Oct 3 2014



I really want to try the new Japanese restaurant Kintan and thought I could easily get a table there on Friday, but was turned away as they were fully booked and I had not booked. This left me in the middle of Holborn on a Friday evening hungry and with no ideas where to go.  As I was walking towards Soho or Covent Garden where I thought I would go as a back up I noticed Kimchee, a restaurant in between Holborn and Chancery Lane tube stations. I love Korean food and kimchi, thanks to my wonderful Korean friend Haewon, so I was easily persuaded to go there.

The restaurant looks very trendy from outside with high ceilings, dark décor, but when we went inside, even though it was relatively early on a Friday, it was packed and with very few free tables. You don’t actually sit by a table by yourself, there are communal tables where you are placed. There is also an open kitchen on one side. Mr Kim opened Kimchee as he wanted to bring his native Korean food to London.

I am not an expert in Korean food, but have had it on several occasional and also I have been to South Korea twice, so the menu looked familiar to me with all the typical dishes you would expect to see there. We had to order kimchi, which I love, which cost only £2.60. At this point I noticed how cheap the prices were, the dishes did not cost that much for London standards and alcoholic cocktails were around £5, something I have not seen in a while. Besides Kimchi, we also ordered a beef bibimbap, one of the other very typical Korean dishes where you get a hot pot with different ingredients and then mix it together and it continues cooking as you mix it. The bibimbap had beef (you could also get raw beef, which is popular in Korea, or tofu, eel or seafood), sticky rice, vegetables, egg and red chilli paste. I thought it was a good bibimbap, it was not the best I have had in London though, there are more authentic and less western restaurants than Kimchi in London which I think do a better job of bibimbap, but it was accessible and still tasty.

We were also craving some of typical Korean charcoal BBQ meat, especially seeing the open kitchen on one side where a lot of the meat cooking magic happened. We ordered Bulgogi (also very typical in Korea) or beef which had been thinly sliced and marinated in a blend of pineapple, ginger, Korean dark soy and garlic and served with lettuce wraps and ssamjang chilli sauce and you were supposed to wrap the beef in the lettuce. The beef was also served on a hot plate and was very flavoursome and tasty and soft, and I was surprised how they had made the beef taste so good and tender, as in a lot of cheaper restaurants meat can be chewy and not so good. Korean marinating and flavours had made it delicisou. The other beef dish we ordered was Bulgabi or short beef rib marinated in a blend of pineapple, ginger, Korean dark soy and garlic, so very similar to Bulgogi and it tasted pretty similar, still tasty and soft.

Other side dishes we ordered were Portobello Mushroom served with a Yuzu dressing and Modum Namul or beansprouts, spinach, radish and cucumber lightly seasoned with sesame and garlic oil. Good but less impressive as the other dishes that we ordered.

I did like Kimchee, thought it was cheap and a very nice place for Korean food, but I personally prefer the more authentic and less western Korean restaurants in London. However if you are new to Korean food, this is a very accessible way how to have Korean food.

Price for 2 people with one alcoholic cocktail: £47.52
Location: Holborn
Date: 03/ 10/ 14

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71 High Holborn WC1V 6EA
United Kingdom
Kimchee Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3