Kimchee Bar, Holborn

Kimchee Bar

Korean cocktails. Don’t you hate it when a new trend completely passes you by?

While I’m hardly a trendsetter, through my line of work I tend to know or hear about most fashions, fads and frissions in the food and drinks game. But I have to admit that the concept of Korean cocktails has thrown me.

Korean cuisine has long been a favourite of the Northerners, since she plied her trade in the fashion arm of Samsung back in the nineties. Kimchee is a very popular Korean restaurant in Holborn, and as of November, they have converted their basement into an upmarket and stylish cocktail bar. Following on from the template of the restaurant, the bar has lounge-style seating and beautiful Asian-style décor that includes dark-wood paneling and an indoor water garden.

The cocktails themselves were .. . interesting! Promising the flavours of Seoul, the drinks list is crammed with authentic Asian and Korean spirits, from classic Soju and Hakushu to lesser-­known Baekseju and Umeshu. Kimchee also gives you Korean versions of cocktail classics, so the they do a Kimchee Mary and Sojito (I’ll leave you to guess what they are derived from), in addition to other highly punned beverages such as the Seoul Sister. As cocktails themselves they weren’t from the top drawer – a little too sweet and light for my tastes – but very nice as a pre-theatre or dinner offering. Which is probably the point of the Kimchee cocktail bar, as with a 10:30pm license, it's not trying to be a destination venue.

Worth a visit? Most definitely. But I would use it as a precursor the fine Korean dining upstairs, rather then basing an evening around it. But perhaps I’m simply confirming my lack of a trend radar. Korean cocktails, huh. What next?

Kimchee Bar

71 High Holborn

London WC1V 6EA

020 7430 0956