SquareMeal Review of
PERMANENTLY CLOSED APRIL 2018
This second branch (there’s a third in Hong Kong) of Judy Joo’s modern Korean enterprise has taken over the former site of Italian outfit, Babbo. For now, much of the interior looks the same, with Babbo’s bar and leather seating still in situ in the narrow dining room. Things are, however, very different on the food front, with a repertoire that showcases French-trained, London-based, Korean-American chef Joo’s up-to-date take on the cooking of Korea. The lengthy menu takes in ‘anju’ small plates and large plates of ‘ssam’ platters (grilled meat and fish heaped into lettuce leaves, with dollops of punchy sides), as well as salads, rice and noodles. It includes a Mayfair version of bibimbap, Korea’s national dish, which has lobster and truffle soy sauce stirred into the rice-based mix. Otherwise, you could make a meal from the tapas-sized anju: we liked the deep-fried prawn sae-woo pops, crisp-shelled mandoo dumplings (deep-filled with shredded short rib and kimchi), and two hefty bulgogi beef skewers – all of which come with Joo’s signature creamy dipping sauces. To follow, a pair of juicy lamb cutlets in a spicy glaze arrive with a sweet and salty ssamjang sauce; the aubergine purée on the side is even better. We visited in the second week of operation when staff had yet to find their feet; at present, this still feels like a work in progress. Fans of Joo’s cooking should definitely give it a look, but we’d recommend first timers wait until the new furniture arrives and Jinjuu Mayfair looks and feels as intended.