Kimchee

9th April 2013

A long overdue girls’ dinner always means a hunt for the perfect location.  Food, of course, is high on the list of priorities.

We found ourselves heading to Kimchee – partly because we had heard excellent things from foodie friends, and party because it sits in a convenient spot to reach from several corners of London. You can find it in Holborn, details here: Kimchee.

I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I am completely in love with all types of Asian cuisine… the flavours, the textures… that happy knowledge that it is generally healthier than the homey foods we enjoy on a Sunday in the pub!

You can’t book at Kimchee except for large tables (10 or more), so we turned up at the door hungry and excited.  The zen-like interior is contrasted by the busy chatter of the crowd inside – this restaurant is popular and with good reason.  We put our names down for a table and headed to the pub opposite – please note, there’s no bar to wait in…  I think this is what I’d change if I had my way!

Kimchee

Source – I love the wooden lights and long benchy tables

When we came back in we were shown to our table –  we were told off a little bit as apparently you’re meant to wait there (although this hadn’t really been explained and given my above point on the absence of a bar…)

Luckily, seating protocol was soon forgotten as we spied on all the food making its way to tables around us.  The open kitchen and Wagamama style long tables mean that you can check out what’s on offer before making your own decisions.

Our waitress was lovely, and bemused by our many questions about the menu – but when we made up our minds, this is what we ordered.

Yang Yeum Prawn – Delicious, crunchy, crisp battered prawns, served in a rice basket that you can munch on after if that’s your thing (it’s definitely mine!).  The prawns came with a sweet chilli sauce for dipping.

Bibimbap (Beef/Chicken) – The order of choice if you want to experience authentic Korean food.  Rice, vegetables, egg – they’re all in the earthenware pot the dish comes in, and here’s the fun part: the dish is very hot, so the food continues to cook and will stay warm throughout your meal (perfect for the Nana eaters among us).  When it arrives, chuck in the chilli sauce that comes with, and mix it all around. The egg will cook, and you’ve got a really yummy, unique dish to enjoy!

Bibimbap

Bibimbap in a smoking hot dish

Chargrilled Broccoli – Confession: we ordered this twice.  It’s gorgeous long stems of broccoli in a light soybean sauce with great smoky flavour.  The first time we ordered it, it arrived exactly as described, which was perfect. The second time, it had a slightly odd, fruity pink sauce on.  The waiter who delivered it said it always has this sauce, which was a bit confusing, but we didn’t like it very much.  The open grill gives the broccoli more than enough of its own gusto – so I’d recommend asking them to hold the sauce.

Chicken Katsu Udon – If you’re a fan of Katsu, do me a favour and try this.  It’s much lighter than the usual popular Katsu curry dishes you get at other venues, but filling and so tasty.  The Udon noodles are made in house, and they’re the exact satisfying consistency they should be.

Kimchee – While in Kimchee, you need to order kimchee – the namesake of the whole place.  Kimchee is basically pickled cabbage, with a sort of chilli and garlic marinade.  Don’t be put off if you’re not a cabbage eater; it’s worth a try as it has a real kick and compliments all the other food.  Get a side to share, just so you can tick it off your bucket list.

Chargrilled Veg

Veg and meat grilling away happily

Overall we had a great meal here – lively atmosphere, bit of vino, and key tip for end of the evening – get some Plum Tea – it is like nectar, especially if you’re feeling on the edge of a cold.  You can get a big pot between four people.

Do pop over at some point and enjoy this slice of Korean cooking neatly tucked into central London.  The best thing about it is getting to eat something a bit different to the great but overcrowded Italian/Thai scene that’s taking over the city – embrace a new set of flavours and try something you haven’t come across before.

Sorry the photos aren’t brilliant quality – was relying on the iPhone and had a bit of a power down situation.  I’m working on this for future posts…

Kimchee on Urbanspoon

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