Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review: Kimchee, High Holborn

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Let’s get realistic here. I’m ridiculous.

I come all the way to England from an Asian country and go on a massive Asian food hunt. I’ve had Japanese food, Chinese food, Thai food, and now, Korean food? I don’t even remember the last time I had proper European (Italian? German?) food or English food (Pub food? Fish and chips?) and up till now, have yet to try Scotch eggs although they’re supposedly one of the most British things I could eat.

So yes. I’m ridiculous.

But I suppose if you look at it from another perspective, the fact that loads of locals flock to these places is a pretty encouraging sign. In fact, someone even told me that London food is international food and so what if I’m eating Malaysian food all the time? At least it’s London Malaysian food! *convinces self*

I suppose hall food has spoilt us. When you wake up and get served pie with the consistency of rubber or meat that takes longer to chew than gum, Western food doesn’t seem as appealing and we scour the outdoors for the Asian delicacies of home. But better chewy meat than no food at all and till I move to a place with an actual stove, my best bet for cheap lunches is microwaving hello to frozen food. (Ha ha ha, so funny.)

Ahem.

A popular place amongst some of my friends would be Kimchee, a Korean restaurant in the heart of London. I finally got to try it last Friday and the first thing I have to note is that the branch in Holborn could use better service! Eye rolling smile

It was about 11.45am and the store opens at 12pm. However, when we arrived, it was raining and windy. We entered the store to sit at the waiting corner by the entrance only to be told that we had to wait outside. For starters, I really did not understand why we weren’t allowed to just stand in the warmth, clearly not obstructing anyone for all the tables had been set up and the waiters were really just standing in a group chatting in the corner waiting for the clock to strike 12. And secondly, when we were waiting outside, a crowd started gathering and yet they still didn’t let anyone in. 

Finally, I got really cold and reentered the restaurant.. and well, nothing happened. The waiters just continued to chat till it was 12pm and then seated us. Now, couldn’t they have done that in the first place? I don't know smile

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Anyway, the place was very nice with a long table to view the outside. I know some are uncomfortable with having people watch you eat, but I enjoy people-watching as I eat so I really liked that! Plus, there was a lot of natural lighting coming in as well which is always really cheery and refreshing to have in London. Smile 

But on to the food!

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We ordered a Budae Jjigae for £7.90a spicy hot pot of kimchee, tofu, ramen noodles and beef with sausage and baked beans. I personally did not enjoy this very much but that’s probably because I’m not much a fan of kimchee. However, it does have a spicy kick to it which I did appreciate!

I felt the serving of ramen was pretty sparse but there’s always the option of topping up with a bowl of rice or an extra helping of noodles for those with big appetites! Smile 

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Rice!

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We also had the Hot Pot Bulgogi for £8.30 which had thin slices of marinated beef, Korean dates, rice cakes and spinach with glass noodles in a slow cooked soy, ginger and garlic broth which I found delicious! The soup was sweet and flavourful while the rice cakes were just the right amount of chewy. I don’t enjoy having rice cakes that are too thick and these were sliced perfectly in my opinion!

I wish they had more of the glass noodles which once again felt pretty sparse in this bowl but it was still pretty good and I was quite happy with this.

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We also got the Bibimbap to share which comes with a choice of beef, chicken, tofu, eel, or seafood. We opted for eel for £12 but the other options come at more modest prices of £9.30 for seafood and £8.90 for beef. But what exactly is bibimbap?

Their website describes it as: A choice of beef, chicken, tofu or seafood, served sizzling hot in a stone pot. Consisting of a hearty mixture of sticky rice, vegetables, egg and red chilli paste, is then mixed together at the table. Before the rice is placed in the pot, the bottom of the bowl is coated with sesame oil, making the layer of the rice touching the pot golden brown and crispy.

Personally, I didn’t find the eel bibimbap very worth it unless you’re a massive fan of eel. That’s because the dish is best enjoyed mushed up and with eel having its soft texture, it got a little too mushy in my opinion. However, bibimbap in general is quite delicious, especially if you’re craving for some rice, but don’t want to eat it plain. Smile 

All in all, Kimchee was pretty good for Korean food. I didn’t feel as though anything came out of a packet and the flavours of everything wasn’t ‘Westernized’ in the way some stores here tend to change up Asian food. It tasted authentic and if it weren’t for the dismal service (our plates were cleared but it took about 30 minutes for the bill to come), I would go back in a heartbeat.

Note: It got crowded really quickly so if you want a seat, better make it there early! Or very late.

KIMCHEE,

71 HIGH HOLBORN

LONDON

Number: 020 7430 0956

MON-FRI : 12pm - 3pm   /   5:30pm - 10:30pm

SAT: 12pm - 10:30pm

SUN: 12pm - 10pm

Till then.. Have some happy goats, folks and keep smiling! Open-mouthed smile 

2 comments:

  1. Now that's what i'm talkin' about! ANNYEONG!!! :D

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    Replies
    1. Hahah! Were you the one who suggested kimchee in the previous post? And annyeongghaesayooo. :P

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