Normally I can overlook bad service if the food makes up for it. Unfortunately It was hard to decide which was worse at this place. The service was deplorable and the food was worse than the takeaway branch up the road. God knows what the Korean customers at the next table thought of this place, they must have been too drunk on badly poured drinks to care... Save your money and try one of the places around centre point, or even Bibigo!
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Thu Apr 14 2011
Kimchee’s an ambitious opening, with two large kitchens and an army of chefs preparing classic Korean dishes and grills. The huge dining room has more covers than a band at a wedding.
The expansive space is partitioned by looming black wood screens; there’s counter seating along the floor to ceiling windows à la Busaba Eathai, the rest being benches and large shared tables in the style of Wagamama.
On our visit a queue snaked out the door, though there were plenty of empty tables available – we got the impression that the harried staff (the tills had stopped working, apparently) were trying to stagger sittings to get things under control.
The menu is a good one for fans of fiery Korean cooking, with a lot of the crowd-pleasing classics such as dolsot bibimbap (rice cooked in a hot stone bowl with various toppings) and meaty barbecues (all cooked in the kitchen with its open grill, not at the table).
We appreciatively clocked the less frequently seen items, such as jajangmeon, a fermented black bean and noodle dish that has its roots in northern China.
The best dish of the night was a big bowl of humble budae jjigae (also known as Johnson tang or army stew), an intriguing dish that reflects the enterprising spirit of the Koreans after the Korean war, when meat was scarce. The dish combines one of the classic jjigae bases (a savoury broth flavoured with kimchi and hot chilli paste) with the army rations left behind by the US soldiers.
Ours was a good reflection of this unusual marriage: spam, frankfurters and baked beans swam in a hot spicy stew, with some ramen thrown in for good measure.
Unfortunately, the other dishes disappointed. Barbecued pork belly came cold and dry, not sizzling; skewers of beef tongue (also cold) varied in thickness, and were overseasoned with cumin.
Mixed namul, consisting of pickled radish, seasoned beansprouts and spinach, were bland and watery.
We were deeply unimpressed by the soju-based sojito cocktail (a twist on the mojito), served in small tumblers two-thirds filled with ice and tasting only of sour lemon juice. We mentioned it to our waitress, who apologised profusely – but the drinks still remained on the bill.
By the time we left, quite late in the evening, there was still a queue out the door – and the staff were still looking stressed. We imagine Kimchee is the kind of place where you would have a vastly different experience when visiting off-peak.
Kimchee 71 High Holborn
- Opening hours:
Open 11am-11pm daily.
Tube: Holborn or Chancery Lane tube
Meal for two with drinks and service: around £50
- 71 High Holborn
- 71 High Holborn
Average User Rating
2.4 / 5
- 5 star:6
- 4 star:6
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:2
- 1 star:17
This was my first experience of Korean food and I loved every minute of it! Group of six, although there was a queue at the door, we were seated promptly. The atmosphere was fantastic, buzzing and the food just kept coming.. bbq-ed pork belly, sizzling beef, scallops and traditional Bulgoggi pot (beef broth) were amongst my favourites. Still managed to fit in some ice creams- almond and rosted green tea were just divine. Great value for money- I will definitely go back to sample the rest of the menu!
I recently went to Kimchee with some work associates who had never had Korean before and I was so embarrassed. The restaurant represented Koreans and our food so awfully! The service was terrible and quality of the food was worse. We ordered beef bulgogi and it first came out burnt. Who burns bulgogi??? Anyway, when I complained, they looked annoyed and took it away and an HOUR later, came back with a new plate. It was not burnt but it tasted like someone mixed a dirty sock with the meat. Disgusting. I am so disappointed as I used to rave about this place. Especially as I thought their jajamyeung and jampong were delish. I won't be going back and certainly not taking any colleagues or friends.
Horrifically overpriced and service was absolutely terrible. Took ages to get their attention to order, and an item was forgotten- if I wasn't more embarrassed to do so, I would have asked to have the option 12.5% service charge taken off my bill.
