What: The Korean restaurant group has launched its long-awaited second site a steamed bun’s toss from King’s Cross station, three years after it was first reported it was coming.
Who: Kimchee founder Dong Hyun Kim is also behind Wasabi, the cheap and cheerful sushi and bento chain that now has 52 sites across the UK. While it feels like you can’t walk down a street in central London without finding (or at least smelling) a Wasabi, Hyun Kim has been more guarded with Kimchee’s expansion since opening its flagship High Holborn site in 2011.
The vibe: Upstairs the 100-cover dining room is a buzzy space with high ceilings and an open kitchen that fills the restaurant with the sizzle of a charcoal grill. It’s easy to see why its construction has taken almost a year; most of the elaborately carved wooden walls, door handles and chairs have been created overseas and shipped to the UK. Down an incense-filled stairwell is a more intimate 70-cover private dining space that is likely to be popular with groups, with a barbecue pit at each table.
The menu: The main restaurant serves a similar menu to Kimchee’s High Holborn site, focusing on traditional Korean dishes such as Kimchee jjigae (from £9.40) – pork in a hot pot of spicy kimchee, mushrooms and tofu – and Yuk Hwae (£5.90) - thinly sliced raw beef, pear and egg yolk. Downstairs diners can order a selection of meat, fish and vegetables to barbecue at their table, alongside clay pot dishes and a dessert for around £25 a head.
And another thing: Expect the outside terrace area to get busier with the after-work crowd in the summer months. Google has its swanky offices right across the square while St Pancras station is just round the corner.