Kimchee have recently opened a branch literally a stone’s throw from King’s Cross and St. Pancras Stations, in Pancras Square, one of the city’s most exciting areas of urban re-development. I’ve not been to King’s Cross often over the years but now I really do have reason to. The area now looks great and there are some lovely looking bars and restaurants. On my wonders around the area I even discovered an observation platform where you could see a few of London’s landmarks including The Shard. If you visit at night be sure to check out the Identified Flying Object (IFO) so named by its artist creator Jacques Rival. This was firmly on the ground when I visited but it did look pretty in with the colourful neon lights which emitting the energy it has accumulated during the day. This first appeared in 2011 and on special occasions may be seen floating in the sky when it is hoisted up by crane. This birdcage like structure not only looks pretty it also contains a swing which the public can use.
Kimchee was just around the corner and this Korean restaurant was holding a press evening where I was invited along to sample their food. The entrance was lovely boasting a small yet beautiful zen garden and the bar area was pretty with glass boxes containing vases and bottles of various spirits. Of course when you hear a place has a cocktail menu you simply must try at least one and that we did. The Passion Fruit Frose came with a pretty garnish consisting of an orange slice and viola flowers (edible flowers). The Lychee Love was appropriately garnished with a lychee both of these cocktails were pretty strong alcoholwise and deliciously fruity. I managed my drink but didn’t feel brave enough to get a second and we both drank sparkling water for the rest of the evening. For the location the pricing for the cocktails was good with them starting from £7.50. The kitchen was busy, there must have been between 10 and 15 chefs that evening and the kitchen was open plan so we could watch them at work which I quite like as you can see the cleanliness of a kitchen easily that way too.
The starters came out quickly.
This dish has the most wonderful sauce which infuses with the ingredients and coats them. The green and red peppers, mooli, rice cakes and mackerel combine well in this dish and we found the rice cakes although unusual in texture quite moreish. The chilli gave it a great kick and the garlic was not overpowering. This has a really interesting mix of textures making eating it that much more exciting.
Tuigim – Spicy Calamari
There were a few options for this dish including tiger prawns, tofu, vegetables, shrimp and crab but we opted for the calamari having seen the waiter walk by and serve one to a nearby table. We were not disappointed the calamari was plump, bite sized and tender and the light batter was crisp and had been cooked in fresh oil. The spicy sauce was not to the degree that you would burn your tongue and this portion vanished rather fast! The dish was nicely presented in what appeared to be a giant prawn cracker.
We had the chargrilled pork and the chargrilled chicken. These were both full of flavour and came in fluffy steamed buns. Both delicious I’m not sure which was my favourite but I would not think twice about ordering these again.
Our waiter Decy insisted we try a side dish. He was well trained and knew about all the dishes having tried them all it appeared. We did take his advise for many of the options we went with and were very pleased that we had.
By the time we had gotten as far as this I was feeling kind of full. I know crazy right but having already ordered the main I bravely soldiered on.
Udon with Chicken
There was also an option of tofu but the chicken appealed to me more. This contained breaded chicken on a bed of udon noodles in a flavourful soy sauce with sesame oil. The udon was very good and the chicken although simple was nice. I was pleased that the sesame wasn’t excessive in the dish. The sauce of this was delicious and really went well with the rest of the dish. Try as I might I had to admit defeat and left some (crys at the thought of wasting good food).
There were a mix of options here from beef, eel, tofu chicken and more. The dish is served in a sizzling hot stone pot which contains rice, a mix of vegetables, sesame oil and on the side red chilli paste. This is a great looking dish as you can see and you can adjust the spiciness of it by adding more chilli paste to the heat you require. This enticing dish is a cross between a Chinese fried rice and a biriyani. There is a fair amount of flavour to it too. My friend did a fabulous job of finishing her meal although she did say she didn’t think she would be able to walk to the door after and we did sit a while chatting after we finished the meal.
Then it came to dessert. Decy gave us his suggestions and my friend decided for the Baesuk with Ice Cream. This consists of a whole pear spiced with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns and honey for sweetness. This is accompanied by an ice cream of your choice so my friend choose almond. The pear was literally as it described on the menu and you could taste all the spices. It was quite hard so wasn’t very easy to cut with a spoon. This unfortunately wasn’t anything to write home about but in contrast the ice cream was amazing. The soft creamy velvety smooth almond ice cream was heavenly and contained pieces of almond. The pair remained with a little missing and the ice cream vanished. I’m sure the plate might have been licked clean if that was an option.
I opted for the Sagwa Choux. This is a cream filled choux bun served with an apple puree and butterscotch sauce and topped with a sprinkling of walnuts. Highly recommended by Decy I was confident I was onto a winner. It was very good and I was very pleased with this. I do love desserts and this one works well with its contrast of flavours.
We had a really lovely evening. The staff were all very attentive and we didn’t have to wait long for anything. The atmosphere was lively and it really did seem like a great place for people to visit after work for drinks or nights out for drinks with friends in a nice location. The portion sizes are generous so wear expandable clothing and the prices are extremely reasonable for the location. Just to give you an example the udon dish would have been £9.40. Make sure you check the opening times though as I ventured back there on Sunday only to find it was closed, opsy I didn’t realise they don’t open Sundays. My first taste of Korean food was an enjoyable one and I hope to try some more interesting and tasty dishes in the future.
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Have you tried Korean food yet?