Jinjuu, Soho – A Cool Introduction to Korean Food!
September 19, 2017
I love the London food scene – mostly because you could eat out every night of the week and feast on different delights from around the world every single time.
Having never tried Korean food before, I was really excited to see what Jinjuu Soho had to offer (their Mayfair restaurant is currently closed). I most definitely wasn’t disappointed.
This cool and cosy casual eaterie on Kingly Street is slick and stylish. At the helm is owner and celebrity chef Judy Joo – star of the programme ‘Korean Food Made Simple, along with business partner and Executive chef Andrew Hale.
The emphasis is on traditional Korean street food with an ever-so-slightly refined twist and that’s exactly what was delivered.
With a more casual dining area downstairs along with the open kitchen, Korean graffit-ed walls and DJ’s on in the evenings, upstairs is more of a sit down, slightly more formal affair with high tables at the windows, low booths at the back and stools at the bar. And while it might be slightly more formal, you still have to be prepared to get your hands dirty, because not everything can be eaten with the gorgeous silver chopsticks you’re provided with which rest neatly on quirky silver screws.
Take for example the speciality Korean Fried Chicken – great big chunks of tasty chicken, deep fried and dunked into homemade spicy Gochujang Red dipping sauce (which has quite the kick!) along with the Jinjuu black soy. You can’t help but pick these up and devour them in one go whilst making a real mess of your plate.
The starters are all for sharing and it’s especially fun choosing them – especially when you haven’t got a clue what to expect! We loved the sound of the Jinjuu Carnitas Korean-Mexican disco fries – an overflowing bowl filled with chips which come generously covered with a colourful concoction of gochujang pork, sour cream, onions, tomato and jalapeños, nacho stylee.
Probably our favourite starter was the Philly Cheesesteak dumplings – little crispy fried delights with delicious fillings including melt-in-the-mouth bulgogi beef, melted cheese, shitake and spring onion, although we also crammed in Bulgogi Sliders – Korean spiced beef burgers on beautifully buttery brioche buns, and then there was also the plate of succulent juicy Prawn Skewers… Our final starter selection was the Short Rib Beef Tacos with chipotle (which I just love the taste of), on lettuce with onion, kimchi and sour cream. If you love a range of tastes and flavours all at the same time, you’ll love this style of starters.
We chose the Salmon main course to share between us and regretted it as soon as it arrived because the portion sizes are HUGE! Miso glazed and served with thin strips of crispy tempura asparagus along with pear and watercress on the side, we didn’t mange to finish this, but then after seeing desserts delivered to the next table, a house sake or two down and we were all pumped up for a sugary end to dinner!
Ever had a Snickers Hotteok?! We hadn’t either… But oh my, you will most certainly be back for more of these. Korean doughnuts are flat rather than round and these ones come stuffed with salted caramel. Think that sounds indulgent? Well then how about the roasted peanuts scattered on the plate along with a peanut parfait, rich chocolate ganache, peanut praline AND a dusting of Nutella powder? I mean literally, there are no words. Think of three of the best desserts you’ve ever had, imagine them all on the same plate together and you’re getting a tiny bit close to how this tasted! What an end to a splendid feast.
With a range of delicious cocktails and sake, those to-die-for desserts, fabulously flavoured Korean dishes and a range of lovely wines (we went for the Sicilian Regaleali Bianco which I’d definitely recommend), Jinjuu really lives up to its name (pearl in Korean…) – most definitely a Korean pearl in the Soho crown!
Written by Luxuria Lifestyle UK’s Ashleigh Whitfield