Food was ok but service was very poor. I'm a Korean, I went to this restaurant with my British boyfriend in April. We ordered sweet chilli fried chicken as a starter, it was pretty good. But the problem started from the main dishes. We ordered Gal bi tang and Dol sot bibimbap. My Gal bi tang came first. I tried to eat slowly so we can enjoy eating together. I can understand that the dishes may come different times but I don't think Dol sot takes that long. In the time we finish the starter and one main dish. Even the person right next to us came later and ordered Gal bi set dish. The dish served earlier than my boyfriend’s. It wasn’t lunchtime but was busy. I couldn’t get any chance to talk to the waiters. So I went to one of them and asked about his Dol sot, then eventually it came to us. We finished our food. I wanted to go to the bathroom. I walked down to the corridor and looked around the restaurant if there is any sign of the bathroom. 2 or 3 waiters just passed by me, no one wanted to know why I was in the middle of the corridor. I was expecting someone to tell me where it is (because I think usually the customer wants to find the bathroom if he/she is standing in the corridor alone and looking around.) It took some time to ask someone. We got the bill, which also took ages to get, went to the till to pay. I found there was additional service charge and decided not to pay. I stopped one of the waiters (looked like a manager) and told him ‘I wasn’t happy about your service today so I don’t want to pay the service charge.’ His answer was ‘It’s ok.’ I didn’t pay service charge and it was ok for him. Did I expect too much from the waiter? I thought he might ask me why I wasn’t happy. If you visit this restaurant, you should not expect good service. I would go to another Korean restaurant near by. That one is much nicer. (Maybe little bit pricy though.)
Good food. Shame about the service and group seating policy. constantly have to chase the waiters, service was very slow and even the manager was rude when we mentioned it to him. I will not be going back.
Very disappointed service, not worth a visit at all. They have a strict policy that unless all of your friends are present, you will not be seated. The food quality is below average. If you are looking for real Korean food, this is not the right place for you.
I visited Kimchee for lunch today having said about a year ago I’d never go back. I've been a few times before (with the first being its opening day) because I work in the same building and almost every time something has been poor - usually to do with the service. Today we ordered 2 drinks, 2 starters and 2 mains for 2 people. You'd think that would be pretty easy to keep track of. After finishing all the food and drinks that had arrived we were still waiting on one of the mains. A polite reminder to the server was waved off as if it was all in hand. Meanwhile, the couple sitting next to us were experiencing similar problems and complained to the manager who used the excuse of computer problems and promised their food would arrive soon. Again we asked on our meal so the server went to investigate. He came back to serve somebody else without even acknowledging us until I asked and was told that the order was never put through - it didn't seem he'd done much to rectify the situation either so we said we'll take the bill and leave it. 10 minutes, no bill. So we got up to see the manager who was showing more interest in the couple beside us with similar issues and a new couple behind us having problems. We explained we wanted to leave and about our experience to which he had no sympathy and dismissed us with a stereotyped Gallic nonchalance. He said in recognition of our poor experience he would take the service charge off. Oh great, thanks. If I wavered before, I will not again. I will never go back to Kimchee.
Food and interior is really nice. But I wish they would be more friendly. There aren't any Korean staff, so they couldn'r explan to us what the food were. And bought another dish instead of I ordered, but no apology, no refunding as well.
as a half korean and a new malden resident (where the best korean rest aurants are), I have to admit this is quite a good first experience for anyone trying korean food. Prices aren't too bad if you're sharing, and the quality of food is good. Just make sure you go with someone who has an indication on what is good korean food. Go for the beef bulgogi, kimchee jigae, the arrays of kimchees, and one of the dolsot bimbibaps. It's definitely more of a mainstream experience, but i was pleasantly surprised at the authentic tastes!
Had a great time at Kimchee - really enjoyed the food & the buzzy atmosphere! The juices & side dishes were all fabulous. Will definitely be visiting again
Terrible, terrible service!!! Rude staff, who didnt even know what the menu was. I ordered a beef noodle dish, it came cold,with ice cubes in it. I complained and said i wasnt told it would be cold and icy and they refused to let me change the order. So i was made to pay for a dish i did not want. It took ages to get served, the staff avoid eye contact so that they do not have to serve you or offer help. Terrible, do not go!!!!
