For more new & noteworthy London restaurants opened in 2017, have a read of my round-up, here.
I’ve made no secret of my partiality to Jinjuu – the modern Korean restaurant in Soho which has had me back time and again for its creative cocktails and “anju” – food that pairs remarkably well with those cocktails!
So I was super stoked to find out about their recent opening a little closer to home in Mayfair’s Albermarle Street…
While the look and feel of the new setting is somewhat different to the original outpost, it’s no less trendy – pulling off smart-casual with urban flair. As I recently found (over a long and lazy lunch), other key selling points smoothly make the transition too, starting with the affable and attentive service.
Of course cocktails continue to be a heady draw, with a shiny bar inventively showboating Korea’s most popular spirit, soju – a clean-tasting liquor, which adds a sharp edge to even the sweetest of tipples.
There are several Mayfair specials to whet your whistle, with the menu also covering relatively lighter and low(er)-calorie options.
My advice? Let the friendly bartenders know your poison and preferred flavour profile, leaving it to them to surprise you thereafter… You won’t be disappointed!
The extensive food menu similarly covers Soho-classics alongside new additions, with an excellent-value set lunch which all of us we went in for.
Old favourites ordered included the impossibly good tofu sliders – soft-centred yet crisp-skinned tofu sandwiched between buttery brioche buns. A traditional Korean Bibimbap arrived with a perfectly-crusted layer of crispy rice at the bottom of the hot stone bowl, with heaps of seasonal veggies piled on top with a fried egg and more scrumptiously deep-fried chunks of tofu.
New dishes ranged from grilled and barbecued skewers (the marinated chicken proved a worthy and virtuous substitute to the fried classic that Jinjuu is famous for), to pajeon (a traditional Korean style of savoury pancakes) and a spirited selection of salads, high on crunch and flavour. I for one, was delighted to have the broader healthy options to choose from, especially as they neatly balanced out what came next…
You see it would be criminal to leave here without having tried one, a few or all of the desserts… So yes, the signature dessert platter is definitely worth going all in for!
The zingy citrus-infused notes of the Yuja Posset refreshed our palates, before we set upon discovering our own favourites from the decadent array.
The outrageously over-the-top Snickers Hotteok instantly appealed to mother’s 32 sweet teeth – a flat Korean-style of doughnut encasing salted caramel and roasted peanuts, served with peanut parfait, chocolate ganache, praline and Nutella powder. It’s simply the stuff of an instant classic.
Father particularly enjoyed the fiery spark to the hazelnut and gianduja Gochugaru brownie, which was spiked with chili and a dark chocolate spice.
While I couldn’t get enough of the umami-rich miso ice cream, not to mention the matcha-marvellous Nokcha tart, cocooning a molten green tea and white chocolate filling within its crisp-edged almond crust.
I’d definitely recommend Jinjuu Mayfair for its compelling cocktails and Chef Judy Joo’s punchy take on traditional Korean eats and treats. The ambience reflects the cooking-style too, with a convivial and laid-back vibe which is as well-suited for intimate conversations (as was the case on the table next to us), as for larger and more raucous groups… And with the promise of a bottomless brunch on the weekends, I suspect there will be plenty to draw one back here!
Jinjuu, 39 Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4JQ
If you fancy a read, here’s my round-up of other new London restaurants opened in 2017 (regularly updated with noteworthy openings).