If I had to pick a favourite mealtime, it would probably be brunch. It combines all the best bits of breakfast and lunch and it’s not frowned upon to eat everything in sight. Modern Korean restaurant in Lan Kwai Fong, Jinjuu, has recently started serving a weekend brunch that is well worth trying.
Jinjuu opened at the end of last year, helmed by celebrity Iron Chef Judy Joo. It is her second branch of the restaurant, the other being in London. Jinjuu serves both traditional and contemporary Korean food in a very cool, open and airy space in California Tower.
We tried it on Easter Sunday (hence the cute little chicks in the photos), and truly did eat everything in sight! The brunch begins with a decent buffet spread with not so typical Korean dishes. Given Chef Judy’s American background, the buffet includes bagels (made by Schragels) with interesting spreads (or “schmears”) such as kimchi and bacon cream cheese, or daechu and yuzu cream cheese, alongside a platter of smoked salmon. I couldn’t get enough of the kimchi and bacon “schmear”.
The bite-sized Korean-style tuna tartare with apple and mustard didn’t really do it for me, but I did enjoy the bulgogi beef kimbap (rolls) and the accompanying chilli sauce.
There’s a make-your-own bibimbap station, where you can select the ingredients you’d like, which are then mixed up together in a hot stone bowl and brought to your table.
What Jinjuu brunch is really all about, however, is the Korean fried chicken. It really is quite something. Chef Judy adds vodka and matzo meal to her batter, making it extra crispy and the chicken super juicy and tender. There isn’t just one type of fried chicken here either – there are chicken thighs, chicken wings and chicken breast, as well as Korean fried tofu for the vegetarians. Surprisingly, my favourite was the chicken breast, which wasn’t in the slightest bit dry as breast can sometimes be. Although I said “for the vegetarians”, the tofu should not be reserved for vegetarians alone, as it may be some of the best tofu I’ve ever had.
For the second part of the brunch (if you’re feeling gluttonous enough to go for the full package) you can choose a main course from the a la carte menu. The Iberico pork kimchi fried rice was insanely good. Thick slices of pork belly, a perfectly soft poached egg and kimchi came together with the sweet, slightly spicy sauce and salty seaweed to create a winning dish.
Even better, however, were the Kalbi Jjim USDA short ribs that literally melted in the mouth. I liked the contrasting crispy fries and simple chunks of grilled veggies too. I actually ate mine with the fried rice, which somehow worked.
Having given up sugar for Lent, I was most excited to be able to eat dessert. The platter didn’t look all that exciting (I was hoping for some sort of chocolate with which to celebrate the end of Lent), yet I couldn’t have been more wrong. The little crème brûlée spoons had a gloriously thick and satisfying crust that gave way to beautifully creamy custard beneath. The true star, however, was the strawberry mess, which was refreshingly tart and took me quite by surprise.
Jinjuu’s brunch is priced at $400 for the full package, with the option to add on free-flow Louis Roederer champagne, wine and cocktails for an additional $200. The buffet part alone is $250, but why would you choose to miss out on short ribs and dessert?! I was impressed by Jinjuu’s brunch menu and would definitely recommend it as a new and exciting brunch alternative that works for both small and large groups, as a celebration or just as a post-workout indulgence!
UG/F, 32 D’Aguilar Street
Tel: +852 3755 4868