If we said KFC, you might think of the family bucket that brings everyone together. But the KFC we had this week was KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN.
We paid a visit to the trendy Jubo in London’s Clerkenwell, but it isn’t your traditional Korean restaurant. This one’s more like a laid back, casual drinking type restaurant. It’s a small restaurant and you’re greeted with the well stocked bar upon entry. It felt more like a trendy Korean tapas bar though. There were wooden tables and a big chalkboard with the whole menu written up. We opted to sit on the high chairs at the back near the kitchen. But that meant no where to hang our coats. We were very well looked after though. Our friend had a bit of an accident and spilt her drink and the waiters very kindly made another one for her free of charge!
Talking of drinks, there’s 2-4-1 cocktails before 7pm. We tried two:
The Sassy Girl (£8.50) – soju, lychee puree, cranberry juice, syrup. The lychee puree was the winner here, masking over the soju (Korean liquer). If you like your lychee cocktails, then this one is for you.
K-town Mistress (£8.50) – soju, vodka, lime, pomegranate. This had a bitter undertone from the citrus. But it was more like grapefruit than lime. The soju and vodka were nicely covered up. Very dangerous drink!
There was a good selection of “bar bites” at reasonable prices. All the food came out really quick, most likely because it was pre-prepared. As these were nibbles to accompany your drinks, you’ll eat with your hands like we did. But unfortunately there were no wet wipes.
We chose the deal of four sides for £13.00:
- Pajeon (£3.25) – crispy scallion and courgette Korean pancake, served with soy and sesame dip. This was a little disappointing. The outside wasn’t crispy as it should be. The batter was too thick and there wasn’t much of the scallion or courgette in there. The only thing that saved this dish was the soy and sesame dip which was delish!
- Kochi selection (£4.25) – BBQ skewers. For this price we received one of the soy marinated, slow cooked pork belly with roasted garlic and two of the spicy bulgogi chicken with grilled scallion skewers. The pork belly was fatty, succulent and just absolutely amazing! The roasted garlic had been cooked so long that the sweetness really came through and helped to cut the richness of the pork belly so well. Shame the deal only served us one skewer 🙁 The spicy bulgogi chicken on the other hand was nice but not as great. Maybe because we had it after the amazing pork belly. It wasn’t as spicy as the name suggests either.
- Eoh muk jeon (£3.50) – Korean flat style fish cakes with a drizzle of sriracha. These were little crispy bite size pieces of squidginess. Well seasoned with pepper, with the flavours of dried prawns and squid really coming through. The sriracha added an extra heat to these fish cakes. But if it’s not enough, then there’s a whole bottle of the stuff on the table for you!
- Jing-eo tuigim (£3.50) – baby squid ‘calamari’ with sweet mayo. Some pieces were fluffy on the inside yet crispy on the outside. But some were just pieces of mush. Would’ve liked more seasoning as all we could taste was the mayo. If you like your calamari, we’d suggest not ordering this.
Next comes the star of the show – Korean Fried Chicken (four wings for £8.75, six strips for £9.75). You can choose to have the wings, or if you don’t like bones you can have the chicken strips instead. We went for both of course! The chicken is deep fried with its skin left on, so it was really crispy. There’s also three levels of flavours to choose from. For the “no spice for me please” crew you can have the chicken marinated in soy garlic. For the “we like a bit of heat” group, the hot level will be enough to tickle your tastebuds. For the “the more the merrier” lot, the volcanic level is definitely for you.
As there were four of us sharing this meal, these nibbles just weren’t enough so we thought we’d order some mains too.
Kimchi bokkeumbap (£6.50) – kimchi fried rice, spinach (or bacon for you meat lovers), sesame, spring onion, gim (seaweed) and topped with a sunny side up. This was another disappointing dish. The rice was pretty bland and you couldn’t taste anything but the sriracha. The runny egg was an attempt to bring the dish together, but it still wasn’t enough to impress us.
Yaka mein (£6.50) – sliced chargrilled beef, beef marrow broth, wheat noodles, shaved cucumber and carrot, kochukaru (Korean chili powder), spring onions, sesame seeds, boiled egg. Silky soft noodles in a pretty decent broth. The raw cucumber and carrots gave the dish an extra crunch. The beef was just cooked and had that smokey grilled taste. You couldn’t really taste the kochukaru though.
We also had two small side dishes – kimchi and crispy fried lotus roots (£3.50 each). The kimchi was sharp and spicy as it should be. The crispy lotus roots were seasoned with rock salt and were like extra special crisps. But at £3.50 a bowl, these were pretty pricey.
So overall, we gave Jubo 2.5 yums. Some of the dishes were nice, but some were really disappointing. They used to have a branch in Shoreditch, which was more convenient. Sadly it no longer exists. So if you’re unfamiliar with the Clerkenwell area, you may have a hard time finding Jubo. If it isn’t already, then Google map will become your best friend. If you’re looking for traditional Korean grub, then we wouldn’t recommend Jubo. It’s also not worth the hassle of travelling to this little tucked away bar if you’re not nearby. But if you’re hanging out in the nearby trendy area of Clerkenwell or Angel, then a trip here would be alright.
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