Kimchee Holborn, is a fairly new Korean establishment found in the heart of London. I work nearby and followed the hype that surrounded the restaurant when it first opened a couple of years ago; with queues out of the door. I was also quite enthusiastic to visit when I heard about some of their frequent deals they have, last January, diners could experience 50% off their entire food bill.
Working so closely and seeing the hype surrounding the restaurant I knew I had to put this restaurant on my ‘to-dine’ list.
Although at first glance I liked the look of how the tea was served, I soon realised that for £3 there was hardly anything to it. I had to stop myself drinking the tea so quickly but alas it was finished before our meal had arrived. Also the taste was a let down, I should have ordered one of the many fruit drinks Kimchee has to offer.
A simple dish with a good balance of flavours served with soy sauce. Tasty but nothing special.
Sliced seared beef wrapped around vegetables served with a wasabi and soy sauce. Unfortunately for me, I was in a group of 6 and didn’t get to try this side dish.
Another vegetable side dish. The rice paper was thin and crisp and with the mustard dipping sauce was a lovely side dish. I’m a big meat-eater so this wasn’t exactly mind-blowing however my vegetarian colleague loved this.
This was definitely the winning side; battered prawns with a sweet stick glaze, what more can you ask for? My complaint would be that the presentation was messy. A dish isn’t enticing with iceberg lettuce leaves placed on the bottom. It also doesn’t add anything to the flavour of the dish and ends up being wasted as no one eats them.
For the main course I ordered from the BBQ section of the menu and chose spicy chicken bulgogi which is served with iceberg lettuce leaves and a hot and spicy chilli pepper sauce. I also ordered boiled rice on top as I didn’t think this would be filling enough.
All dishes in the BBQ section of the menu are accompanied by lettuce leaves and although I’m new to Korean food I thought this was a bit odd. When the dish arrived I didn’t know how I should have eaten this. I assumed that I was supposed to create my own wrapped chicken using the lettuce leaves with a bit of sauce on top, which is how I ate some of the dish but I felt unsatisfied and instead mixed the chicken with rice and added some of the pepper sauce on top.
On its own the sauce is far too strong and a tad bitter. It’s definitely one to use in moderation and did work inside the lettuce leaf however I may be a bit cynical but I’m guessing it worked as it added flavour to the lettuce leaves which otherwise would have been tasteless. Honestly, I would have prefered to be adding this to a tortilla and creating my own fajita.
This was by far the best tasting dish out of everything we ordered. Don’t make the mistake of ordering the regular green tea ice cream as I’ve ordered that previously and again was left disappointed as it was too bitter. The roasted green tea ice cream however, is a different story and is absolutely delicious. A little bitter but in comparison was balanced with a hint of sweetness that just works beautifully as ice cream. After being left disappointed with the rest of the menu, the dessert was a pleasant surprise.
I’ve now been to Kimchee a few times and each time I find myself being left disappointed and unsatisfied. Sure there are some nice dishes but it’s outweighed by the majority of the dishes which are either bland, tasteless or just plain boring. Sorry Kimchee but I just don’t understand the hype. Maybe the offer I previously mentioned was just a ploy to get new customers as I know I certainly won’t be returning.
– Kimchee, Holborn