Had a lovely time at kimchee despite huge queues! Service and food both great. Will def come back again to take advantage of the 50 percent offer
I went there with my friend and her daughter. Food was fine. This was the worst service of my life. End of the evening we paid the bill and chatting with friends who come after us. The waitress who doesn’t know much of English, She poured almost 2 class of water in friend’s my back and her friend’s coat, after that she didn’t apologized only cleaning the floor. We asked her to call her manager she said angrily ok. After couple of minutes no sign of Manager. Either we had no apology from the waitress. Than we saw one of the men working by the door told him, then he took the coat for dry I guessed. We told waitress that how important her to clean floor than customer soaked wet coat and her jumper, she was rudest person I ever seen in my life. Even she told me that I was rude. How on earth some like her to allowed to work there!!!!! I wonder why this place has such poor customer service review. After 20 minutes or more less Manager suddenly appeared and no idea what we talking about who’s coat wet or what happened. He said that no one informed him about the accident. He was very apologetic and try doing he is best. But that wasn’t enough. He offered us to take 3 meals take way. That’s really humiliating. I asked him to refund part of my bill which was customer service charge £5.36. I would take this case to serious matter but my friend doesn’t want to argue or complain with them. So we just carried on waiting her coat returned. When her coat returned it was still wet. They haven’t than anything about it. How to dry! Despite bringing soaked coat especially when it is really cold evening. So again I called the Manager asked him to arrange transport for my friend to get home. He wasn’t happy to do it. Then back and forth finally they managed to get taxi for us, when taxi comes there was no child booster seat or anything! All this experience I found that this place have such poor management and customer service. I wish no one will have this experience like us. There have plenty staff but seems as if they have no restaurant experience and no idea how to be attentive with customers. They just were wondering round cleaning tables, no smile, not polite either. There was no highchair for babies and children!!! And no spaces for buggy as well!!! I’ve never seen this kind of restaurant in London! I would never recommend anyone for this restaurant!! There are many Korean restaurants in London far better than this place.
Went on the weekend & had a really enjoyable time! Loved the decor & the buzzing atmosphere. Kimchee was delicious, wish the portion had been bigger! Tried lots of different dishes, each one tasted pretty fresh. I actually thought the service was pretty good although im sure when it is heaving during the week it can probably get quite manic! 4 stars from me
Food was nice, the interior is nice but you will forget it very quickly once you order your food. This was the worst service of my life. The waiters can hardly speak English, they forgot to bring our MAIN dishes and we had to order it again. When they finally brought it wasn't complete, they forgot some dishes. By then, we have been waiting for an hour already. When we were asking where the hell our main courses are she actually asked us, DO YOU REMEMBER THE NUMBER OF THE DISH BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW WHAT BULGOHI IS. Oh my God, in Korian restaurant she doesn't know what is Bulgogi! After an awful service noone appologized, noone said 'bye' when we were coming out. It was an awful experience. I did like the restaurant and the food but because of the idiotic waiters I'm never coming back there. I wouldn't write this review based on one waiter, we talked at least to 5 of them and they were all plain dull, lazy, useful and unhelpful.
Visited last night & tried the set menu they have for xmas - really enjoyed the variety and the way it had been displayed on the mats! Loved the fact they had a vegetarian option too which looked pretty good. Also, as we were paying our bill they gave us a cute xmas card with a 50% off voucher in January - i will definitely be coming back
Really enjoyed the food here - couldnt fault any of the dishes. My favourites were the crab dish and the BBQ chicken, delicious! The cocktails were delicious aswell & not too strong. Will defiinitely be returning soon
Went there for the third time on Sunday night - the first two times were okay but on Sunday I was given a chicken dish which wasn't cooked through, I noticed this half-way through and pointed i out to the waitress who just looked annoyed and wanted to know what she should do about that. With that type of attitude - especially towards something which is not safe to eat I doubt I will visit again.
Went with a mixture of English, Korean and Chinese friends. We had seen the mixed reviews, and were very pleasantly surprised. Food was great, with some traditional Korean and some Korean style Chinese food, which I am told is very popular in Korea these days, everyone really enjoyed it, great service and excellent value for money. Definitely going again, really good experience.
Excellent! Throughly enjoyed my experience here - each and every dish was fantastic & the service was great. I wil definitely be back!
Went for dinner at Kimchee on Friday around 7pm: it was busy but we managed to get a table for 5 without delay, no problems with service. Don't know an awful lot about Korean food, but everything we ate came promptly and was delicious. I'll be going back!
being from a korean background I was disappointed in the food. It was way to sweet for korean food. the bbq does not taste like korean bbq. the bibimbap does not have the traditional key ingredients. the staff are many but seems as if they have no restaurant experience. they don't know when to take your order and do not know when to come back so you can pay. the only thing that they know how to do is wipe down the table.
