? Hey, ask them yourselves when you’re in.


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Reading between the lines I’m guessing they might have persuaded Dad to support a big-in-South-Korea-instant-photo-shop in Finnieston. And Glaswegians are proving slow to appreciate the magic of insta-snappery. With hats. And glasses. Hence the sudden appearance of this K-Cafe inside. Using the family’s skills from running that Aberdeen place obviously.

Because I’ll tell you this, and I say it while lolling back in my chair eating a Corndog, some of the tastes are definitely great. The corndog? Shockerooni.

Somehow I expected hot-dog, but then I didn’t read the menu properly, did I? The first bite turns out to be what-the…mozzarella. And fishcake. Together. On a stick? And no sausage? Who knew?

I’ll finish with the Boneless Korean Fried Chicken, which they think is quite a big deal. It’s boneless, they keep saying. It is. Breast chicken chunks, coated, fried til crisp, smothered with a kind of Korean street-food sauce which I, surprising myself, correctly guess includes Gochujang chilli paste. It’s good.

Oh, almost forgot. I wash all of this down with a can of Gong-Gong. It’s Korean giant grape flavour. Apparently. With gooey lumps. Told you this was too weird. But also somehow fun.

The Herald: A dish from CJ’s K-Cafe/ Life 4 CutsA dish from CJ’s K-Cafe/ Life 4 Cuts (Image: free)

Menu: It’s South Korean, where they are big on Spam, and sushi it, plus frying chicken with gochujang, filling corndogs with fishcake. Much better than it sounds. 4/5

Service: Considering I was the only diner and my waiter-kid ended up pulling up a chair at my table as we chatted it’s a five. 5/5

Atmosphere: A bit like sitting inside a birthday cake, think pink; with photo booths round the walls. And props to wear. Oddball. In a very good way. 5/5

Price: The Spam Kimbab are a bargain at £8 (seriously), corn-dog’s £6.50, Spicy Tteokbokki £8, and a can of Bong-Bong £3.50, chicken £8,50. 3/5

Food: Okay it’s not haute-cuisine, but it’s different, interesting and South Korean street-food is always packed with great flavours: the Spam Kimbab were surprisingly great. 7/10


CJ’s K-Cafe/ Life 4 Cuts

1016 Argyle St, Finnieston, Glasgow

G3 07377 134537

Closed Monday, open 11am-9pm Fri and Sat, otherwise 1pm-9pm