Thursday, 9 April 2015


Having really enjoyed chef Judy Joo's recent Korean Food Made Simple series on the food network we were delighted to see she had just open I new restaurant in London. With plans to head that way we booked a table to go and sample her delights for ourselves. The experience began before we had even left our Liverpool home when in the morning we received a call from Laura to confirm our booking. Having booked the table a couple months back it was great to get a call to reassure us that our table would be waiting for us. We could now make our journey to the capital with no worries.

 It was a gloriously sunny day as we headed down to Jinjuu. Situated in the heart of the capital behind Hamleys on Regent Street, the streets were already filling up with local business folk enjoying the early spring sunshine. The outdoor terrace of Jinjuu was certainly benefiting from the unusually good British weather as we passed early darters already sipping beverages to enter and take our reservation.

And who should happen to greet us but Laura who remembered our earlier conversation. Customer recognition is always a plus point in my eyes! We were slightly early for our table so Laura directed us to the bar. No cider (boo!) so I went for a lager whilst Jon stuck with mineral water. There is an extensive range of wines on offer to suit all tastes along with a delightful cocktail list so there was something for everyone, perfect if you wanted to bring a group of friends for after work nibbles.

Time to head to our seat. We trotted down the staircase to take our place right next to the kitchen pass. Menus were given too us although having stalked the restaurants menu and social media accounts all week I already knew what I was having. For the less prepared or indecisive, Jinjuu also offers a taster menu offering a range of all their best dishes for £45 per head (at time of writing). A great way to sample a bit of everything and if your really looking to treat yourself then it's fabulous value for money. Why? Well that's because the food is 5* all the way. Now I love my Asian food and I've been to many a Chinese, Thai and Japanese restaurant but if this is the standard of all Korean food then I've been missing out for all of my 30 years. 

Let me start with the Sae-woo pops which I chose for my starter. These with crispy balls of mashed prawny brilliance were everything I hoped they would be. A n evenly golden and crispy shell surrounded a fluffy soft prawn filling that popped with flavor as soon as you took your first bite. They came served with what I would call Marie Rose sauce with a punch as the deceptively pink dip packed quite the chili kick but for a spice lover I loved it! Beautifully presented on lollipop sticks it's now top of my list for the greatest appetizer I've ever eaten. You must try them if you visit!

Now if you thought a Ceaser salad couldn't be exciting then you need to try this masterpiece Jon selected for his starter. Char-grilled gem lettuce covered in just the right amount of Parmesan and dressing served alongside crispy tofu which didn't have any of that soggy vileness that badly prepared tofu can often have. Everything just complimented each other perfectly but the real star of the show were the crispy won ton chips which if they packeted and sold in shops would surely give walkers a run for their money. Hands down the best salad we have ever eaten, it was a work of art!

By this time we were already in Korean food heaven but then I was presented with Jinjuu's signature dish I think I entered another dimension of foodie paradise.

That dish is the Korean fried chicken, "Jin Chick". Having chosen wings (you can have thighs if you wish) I took my first bite through the crispy coating of my first wing and let the moist chicken melt into my mouth. This was no dodgy takeaway fried chicken, it was perfection. That crispy coating is gently spiced that you only get the tingle of the heat after a few bites and it's an additional little tasty surprise that tickles your taste buds. Served with soy and their Gochujang Red sauce to dip in, I could of quite happily of polished off a whole bucket full.

 Instead I decided to give some of the sides a whirl. The chicken already come served with crunchy pickled white radish but I chose some kimchi to nibble on too and both made the perfect palette cleanser between each of those spicy little wings. There was also a cabbage kimchi but I can't say I was a fan but I think this was a personal taste thing as Jon found it to be most enjoyable.

To top off my tapas style feast I went for the Asian slaw and whilst I was expecting something more pickly and sharp it was still yummy. Shredded veg in a lightly spiced Mayo it was vibrant to
look at and crunchy in texture, a perfect foil for the more softer kimchi. Nothing will ever come close to my Nan's homemade coleslaw of course but I'd be more than happy to present a silver medal to the chefs for this slaw.

Jon went less nibbly and chose the more ample main of the tofu Bibimbap bowl. Beautifully presented in a sizzling hot stone bowl I wasn't quick enough to take a snap before our waiter had asked how hot he would like it and started to mix together all the fresh ingredients including a fried egg, bean sprouts, courgette, mushrooms and tofu to create what I would describe as the greatest bowl of fried rice ever conceived. Jon loved the crispy bits of rice which had fried away on the bottom of the bowl and said that if this could be brought to you in bed when you had a hangover it would be the best hangover ever.

With theatre tickets booked we had to bypass a pudding due to a lack of time although the Snickers Hotteok would of been our choice. Not to worry tho, I'm sure we will be back to give the puddings a go! With Jinjuu, Judy Joo has put her name onto one of the finest restaurants in London. The relaxed atmosphere alongside the phenomenal food crafted by head chef Andrew Hales really gives Korean food in the UK a really high point for others to try and follow. I cannot think of anymore glowing terms of praise I can write so I'll finish by simply saying you must book your table immediately and see for yourself how fantastic this restaurant is!

 Jinjuu! We love you!

Square Meal

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