We visited Kimchee a few days after it opened, for lunch around 1.45pm on a Tuesday. There was no queue outside and most tables were empty. We were generally happy but not overwhelmed by the food. With 50% off, it seemed the prices were set appropriately for the quality of the food. The service, however, was terrible. We were served the wrong meal three times, and one guest waited nearly an hour for his food. After a 2 hour lunch, we waited for 10 minutes to catch their attention and ask for the bill. They lost the bill (or had failed to ever record it). We told them honestly every dish and drink we had ordered. The manager returned to say that they had lost the bill again. No one had thought of writing down our dishes after the first computer faiilure; they were unable to think for themselves. We were all under so much time pressure that we ended up leaving our money with the man who was finally eating his main course, just so that we could get back to work. No one, including the manager, offered us a discount or any incentive to return. As we're right next to Kimchee, we could have returned for lunch or dinner a couple of times a week. But after that kind of service, I wouldn't wish Kimchee on my worst enemy.
Visited Kimchee last night for the second time. I think alot of the reviews have been rather harsh; granted the service has been a little hit and miss but i went last night with an open mind and i have to say was pleasantly surprised. Staff were attentive and helpful and i cant fault the service this time round. In terms of food, we ordered the Kimchee and Kkakdugi to begin with. This time round it was delicious, the right level of spice and tangy ness, i wanted to order another round! Next up, we had Pa Jeon and Dubu Kimchee - both were delicious, with the dubu kimchee edging slightly ahead in being my favourite of the two. Chicken Bibimbap, Bulgogi and Mackerel Gui all arrived piping hot and extremely flavoursome. Last time, i had been a little disappointed by the drinks but this time round they were great - i tried the Sojito and my friend had the Soju Red, both were delicious so much so that we ordered another couple. Overall, my experience this time round was so much better than last time i went. Staff were more knowledgeable, food arrived promptly and piping hot (where required) and the ambiance in the restaurant was v chilled and relaxed. A big thumbs up from me and i look forward to visiting again soon!
We went to Kimchee on Thursday night for at 7:00pm sitting. I read some mix reviews on the net but like to try out the place myself. There was a large Q but will worth the wait. We enter a very stylish restaurant, the interior was warm modern fused an wink to classic Korean. The walls where exposed layered grey stone covered with glass. They did similar style with natural wood walls covered with glass. What made it look like a preserved work of art. I have to say from beginning to end the staff could not have been more charming, helpful and were there when you wanted them to be. Although it was very busy. The waiter helped us with the Korean food as we where not familiar with this delightful cuisine. The food was wonderful really wonderful - We all loved it, we shared al dishes. As a starter we ordered the scallop skewer, chilly prawns and soft shell crab. everything was very tasty, very hot (heat wise) and beautifully presented. We had various cocktails starting with a gorgeous red Soju one. which was also very good and complimented the pork belly dish wonderfully. The Bulgogi dish was a delightfully tasty mix of flavours. I really enjoyed the vibe in this restaurant, we had an early sitting but it was buzzy and next to our group where many Korean guest. Looking at there faces it was obviously good food. The meal for three was well priced - as you can tell from the review we did not go mad but felt that we got good service and excellent food and therefore it was worth it. Can't wait to go again and will do so soon as it's well affordable.
The service was appalling and the food mediocre, AT BEST. I honestly can't be bothered to describe in detail how appalling the service was, as my efforts would probably result in a novel, but for the sake of any potential diners, let me just say that I would have demanded to speak to the manager if it weren't for the 50% discount. As someone who is part-Korean and has lived in Korea, I can confidently say that the menu is absurdly inauthentic, the food pathetic, and the service, as I have already noted, awful. Almost any other restaurant in the city would be better.
