Kimchee in St Pancras is a beautiful but efficient showcase for Korean food
The St Pancras area is not a place to launch a small edgy restaurant it seems because the joints that have convened there can be confidently characterised as ‘big boys, on the interesting side’: Dishoom, Caravan, Vinoteca, all mini-chains, all with a rep for dishing out great food and drink, all capable of managing sizeable operations.
Into this big boys’ (or girls’) playground steps Kimchee, a Korean restaurant that will offer the workers of St Pancras a slightly different dimension in flavour. It is only the second Kimchee, the first being in Holborn, but this is not a major rollout (not yet, at least).
The interior of the restaurant has been designed beautifully with slices of wood beautifully wrapping the space in a calm east Asian feel. Huge wood lights hover above wooden tables and benches for Wagamamas-style communal eating. And the comparisons don’t stop there. The service is sprightly and intended to hit the pace of the casual diner, but the table-side Korean BBQ tells a slightly different story – this could be somewhere special in the evenings.
The menu is fresh and zingy with pickles and salads on the side and Korean staples firmly in the centre. The Bibimbap stone pot dishes offer a warming sense of comfort with toasty meat and rice. There are a wide range of starters, including mackerel, cheesy fish cakes, battered chicken, and plenty of kimchee. Naturally.
The BBQ items include plenty of beef (including tongue) and chicken, duck and prawn. There is a handy guide to cooking your meat too.
The restaurant has been created by the team behind wasabi and although it has some ‘high street’ tendencies, it also has some personal flourishes. Desserts are pleasingly varied, with Patbingsu, a popular Korean crushed ice pud, chcoclate rice cake, a cream-filled choux with apple butterscotch and walnuts. The founder must have a sweet tooth.
Korean food is still finding tis feet as a mainstream offering in London, but with a few bao bun shops making head way, it seems it can only get more popular and Kimchee will be a beneficiary of this.