Although still very popular at the hotel weekend brunches, amongst others, many of the newer brunch offerings in town are moving away from the buffet concept that interrupts conversation flow and can often overwhelm diners, towards a flowing menu that’s brought to your table. Popular modern Korean restaurant Jinjuu has just undergone a revamp of not only the interiors, but also its menus, including replacing its buffet brunch offering with an all-you-can-eat brunch menu that’s brought to your table.
The décor at Jinjuu has always been pretty cool, but somehow it is now even cooler, with a much longer bar, to allow for a stronger focus on Jinjuu’s happy hour (known here as “Seoul Hour”) and nightlife.
Although fans of Jinjuu’s former brunch menu (reviewed here) will be sad to see the end of the fried chicken station, the new menu, in my opinion, is even better. An array of beautifully presented starters is first brought to the table as individual portions, one at a time. If you love a particular starter, you can order it again and again, before moving onto your choice of main course, followed by dessert.
Our feast began with some beetroot-cured salmon, a perfectly purple spiral of beetroot-cured salmon gravalax, stuffed with yuzu pickled beetroot and deonjang confit mushrooms. The combination of flavours and textures was utterly delicious, although we did find the accompanying wholegrain mustard vinaigrette to be just a touch too heavy on the vinegar.
The Mandoo soup consisted of a plump beef and pork dumpling, topped with black truffle, over which was poured a heavenly rich and satisfying broth. It was so good that I had to order a second one of these.
The kimchi arancini is a Korean take on the Italian classic. The rice is infused with spicy kimchi, shaped into balls and then filled with taleggio and sharp cheddar cheese to create a winning combination. I also loved the accompanying smoked spiced aubergine aioli.
Another of our favourites, of which we both ordered a second round, were the slow-cooked free-range chicken skewers. These were incredibly tender, glazed in a sweet, sticky soy sauce and served with a dollop of delicious black garlic aioli and sesame confit shallots. I could probably have ordered a third and fourth round of these, had there not still been lots to come!
The Koreans really can do anything with kimchi; here it is layered amongst sliced potatoes, spring onion, asparagus and egg to form a variation on a Spanish tortilla. Admittedly it isn’t a combination I would have thought of, but it was a rather good one.
Perhaps my least favourite of the starters (yes, we are still on the starters!) was the char-grilled king prawn, as it was a tad overcooked and had a rather hard, rubbery consistency.
The spiced sweet corn, however, was beautiful, smothered in a butter and honey glaze, Korean spices and chilli mayo.
Lovers of Jinjuu’s famous fried chicken need not fear, as one of the main course options is half a Korean fried baby chicken, complete with all the trimmings and their signature sauces. The chicken is lovely and juicy, whilst the batter is light and crisp, without seeming remotely greasy.
My favourite of the mains we tried was actually the Kalbi Hotteok. This consisted of a Korean-style glutinous rice dumpling, stuffed with bulgogi-marinated beef short rib and sautéed mushrooms, served on a sticky short-rib glaze, alongside more of that incredible black garlic aioli. It was certainly a filling and heavy option, but seriously tasty.
Jinjuu’s brunch finishes with a platter of homemade ice creams – double chocolate, strawberry, vanilla and banana fudge – with honeycomb and caramelised nut and seed clusters. A wonderful end to a yummy meal!
The new brunch menu is available every Saturday and Sunday for $388 per person, with the option to add two hours of free-flow Prosecco or Moët for $188 or $248 per person respectively. Some may be sad to see the end of the buffet, but I’m actually a big fan of the new menu and would certainly recommend it as an exciting new brunch option that doesn’t require getting up from your seat!
UG/F, 32 D’aguilar Street
Tel: +852 3755 4868