What: A lively and vibrant ode to LA's Koreatown replete with glowing neon signage and East-meets-West dishes that's taken over the old Dirty Bones site at the top of Kingly Court in Carnaby.
Who: Korean Dinner Party is the latest venture from the team behind Peruvian restaurant Señor Ceviche, which is also housed in Kingly Court. The team have brought in Ana Gonçalves and Zijun Meng, the duo behind TĀTĀ Eatery and TÒU, to help oversee the food, while drinks expert Cyan Wong is handling the cocktails. The opening closely follows the relaunch of Taiwanese chicken joint Mr Ji on nearby Old Compton Street, which Gonçalves, Meng and Wong also worked on together.
The food: The restaurant's concise menu is a further example of Gonçalves and Meng's almost effortless ability to marry global flavours together. Here they take their cues primarily from LA with nods to the flavours of Koreatown and the city's thriving Mexican food scene, with a US junk food staple - in this case the corn dog - thrown in for good measure. The menu is split between a selection of small eats for starters; Korean taco mains; and side dishes - with prices remaining approachable across the board. The small plates include bacon mochi - rice cakes wrapped in caramelised bacon and served in a gochujang caramel with spring onions (£8); crispy kimchi pancake with onion and oyster mayo (£4.50); beef tartare made with bavette, topped with crispy seaweed and served with rice crackers (£9); the aforementioned cheesy corn dog with mozzarella, ketchup and mustard (£4 each); and Korean-inspired fried chicken nuggets served with garlic cream, parmesan and rice sticks (£6.50). The Korean tacos are presented on trays and are designed to be shared between two. Options include pork neck al pastor served with ssamjang, chili relish, Asian slaw, and homemade wheat wrappers (£15); and Korean fried cauliflower with cheese ranch, chili relish, Asian slaw, and homemade wheat wrappers (£12). The only main alternative to the tacos is a kimchi stone pot featuring potato, enoki mushrooms, tofu and egg yolk, and served with Korean brown rice (£11). The only dessert available is a frozen yoghurt soft serve (£5) with flavours and toppings set to change weekly.
The drink: A range of beers, wines and craft sake from Peckham-based Kanpai - the UK’s first sake brewery - features, but the focus is on the cocktails. These include the Yakult Royale with champagne, yoghurt soju and a probiotic Yakult foam (£9); a Plum Americano, featuring a Korean plum wine blended with Kanpai’s British Japanese umeshu (£9); a Forsynthia aperitif with peach citrus leaf, fortified wines and tea (£9); and the Osmanthus Crystal Margarita (£10).
The vibe: Designed by A-nrd, the studio from Alessio Nardi - which recently designed restaurants KOL and Darjeeling Express - Korean Dinner Party has a stripped back look, with the distressed concrete walls punctuated with wooden slats, neon lights, Korean wall art by artist Kwang Kwang and shelving displaying KDP’s vinyl collection. Guests can sit at cushioned booths and deep-red banquettes beneath hanging screens, pendant lights and a feature neon light installation; or at a panelled counter area. An eclectic record collection of Korean hip hop plays over the sound system.
And another thing: Gonçalves and Meng are in high demand at the moment. As well as their work here and at Mr Ji, the pair are also overseeing the food offering at MJMK's soon-to-launch Cuban-inspired venue Bar La Rampa.
Top Floor, Kingly Court, Kingly St, Carnaby, London W1B 5PW