Restaurant review: Jinjuu serves modern Korean in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong

Despite the underseasoning and erratic pricing, the dishes are well presented and appetising

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 March, 2016, 5:32pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 March, 2016, 5:32pm

Jinjuu is one of the better modern Korean restaurants we’ve tried recently.

That’s not to say it’s without fault – some of the dishes were underseasoned – just a little more salt would have been helpful. And the pricing of the dishes is erratic: some are reasonable, but a whole fried chicken for HK$680? Two tiny wagyu beef sliders for HK$140?

We didn’t try the whole fried chicken but instead had the smaller portion of the “Jinjuu signature Korean fried chicken” (HK$125). Not fans of the breasts, we ordered the thighs – four pieces that were moist with a thin, crisp batter and served with two tiny squeeze-bottles of sauces that proved unnecessary.

And the burgers? The quality of the coarsely ground beef was good, and it was juicy without being fatty, but we couldn’t taste any “Korean spices”.

By comparison, the Iberico pork belly tacos (two for HK$130) seemed a much better deal. It would have been nice if the flour tortillas had been warmed on the griddle, but the filling was generous and flavourful: thick slices of meat, and a topping of apple kimchi and Korean slaw.

Korean steak tartare (HK$135) was also reasonably priced. The quality and texture of the meat was very good, and although it also could have used a little more salt, the seasonings (sesame oil, garlic and pear), plus the prawn crackers served alongside, made it a winning dish.

The “hand-harvested” braised local abalone (three for HK$230) was a little too salty, and the tomato salsa underneath was underseasoned, so the elements of the dish needed to be eaten together for balance. It wasn’t a bad dish, but we wouldn’t order it again.

Sea urchin bibimbap (HK$222) was a small portion served in the cutest dolsot (stone bowl), but that was fine because it had relatively expensive ingredients, including tobiko (flying fish roe) and black caviar. We were surprised that we could detect the creamy sea urchin, even after it had been mixed with the rice and other ingredients, and the subtle crunch of the tobiko caviar added texture.

Of the three desserts we tried, the most interesting was miso ice cream with choco crispy rice (HK$30). It sounds odd, but it worked – the fermented funkiness of the miso wasn’t too strong. The wrapper of the Snickers hotteok (HK$90) was far too thick and doughy, but the rest of the dessert – peanut parfait, ganache, peanut praline and Nutella powder – were delicious. Fried apple mandoo pie (HK$70) had a great presentation but the dough was slightly chewy, and the dumplings needed more filling.

Jinjuu, UG/F California Tower, 30-32 D’Aguilar St, Lan Kwai Fong, tel: 3755 4868. About HK$390 without drinks. There is no service charge