Upscale Korean favourites in Soho
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : Japanese
Address : 15 Kingly Street, Soho , London, W1B5PS, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.jinjuu.com
Opening Times : Mon-Sat 12am-3pm & 6pm-12pm; Sun 12am-4pm
Closest Tube : Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus
Judy Joo is a high-powered woman. After graduating Columbia University with a degree in engineering she immediately embarked upon a career in finance, interning at Goldman Sachs and selling derivatives at Morgan Stanley. Four years later, she decided to follow her true vocation, enrolling in the French Culinary Institute and rattling the pans at a number of Gordon Ramsay‘s London restaurants. After taking over the head chef position at The Playboy Club and scoring a role on Iron Chef, it was only a matter of time before she had her very own restaurant.
Jinjuu trades on Kingly Street and is a real gem - translating from Korean as ‘pearl‘, the restaurant draws on Joo‘s background to create a menu of ‘anju‘ (Korean drinking food) with a bit more polish than your local kimchi joint. The restaurant is split over two levels with the groundfloor offering a more relaxed bar area catering to a chic Soho crowd. Downstairs you‘ll find the main dining room, which shares the bar‘s steel and slate colour palate, with an open plan kitchen where Joo herself meticulously oversees each dish leaving it.
Upon taking our seats we were quickly proffered the cocktail list and some menus. While the cocktails were delicious, we preferred the traditional Hite (Korean beer) and soju approach to the food. Prawn crackers are usually thoughtless styrofoamy distractions meant to tide diners over until the real food comes, but here they were given some TLC, and paired up gorgeously with the beer. It wasn‘t long until the next plate arrived, prawn lollipops served from a carved wooden block with a rich gochujang mayo. They were hot, sweet and quickly dispatched.
Korean fried chicken thighs are not to be missed. The meat was prepared sous vide, with a tender delicacy, encased in thick yet dry batter and served with black soy and gochujang sauces. The ssam platters are Korean barbecue at its most refined. USDA prime short rib was topped with crispy fried onions and garlic then served with wraps of butter lettuce. The servings are quite hearty, but we managed to save room for dessert, a deconstructed Snickers bar complete with doughnuts, peanuts and chocolate that would qualify in the food porn category.
Judy Joo has identified a niche that hadn‘t been filled in London‘s restaurant milieu - upscale Korean. For those looking for a sophisticated buzzy scene, DJs and guilty pleasure dining, Jinjuu ticks all the boxes.