Test Drives


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Judy Joo's new Korean home in Soho - we Test Drive Jinjuu

What do we need to know about Jinjuu?

This is Judy Joo's first restaurant that she can call her own in London (having previously been at the Playboy Club and worked for Gordon Ramsay). This sees her opening on Kingly Street, specialising in Korean cuisine, which couldn't be more of the moment in London right now.

Where is it?

It's on the outskirts of Soho on Kingly Street, just a few steps down from Dehesa and about 5 minutes walk from Oxford Circus station.

Where should I meet friends for drinks first?

One of the best bets nearby (and where we popped in for a drink before heading over to Jinjuu ourselves) is the nearby Antidote wine bar (just steer clear of the very tempting tapas if you want to keep your appetite). Alternatively, you can also grab a drink at Wright Bros, which is next door to Jinjuu. But then again, this is Soho - and the options are almost limitless. There's a bar upstairs in Jinjuu too - so you can grab a drink there before sitting down. 

Where should I sit?

We liked the look of upstairs, particularly later in the evening when there was a great buzz going. However, if you like a spot of open-kitchen watching, then head downstairs. As well as a few booths, there are some great counter seats right in front of the kitchen.

And what should we eat?

The menu is primarily split into small plates, larger plates and sharing dishes with signature dishes highlighted too. We'd recommend a wander around all the sections of the menu. Particularly of note were:

  • The beef dishes which all come with Ssam jang to wrap everything in plus kimchi, radish, rice and seaweed. The Kalbi (onglet) in particular comes in at only £18 which is a great deal for the amount of food they put down on the table and plenty big for two to share (short ribs are £22 and USDA sirloin is £29). 
  • The Jin Chick (£8) - No Korean place can get by without Korean fried chicken and the chicken thighs we had here certainly did the dish justice.
  • The Sae-woo pops (£7.50) - great prawn lollipops with gochuchang mayo that was so good we kept it back for use for the rest of the meal (all the sauces are created in-house and this was a lovely combo of umami and spice).

And for drinks?

The wine list is pretty affordable, starting at £20 for a bottle of Chilean Sauvignon, but we moved a little further up the list for an excellent French Cote de Rouffach gewurztraminer at £36.50 - which worked very well with the dishes. Cocktails are also worth a mention - they're around the £10 mark and are a mix of soju cocktails and their own creations. The Bourbon Baby (Bourbon, sherry, maple flavoured plum syrup at £9.50) went down a treat.

Overall thoughts

Korean food is very much in vogue at the moment and Jinjuu sees chef Judy Joo match fun food with a great Soho vibe. The sharing dishes in particular are really good value for the area. Fun, spice, buzz and a kick of chili - you can't go wrong, can you? Half the premiership seem to have been down since the place opened, so they clearly agree.

Jinjuu is at 15 Kingly Street, London W1B 5PS. Find out more.

Hot Dinners ate as guests of Jinjuu. Prices were correct at the time of writing. 

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