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Kimchee (Restaurant)

Picture of Kimchee in City of London, London

71 High Holborn, City of London, London, WC1V 6EA
Cuisine: Korean Average Price: £20.00
Tel: 020 7430 0956 | Email to Kimchee | Transport: Holborn | Write review

Kimchee Review

Best for: A decent Asian-food fix that’s easy on the wallet.

Great: Cheap and cheerful (but not at all tacky) city-centre dining.

“Atkinsons don’t waste food.”

If my family had a mantra, it would be this. In fact, if we had a crest, these words would be emblazed upon it. In front of a roast chicken. And maybe a plate of nachos. And some cheesecake. For we are a family of food-loving gluttons; of food-loving gluttons who were taught to always, always, clear, your, plate.

“Are you going to finish that?” is the phrase most commonly heard from me in restaurants; at dinner parties; to perfect strangers in my office canteen. Best-before-dates mean nothing in my house. Unless the food can walk itself from the fridge to the compost, it’ll be eaten.

Yes, this has led to many somewhat awkward situations, such as undoing the top button of the jeans at dinner. My boyfriend has sadly come to understand that the term, ‘slipping into something more comfortable,’ has less to do with silk and lace, and more to do with jogging bottoms, elasticated waistbands, and one of his T-shirts.

And so the email stating that I was to be treated to an ‘unlimited number of dishes’ at Kimchee, the trendy Korean dining haunt in Holborn, was viewed by my good self as somewhat of a challenge. And if there’s one thing that Atkinsons love more than food, it’s a challenge.

But Korean food? Curious. A genre of food which I was almost completely oblivious to. In fact, prior to my visit, I had no idea that the name of the restaurant was also that of arguably their most famous dish: spicy cabbage.

Therefore, when I visited Kimchee, I didn’t exactly know my bibimbaps from my bulgogis, thus making the ordering process a tad daunting. Luckily, right from the off, I was met by a wave of pleasant and informative staff who walked me through the experience.

Upon arrival, we were seated at one of the brightly lit restaurant’s long, dark, wooden benches, almost all of which were crammed full of other eager diners sitting shoulder-to-shoulder.

Having persuaded us to try some surprisingly tasty Soju (traditional Korean spirit) cocktails and plum wine, the waiter talked us through the menu which is, helpfully broken down into sections: rice and noodle dishes: Joong Sik, described as ‘Korean style Chinese dining’; food from the charcoal BBQ Grill; ‘Pot’ dishes; and, of course, endless side portions. Having spent a good few minutes perusing the overwhelming selection before us, my dining partner and I decided upon a decent number (half a dozen or so) of dishes and relayed them to our charming waiter.

“That’ll be enough, won’t it?” I enquired, expecting him to guffaw, or recoil in horror, at the very prospect of ordering anything else. But instead, we were actively encouraged to order more. Much, much more. “Just for tasting,” the waiter gently cajoled, pointing to dishes and sections that he thought we should sample.

And so plate after plate, bowl after bowl, arrived at our table. Out came the soft-shelled crab, the sweet chilli chicken, the Yuk Hwae (a divine Korean-take on beef tartare served with sliced pear and egg-yolk); beef bibimbap (a sizzling dish of noodles or rice served in an earthenware pot); beef bulgogi; pork bulgogi, a vast selection of vegetable and seafood pancakes, rice sticks, dripping in spicy sauce; and countless dishes of kimchee. By the time the final dishes arrived at our table, there was quite literally no further space upon which to place them and other diners were staring at us, aghast.

My palms started to sweat. “What if I can’t finish this?! I can’t be beaten by food! I’m an Atkinson!”

But we did it! We all but completely cleared the table. And even had room for dessert: green tea ice-cream and Chap Ssa Ddeok (an incredible soft, sticky chocolate rice cake). And this is, in my experience, the most satisfying thing about Korean food: it’s hearty, spicy and very, very tasty (and cheap – all mains at Kimchee came in at under £8) – but doesn't leave you feeling obscenely, disgusting full; as if you need to be rolled out of the restaurant. The health benefits of Korean cuisine are said to be myriad also, and apparently kimchee (the cabbage dish) was used as a cure for bird flu. Seriously.

Korean cuisine: where have you been all my life?! Right in front of my gluttonous little nose, it would appear. I’ll see you in the queue. I’ll be one with the elasticated waistband, limbering up for round two.

...read more

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Food

Kimchee’s menu boasts a variety of rice and handmade noodles, charcoal barbecue dishes from the robata grill, one pot meals and side plates encouraging diners to incorporate the traditional Korean table setting, with all dishes served for everyone to share.

Updated 10/02/2012

Drinks

The team at Kimchee take pride in creating inspirational cocktails made with rare ingredients such as Soju, a white spirit similar to vodka but with a slightly sweeter taste and Makgeolli (mak-gul-lee), one of the oldest varieties of Korean alcohol made with fermented rice milk.

Updated 09/02/2012

Kimchee Opening Hours

Monday: 12:00pm - 3:00pm
5:30pm - 11:00pm
Friday: 12:00pm - 3:00pm
5:30pm - 11:00pm
Tuesday: 12:00pm - 3:00pm
5:30pm - 11:00pm
Saturday: 12:00pm - 11:00pm
Wednesday: 12:00pm - 3:00pm
5:30pm - 11:00pm
Sunday: 12:00pm - 11:00pm
Thursday: 12:00pm - 3:00pm
5:30pm - 11:00pm
   

Additional Information

Special offers, discounts and deals at Kimchee

Come and visit us every Sunday and get 50% off all food

Updated 09/02/2012

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Venue ID: 23084

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"My Gulascheintopf war perfekt and so was the Weissbier. I was in Kingston Steins. I do have a few suggestions for decor and table. 1. you need a little jar of toothpicks on the table to get meat out from..." Which venue is this?

Hated

"My Gulascheintopf war perfekt and so was the Weissbier. I was in Kingston Steins. I do have a few suggestions for decor and table. 1. you need a little jar of toothpicks on the table to get meat out from..." Which venue is this?

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