Being a fan of korean food, I've been eye-ing Kimchee ever since its opening was advertised. However, I have to say I was disappointed when I finally dined there with a friend. Firstly, we ordered kimchee, which surprisingly turned out slightly bland. It looked as though they had sort of dipped the kimchee in water before serving it out. We also ordered Kimchee Zigae (kimchee broth soup) which was a let down too, because it tasted more like tomato soup than kimchee soup. Finally, we ordered beef bulgogi, which had no taste of the bulgogi sauce and tasted more like normal grilled beef. Besides the beautifully decorated interior, the only thing I enjoyed there was the korean tea, which I later found out was brewed from teabags. I honestly felt like the real taste of korean food did not shine through. However, I believe that it will be much suited to the locals, who might not be accustomed to korean food (some of which are acquired tastes like kimchee). For those who would like to experience real korean tasting food, head over to tottenham court road.
Went with friends hoping for a good experience. Started off badly. Bought tea to the table hot, instead of cold. My glass was warm to touch and melted the ice in no time. Sojito was half filled with ice. Then starters came. Spicy calamari, the batter crumbled when picked up, not helped by the sauce. Overpriced at (Almost £5) for 4 pieces of calamari, bulked out on the plate with vegetables. Soft shell crab was disappointing but the rice cakes were ok. Balancing proportion of food. The raw beef Bibimbap, contained about a tablespoon of beef only! The seafood Bibimbap (meant to consist of scallops, prawns, mussels and squid) Got 1 scallop, 1 large prawn, many tiny mussels and baby shrimps). Kimchee tasted like it was sat out too long, lost its crunchy bite. And the jigae was again bulked out this time with instant noodles. And who puts spam in jigae? Way overstaffed and despite that had difficult getting hold of one. Won't return.
A friend and I went to Kimchee Holborn on 16 April. We had to queue to get in the front door. Then when we got inside we had to queue again, by standing, as there weren't enough available seats. Curiously though the restaurant was only half full! On being served our drinks the waitress said "don't look at me I'm not Korean". My friend and I were astonished by this remark when we hadn't even said anything to the waitress to get such a response. We were just waiting for our drinks. We hadn't eaten Korean before so we asked another nearby waitress about dishes on the menu. She couldn't really help us! Then one dish arrived before the others and the waiter said "this is the kichmee" as opposed to kimchee. It was in a small bowl and so we tucked in. Only upon asking another waitress were we told that it was actually my friend's main dish. We hadn't eaten Korean before and so couldn't tell what dish was which. We told the waitress that her male colleague had misinformed us to which she replied "I can't comment". Our shared starter of kimchee then arrived - of course after my friend's main dish had already arrived some seven or so minutes earlier. Despite the poor service and the medicocre food everything remained on the bill and I wish I'd asked that the optional service charge be removed. We wouldn't recommend Kimchee even with the current discount offer in place. If the offer hadn't been in place then we'd have definitely felt more ripped off than we already were.
Kimchee just re-opened recently in Holborn after an extensive refit. We decided ti visit the restaurant last week as they had an opening offer of 50% of food. The queue's for Kim Chee were longer as it seemed that most of Holborn had turned up to sample the food at reduced prices. The interior of the restaurant was spacious, with the cooking area on the right side of restaurant. The service was slow and awkward with lots of tables receiving the wrong dishes, however this was to be expected as it was their first opening week. We ordered a crispy prawns and calamari in batter for starters and for mains had the Beef Bim Bap and the seafood noodles in black bean sauce. The waiters/waitresses were trained to deliver food to the table using the Korean names for the dishes, this was probably a good idea at the time, but in practice I found this confusing as I only new that I ordered in English I didn't know what the phrase would be in Korean so when the food was delivered to the table I could only take the waiters word but it was what I had ordered!! The starters were quite minimal, and average! The "Beef Bim Bap", I use the term loosely to describe the meal I received, as there seem to be little Beef to the Bim Bap. To be more accurate their were around ten grains of beef. As I had Beef Bim Bap previously at another nearby restaurant I was thoroughly disappointed. I called the waitress over and explained to her my disappointment, she in turn spoke to the floor manager who come over. I explained again about my disappointed with the dish I received and I was fobbed off with the explanation that their version of Bim Bap was different to other restaurants so thusly it had less Beef. The seafood in black bean sauce only had 3 small prawns with the shells on and a few pieces of shredded calamari that dissolved in your mouth but there was far too much black bean sauce and onions which made the dish quite sickly after a while. In conclusion I think there are far better Korean restaurants close by, as it was their opening week I hope these problems are ironed out soon as it has the potential to be a lot better than it actually is.