There are restaurants that shy away from attention and those that aren’t afraid to steal the spotlight. Modern Korean bar and restaurant, JINJUU, falls into the latter camp, arriving on the scene in 2015 with a chic, modern space. Occupying the ground floor of LKF’s hottest landmark, JINJUU proudly touts the credentials of Korean-American celebrity chef Judy Joo at its helm.
Judy is best known for being on Iron Chef UK and hosting her own Cooking Channel show, Korean Food Made Simple. Smart, skilled and a natural on camera, Judy flaunts an innovative and funky interpretation of Korean cuisine, blending traditional and fusion influences for a unique modern approach.
She opened her critical acclaimed flagship JINJUU restaurant in London in 2015. Not long after, JINJUU Hong Kong was born. The first thing that strikes as you enter from Lan Kwai Fong Street is the stunning interior: ceilings hung with hundreds of colourful Korean norigae tassels, a painted dragon mural, rustic leather furniture and glass windows that open out onto the street.
Korean food is inextricably linked to drinking, and a visit to JINJUU will likely start with a cocktail from the innovative bar menu. The Kimchi Bloody Mary is a neat riff on the original, and the White Rice Negroni – Hwayo 41 soju with Cocchi Americano wine, mandarin bitters and a touch of ginseng – is herbal and refreshing.
The bar menu features a selection of food that is ideal for stifling rumbling stomachs. Nibble on edamame beans topped with a chilli panko mix before moving on to slightly larger bites, such as the signature Korean fried chicken. This dish is made with Australian free-range chicken and is served either plain or tossed in a signature black soy and chilli sauce, while pickled white radish helps to cut through the heat.
For something slightly more substantial, choose from JINJUU’s selection of sliders. The Wagyu beef bulgogi sliders with Korean spices, bacon, cheese, pickles and chilli mayonnaise are always a popular option, and vegetarians can join in the fun with crispy tofu sliders. A cold glass of Hite Korean pale ale or a pint of Asahi is a classic pairing for chicken, but why not branch out with a Soju Sour? Made with Hwayo 41, Kamm and Sons, lavender, fresh lemon and red ginseng and honey tea, this herbaceous, sour and clean signature cocktail is a great match.
For a more formal evening, the full restaurant experience is also available. You can still order small plates from the bar menu; however, Judy’s true colours shine the brightest with the large plates. Favourites include the premium Hanwoo rib-eye steak, the miso-glazed Scottish salmon and the Korean cauliflower roasted with spicy gochujang sauce.
From a bustling bar to a seductive late-night dinner date, JINJUU offers the perfect blend of comfort food paired with stylish surrounds. With Judy Joo at the helm, JINJUU isn’t afraid to push past the conventions of Korean cuisine and cocktails to offer something wholly new and exciting, ushering Korean food into the modern era with equal measures of style and substance.