Yesterday I had a spot of luck. I was venturing into central London via my usual train terminus, London Victoria and whilst negotiating my way around the busy junction where Vauxhall bridge road meets Victoria Street when I spotted something rather interesting, a new Korean eatery. I may have a sixth sense when it comes to sniffing out Korean food which is a blessing indeed. I grabbed my companion and hastily led him to ‘Jijimi’.
The interior of the restaurant is in a contemporary scheme of lime green, dark brown and black with a hint of dark chilli red. Each pale wood table has its own Korean barbecue set into the centre and seating is on comfortable leather chairs and ottoman style benches.
The menu was simple but varied and included many of my favourite dishes such as Korean pancake, various bulgogi lunches, and stews. There were also some Japanese dishes available. I opted for the dolsot bibimbap (the one served in the sizzling stone bowl). My companion chose the beef bulgogi lunch served with rice. We chose to drink Green tea. Whilst we were waiting for our food, our friendly and polite waiter brought us two small dishes, one contained shredded radish, refreshing yet spicy and the other a finely sliced cucumber side dish, slightly sweet yet also spicy. Excited that this restaurant was seconds away from Victoria unlike many of the central London Korean restaurants which tend to be clustered near Tottenham court road, I asked the waiter how long Jijimi had been open. He told us that it had only opened this month. I love finding new little eateries before they get really busy!
I asked the co-owner Jay Lee about Jijimi, and he told me that the name means ‘korean pancake’. He said that the restaurant would eventually add more Japanese cuisine to the menu, in particular a good selection of Sushi. Mr Lee also told me about the other branch of Jijimi which is a small store nearby at St James Park, which sells various oriental groceries and some take-away Korean dishes too. A website and facebook profile are in development and will eventually include menus and booking facilities.
Our food arrived and we weren’t disappointed. My Bibimbap was suitably sizzling and the fried egg on top willed me to get my spoon stuck in and start stirring. A good amount of gochujang spicy chilli sauce was provided in a small china dish to add. I always scrape it all in but others prefer only a dash at it does give the dish some heat. The portion was good and it was amongst the best Bibimbaps I have tasted. My companion heartily enjoyed his Beef Bulgogi lunch. He has tasted many in his time and also makes a great bulgogi which we take camping with us, and he gave his meal a thumbs up too. Halfway through our meal our waiter had noticed our side dishes had got low and asked if we would like some more, we nodded vigorously as we both tend not to speak whilst we hoover away our food.
All in all a very pleasant surprise lunch. The meal came to a reasonable £14.00 for two large main courses, two green teas and complimentary side dishes, Yes, complimentary side dishes! It is rare to find anything complimentary in central London so this put a smile on my face. It is going to be very difficult to resist popping in each time I pass through Victoria, and handy to know I can get some Korean groceries nearby too.
‘Jijimi’ has also kindly offered a 10% discount to London Korean Links readers who mention this article at their Victoria restaurant. Jijimi seems to be a well kept secret at the moment but once the marketing machine is switched on it is likely to get busy quickly, especially with all those ‘Kpop’ nights just around the corner!
www.jijimi.co.uk or search Jijimi on facebook.
312 Vauxhall bridge road. Victoria. SW1V 1AA
Tel: 0208 616 0498 / 07872 428625
(Mon – Sat 12-3pm, 6pm to 11pm)
Sun: closed, open for group bookings only
Jijimi Food store
Unit 6, shopping mall, 55 Broadway, St. James’s Park. SW1H 0BD.
Tel: 0208 945 4168 / 077233 26167
(Mon to Fri 12 to 6:30pm)