Chairs painted black with a shiny gloss, the open plan kitchen filled with non-Korean chefs BBQing meat and the open space restaurant portrayed modernism. Apart from the name Kimchee, no where did the restaurant show a sign of Korean. At best it resembled the style of Busaba Eathai, the communal eating Thai restaurant chain. You are guided to a table already filled with chatter and delicious food, despite of the countless free tables available. If it’s a strategy deliberately put in place to entice more orders, then I’d gladly believe it. Especially when the dishes looked so delicious and somewhat traditional. Each dish has a number like those in a takeaway menu and the extensive list of Korean dishes does require some thinking.
Korean menus can take a few meals to get used to. Start with a plate of kimchi which is a cold starter with Chinese cabbage marinated in chilli. Asian families have a strong sharing culture so everything should be shared. Go for a few plates of BBQs like bulgogi (beef) and pork belly, then finish off with a sizzling bibimbap, where rice rapidly crisp up against the boiling stone pot.
Kimchee is very casual where dining alone is perfectly appropriate, the single row of tables against the window is probably designed for this purpose. Many solos go for a bibimbap only, fast and extremely satisfying.
Pa Jeon - spring onion pancakes
Spring onion pancakes mixed with seafood.
Kimchi and stir fried pork belly is a addictive combo, the oiliness with the chilli sting never fails to delight.
A very large pot of tea (for two)
Verdict - 3/5
Food (good) - the food at Kimchee was decent on most accounts. I’d happily eat here everyday for lunch if I work locally. The kimchee tofu was particularly delicious, with a strong taste of chilli and tons of oil from the pork belly.
Service (communal seating) - everyone sits with everyone like Busaba Eathai, food comes fast and as soon as they are ready. Not a busy place yet, our Saturday lunch only had a few tables full.
Cost (£15pp) - two of us billed £30 with the above dishes, tea and a black sesame ice cream. Pretty cheap.
71 HIGH HOLBORN LONDON
WC1V 6EA, 020 7430 0956