Jinjuu, Carnaby Street

Jinjuu business card

Jinjuu is a new restaurant from ex-head chef of the Playboy Club and star of her own cookery show on the Food Network, Judy Joo. The menu sounds rather good with a kind of Korean/American mash up but sadly, it didn’t quite do it for me.

The outside

We were seated in the ground floor bar area which, as ALWAYS seems to be case these days, was very cramped. Our table had a missing screw turning it into a giant and rather hazardous lazy Susan which didn’t help matters. And our waitress had an increasingly annoying habit of bellowing “Hello there!” every time she came to our table. It all made for a very odd experience.

The Jinjuu prawn crackers (£4) were nice enough and had a pleasant and unexpected heat to them. The sae-woo pops (£7.50) which were little deep fried, prawn cake lollipops, were absolutely delicious. The accompanying gochujang mayo was really fiery which was great.

Sae-woo pops

It all flopped from there really – nothing was particularly bad, but nothing was very exciting either. Bulgogi beef sliders (£7) had a lovely rare centre but the thick slice of cucumber covered in dill felt more suited to a piece of salmon than a burger.

Bulgogi beef sliders

The pork belly taco (£8) was let down by too much slaw, fresh apple and kimchi; it totally overpowered the fatty flavour of the pork. It was also insanely drippy too. The ya-chae mandoo (£8 for four), which were vegetable dumplings, had the potential of being incredible but the stodgy and claggy filling totally ruined them. A dumpling should never be that difficult to swallow.

Tacos

Mandoo

The Korean Mexico disco fries (£7) were a bit overkill for me. The poor chips didn’t stand a chance being buried amongst cheddar, slow cooked pulled pork and fresh kimchi. Not to mention the masses of tomato. The chips and pulled pork (which was soft and succulent) would have made for a far more successful plate of food.

Disco fries

The Korean fried chicken (£8) had a really crispy coating but it gave way to quite flabby, soggy skinned chicken which wasn’t very pleasant. The two sauces that accompanied the thighs (gochujang and soy) were cloyingly thick and sweet.

Korean fried chicken

“Hello there!” convinced us to order the Snickers Hotteok (£7) for dessert by describing it as ‘perfection on a plate’. It certainly wasn’t let’s put it like that. The peanut parfait and chocolate ganache were passable but the flat Korean donut was so tough it could have been used as an ice hockey puck.

Dessert

Our meal at Jinjuu was just a bit odd – the waiting staff appeared to lack training. Everything felt very forced and unnatural. And although the food wasn’t horrendous, it should have been a lot better.

4/10

Jinjuu on Urbanspoon

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