Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Kimchee Restaurant

Where’s the gochujang?

There’s absolutely nothing outstanding about the dishes served at Kimchee but the loos are admittedly rather plush and quite possibly the best amongst all the restaurants in London (but then again it was inherited from its fallen predecessor, the excellent but pricey Japanese Matsuri High Holborn). And lest I forget, the dining room was additionally worthy of a mention in the Architectural Digest. But I’m afraid that’s all folks so if you’re after something more of a mere approximation of Korean food in Central London then head here instead.

I sense that Kimchee restaurant is backed by a group of wealthy City individuals who happened to chance it with a prospect of the most opportune bandwagon. It’s simply a case of hiring a high-ranking chef from Seoul or New Malden and initiating the procedures to the non-Korean apprentices about how to concoct a bibimbap or jjigae (sod the bulgogi as anyone can do that!). Once the vocation is achieved- ‘Good bye, good night and good luck Chef, we’ll take care of the rest’. Alan Yau’s Wagamama chain thus springs to mind- a prevailing lack of heart and passion in the eventual cooking leads to the inevitable; faux ethnic food on your plate (alas, not entirely a bad thing for the undiscerning masses and in fact quite the opposite).

The following dishes ordered were clinically consistent i.e. vague, disappointing and invariably dumb-downed


The definitive 'Korma version' of any kimchi found in the capital- annoyingly mild and the word ‘kick’ doesn’t even come into it!

Beef Tongue Skewer

Their words- “Charcoal grilled beef tongue served with a hand made Korean barbecue sauce”. My words- tough as old boots and the marinade…WTF? Where’s the gochujang?

Crab Tuigim-
Deep-fried soft-shell crab in panko

I do acknowledge that crab of this ilk is inherently tasteless but at the very least Kimchee should’ve jazzed it up more, it was woefully under-seasoned and the synthetic-tasting dipping sauce negated any claimed chilli inclusion. If only I brought my own bottle of Sriracha.

Scallop Skewer-
well priced at £3.50 but the photo looked better than it tasted.

Hot Pot Bulgogi-
Thin slices of beef in a soy sauce marinade cooked with vegetables and glass noodles in a broth.

Kitchen elves, skim the sodding scum! And there was way too much sugar in there! Red dates are naturally sweet so why add more sugar? Poor!

Barbecued beef

Now if this was dish was ordered at any decent Korean joint in London a pretty young thing not too unlike her would be doing the honours at your table. But not so at Kimchee where all the grilled dishes are cooked on the robata in the open-plan kitchen. By the time it reached us the beef was plaintively lukewarm, overcooked, sickeningly sweet and the ‘charcoal’ euphoria was notably absent. Pitiable.

Seafood Bibimbap-
served with scallop, calamari, prawn and oyster sauce or so the menu claimed.

A sad dish, which contravened the Trade Descriptions Act on two counts-

i) the scallop was replaced with mussels

ii) for a Dolsot Bibimbap, the layer of rice on the bottom of the pot should be golden brown and crispy, but heck, no!

The damn thing tasted like wet soggy fried rice with an odour of sodden Golden Retrievers.


There you have it and where’s the gochujang? Not at all recommended.

71 High Holborn
London WC1V 6EA



Anonymous said...

Is this restaurant really that bad?
I was going to go there with my friends but I guess not from reading your review...

Anonymous said...

the trouble with bloggers is
are they really experts on food, restaurants, service ect.
or just out of work students looking to leave an impression on the world.
in reading the views of the blogger i can confirm that most of what is printed is nothing more than a script written to entertain, the restaurant is owned by a korean, the food is not served as authentic as there are not enough koreans to keep kimchee full, so tonning down the dishes creates a widder appeal.
as for the constructive dialogue.....forget it
go out buy a book, buy a cooking course or better still
get a job