Translating as ‘my neighbour Jee’, Jee Cee Neh is an apt moniker for this restaurant, which has a decidedly homespun feel. It’s often packed, with a mix of Korean and Western customers, and at weekends is a popular family lunch spot.
Like the venue, the authentic dishes are homely and unpretentious. Japch’ae, for example, comes with less finely cut batons of veg than you’d get in central London, plus plenty of earthy flavour – and succulent beef strips. As with most New Malden Korean restaurants, barley tea and a few side dishes come free with your meal; the latter included boiled carrot and potato slices in koch’ujang chilli sauce, crunchy, salted mung beansprouts and a complex, well-aged kimchi.
Barbecue dishes make a good choice here, as do stews such as spicy kimchi and pork or soft tofu and seafood, served with boiled rice. We also tried kang pung gi, a dish that originated in China: chunks of double-fried chicken thigh, encased (as they should be) in a crisp yet chewy batter. The slick of spicy sauce they were coated in was on the sweet side. Service can be variable, but usually comes with a smile.