As a blogger always on the hunt for the latest and greatest eats in town, I don’t often have the luxury of dining out at the same restaurant twice.
So I was pleasantly surprised to find myself back at Jinjuu for the nth time in a matter of months. It got me thinking and I’ve narrowed it down to a few good reasons…
For a start, I love the stylish yet edgy feel to this modern Korean restaurant from Judy Joo (ex-executive chef at the Playboy club) and the attention to small details, which lend much quirk – like the tiny screws serving as chopstick holders!
There’s a communal and lively ambience in the ground-floor area where the bar is situated and you can on some evenings, find the resident DJ on deck.
Meanwhile, the main dining room downstairs has an almost speakeasy and ever-so-Soho vibe, with its dim lighting, small and cosy booths and Korean graffiti splashed across the walls. A theatrical touch isn’t amiss either, courtesy of the open kitchen at the far end…
… Speaking of which, my bestie Megs and I have taken quite a shine to the “Anju” selection – food that you eat when you drink.
Our most recent visit was after a hard day’s work and our weary souls were well rewarded with the restaurant’s new ‘Seoul Hour’ menu, featuring their signature Korean crispy fried chicken paired with a drink of your choice – be it lager, wine or cocktails.
This vegetarian wasn’t left out of the party either, as I happily tucked into gloriously deep-fried tofu sliders – a golden wedge of melt-in-your mouth tofu slung between buttery brioche buns, with generous lashings of sauces and Japanese mayo!
As for our tipple of choice – we did well to stick to cocktails, which at Jinjuu are executed with much panache and creativity…
Many of the heady concoctions feature Korea’s most popular spirit, soju – a smooth, clean-tasting liquor which adds a sharp finish to balance the lush sweetness of the cocktails!
My favourites include the Lychee Lover – lychee-infused soju topped up with lychee liqueur, aromatic bitters and prosecco. While Megs particularly enjoyed her Cane As You Are, involving sugarcane-infused soju and which was served short, over ice.
It can actually be quite a tough task choosing between all the unique-sounding cocktails… so if in doubt, do seek out the very approachable and rather affable manager, Damiano – he’ll be sure to find the perfect one for you, even if it means going off-menu to do so!
The Ssam sharing platters from the open grill, are quite a draw too.
Megs is quite keen on the Sea Bream, having tried it when we brunched here a short while back. She found it tender and well cooked, with just the right touch of richness without being overwhelmingly sweet.
I always find plenty to my liking as well, as the menu has a few substantial veggie options, including the traditional Bibimbap – white rice and seasonal vegetables topped off with a fried egg and more scrumptiously crisp marinated tofu. The hot stone bowl gives the bottom layer of rice a perfect golden crust, the sign of a good bibimbap I am told! The Jap Chae – stir-fried sweet potato noodles – make a deliciously satisfying accompaniment too.
Afters deserve a category of their own here, as I’m sure you’d agree once you’ve caught sight of Jinjuu’s dessert platters…
The Snickers Hotteok is one of the usual suspects, an over-the-top concoction involving a flat Korean doughnut stuffed with salted caramel & roasted peanuts, peanut parfait, chocolate ganache, praline & Nutella powder! Although I was a little underwhelmed when I first tried it (finding the doughnut a bit coarse in texture), I have to admit that I pretty much demolished it second-time round.
Other top picks include the Korean Mocha – an incredibly rich, baked chocolate and boricha (roasted barley) ganache with cocoa nibs & hazelnuts and milk ice cream.
While the yuzu crème brûlée and Makgeolli & white chocolate panna cotta are more offbeat choices, hitting a well-balanced combination of sweet, sour, tart and zesty flavours. Whether you go for one or for all, you’re bound to round off your evening on a deliciously good note!
Have you been to Jinjuu? Which are your favourite dishes here?
I was recently hosted by Jinjuu, but as always all opinions are mine alone.
Jinjuu, 15 Kingly Street, W1B 5PS.