Jinjuu Soho, restaurant review

Each year T and I organise a Christmas girl date where we each try to outdo the other in buying thoughtful gifts for each other and eat delicious food. The good thing about this is that everyone wins. This year, time seemed to overtake us and we didn’t quite manage to organise an activity but we did manage to book Jinjuu. A had been earlier in the year and highly recommended it and I was keen to try some Korean street food.
I arrived slightly after T to find her sitting in the window with my presents beside her. It’s hard to say what is more exciting, the giving or receiving, and that, surely, is exactly as it should be.

We each started with the spiced kimchi Mary. T’s arrived first and looked like this.

So you can imagine my disappointment when my virgin offering was presented without the accompanying cone of prawn crackers and my addiction, chilli rice crackers. I immediately asked, why? Was it not enough that I don’t get any vodka, I also miss out on the snacks? 

I was promptly presented with a bowl of said snacks. I was happy.

Keen to try as many new flavours as possible, we went for the Anju section of the menu which translates as food to eat while drinking or essentially, small plates. 

We started with spicy prawn crackers and some very good edamame which are topped with a panko chilli mix.

Next to arrive were the Sae-Woo pops, fried prawn cakes served like lollipops with a side of gochujang mayo, (Gochujang is a spicy, pungent fermented Korean condiment made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt.)
Crispy, yet soft inside,these were tasty with chunks of prawn inside although the actual prawn flavour was very mild.

From the sliders listed we went for Bulgogi burger. These were perfectly cooked mini burgers topped with house pickle, cheese and bacon. 
When it came to dumplings, we had to have the short rib and kimchi Mandoo. These were little bites of deliciousness, crispy wrappers stuffed with sweet, tender,braised beef, mushrooms and kimchi. The sauce with them had a great mouth warming heat.
At this point, we began to wonder if maybe we had over ordered. Actually, that’s a lie; we knew we had over ordered when our waiter gave us that look I so often get, it’s the one that says, ‘ You greedy bitch, are you really going to eat all that food?’
Thankfully, our tuna tacos were light and fresh. The Korean mustard vinaigrette, baby gem, avocado, yuja mayo and jalapeños really worked well with the generous portion of tuna.
Luckily, we had a break before anymore food arrived. We had two more dishes to go and one of them was the signature Korean fried chicken. Before the chicken arrived, we got stuck into the insanely good carnitas fries. This Korean-Mexican pile up of fries and delicious, tender and sweet gochujang pork is smothered in cheddar and fresh kimchi. Think nachos on speed and your getting close, it’s messy and delicious.

Our grand finale was the fried chicken, we went for a mixture of thighs and wings, served with some excellent pickled radish, gochujang red and black soy sauces in very instagramable bottles. I have to be honest, this wasn’t as amazing as I had expected it to be, it was super crispy but a little on the greasy side for me. It probably didn’t help that,by this point, we were already very full. The pickle was an excellent accompaniment, clean and sharp, it really cut through the richness of the chicken.

As I have said, we were extremely full and thought we couldn’t possibly fit in anymore but we had both seen one thing on the dessert menu we just had to try. So, after as long a break as we could allow before the dinner service started, we ordered the Snickets Hotteok with some maesil cha tea, in an attempt to re-address the good -bad balance.
The tea was lovely and light and fragrant, the dessert was rich and unctuous and very, very bad but in a good way.

A flat Korean donut stuffed with salted caramel and roasted peanuts, sat amidst a peanut parfait, chocolate ganache, praline and Nutella powder. The praline was insanely good. Overall, it was a great plate but, even sharing this, it was a sweet overload. One not to be missed but a mini version of this would be great.
We had a great lunch. The service was good and the pacing of food to the table excellent, perhaps too good as we did over order. We also had our table for over four hours which was fantastic. When we left, we both had to go home and have a lie down, we definitely over ordered. I really do want to try some of the Ssam, the larger sharing plates and so we’ve booked the bottomless brunch for February when I’m back on the sauce.

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