Finsbury Park’s got personality. From the morning pile up outside the station to nights of rum-fuelled regret at Rowan’s, it’s not a quiet area. But it does have everything anyone local could need. That’s why Dotori is this neighbourhood’s perfect restaurant. They’re kindred spirits.
Like Finsbury Park station, Dotori is always moving. It’s incessantly hectic. And, like the station, the surrounding area completely relies on this Korean/Japanese hybrid. If we lived close enough, we’d rely on the kkanpungi chicken daily. We’d probably marry it. Dotori opens for dinner at 5pm and there’s somebody waiting outside at 4:58pm every day. It’s that kind of place.
What they’re waiting for is of course the food. Yukgejang is an ideal winter warmer, moist beef in a tingly stew with rice. It’s an edible hand warmer. An anti-SAD order. And it’s under a tenner. Perfect for a lone commuter seeking cover, and even better value between two. Much of Dotori’s menu is made for sharing. It’s stuff you and others are meant to get involved with together, piling beef bulgogi onto lettuce leaves, hoping that lovely seafood pancake holds between your chopsticks as you dunk.
Although Dotori does Korean and Japanese, we tend to stick with the former. London’s sushi is, for the most part, like its transport system. Unreliable, stodgy, and smelling of something you’re not quite sure about. This stuff is fine, it’s just nothing to write home about. But that’s okay. Every person in London should have a side-hustle, sushi and soba is Dotori’s.
Restaurants near train stations don’t tend to set the world on fire. But Dotori is a different kind of neighbourhood/commuter restaurant. It’s a cash-only reflection of the station next door. And it deals with the same families, lone travellers, and hungry couples. It’s fulfilling and filling, without giving two hoots about feelings in the process. You need to get involved in this restaurant. You want something, go and ask for it. That or adopt the movements of a car wash air dancer mid-hurricane. It usually does the trick. That’s not to say the folks at Dotori don’t care. They’ve just got a group of five waiting outside and half the neighbourhood to serve.
These little sides are essential with anything you have. You’ve got some tangy cucumber and carrot kimchi, salty seaweed, and three pickled veg.
This crispy and soft seafood pancake is sliced into soldier-like pieces for you to dunk in soy.
These look and taste like nice ’n spicy Nik Naks. If you have any taste at all, you will know that’s a very good thing.
Moreish. That’s what this sizzling beef is. Even better is that you load it into lettuce leaves and cover it in a sweet, fruity sauce. Warning: do not bite into your hand when eating.
A tender and spicy beef stew that’s good for one (or perfect for two).
Completely decent gyoza. Not the best, not the worst.
Like a lot of sushi in London, this stuff is fine (but not really all that if you’ve had the good stuff). Personally, we prefer the Korean side of the menu here.
Again, this is a completely decent chicken teriyaki.