Cocktails have been created at new London restaurant Jinjuu to complement its Korean cuisine, including a range of drinks made with Korean spirit soju.
Bar manager Kristian Breivik, previously at west London bar Trailer Happiness, has developed a special list of soju-based cocktails, combining the flavours and styles of the east and west.
Signature cocktails include the Seoul Sour, made with soju, ginseng spirit, honey and lavender syrup, egg white and fresh yuzu juice, and the South Korean Sling – a mix of plum-infused soju, cherry brandy, fresh citrus and aromatic bitters.
The Psy Sour (pictured below) is made with Hwayo soju, ginseng spirit, amuka honey and red ginseng syrup, fresh yuzu and lavender bitters.
Jinjuu in Kingly Street in the Carnaby area of Soho, stocks four different types of soju – believed to be the only place in London to do so. They include Jinro and Hwyao – the premium brand of soju available at 25% ABV and 41% ABV.
There are house infusions of soju that change on a seasonal basis. Current infusions include celery and black pepper which is used to make the Spiced Kimchi Mary – a twist on a Bloody Mary with with spicy gochugaru powder on the rim. Other infusions include red plum, kumquat, pineapple, and lychee.
Another twist on a classic is the White Rice Negroni, which mixes Hwayo soju, Suze aperitif, vermouth and mandarin bitters, served over an ice cube made with orange peel that infused that ice as it melts.
Jinjuu – meaning “pearl” – was opened in January by Korean-American chef and presenter Judy Joo in partnership with Kia Joorabchian, founder of Babbo Group.
Designed by leading hospitality practice Tibbatts Abel, it seats 85 over two floors. Drinks and “anju” – meaning Korean food consumed with alcohol – are served in the ground-floor bar which has high tables, an outdoor terrace and an illuminated back bar displaying the bottles of soju.
Alongside the cocktails and Asian beer selection, snacks include Korean tacos, pajeon pancakes and Jinjuu’s signature dish, Korean fried chicken.
Downstairs in the restaurant, guests can enjoy Korean sharing platters and side dishes such as the Ko-Mex dish of Korean carnitas fries – fries topped with braised pork and kimchi. Barbecued meats are prepared on the open kitchen grill and wrapped with lettuce.
Alongside comfortable banquette seating, there are counter dining spaces for watching the chefs at work.
Tibbatts Abel’s design exhibits Korean motifs throughout, contrasting the ornate and decorative with the industrial and raw to subtly reflect the modern and traditional aspects of Seoul. Korean street graffiti art depicts Korean and British dragons.
An exposed brick wall is burned with white crane birds – symbolic in Korean culture for longevity – while Celadon coloured fabrics, silks, ceramics, soft pearls and warm copper notes balance against concrete, gun-metal accents and distressed metal finishes.
The restaurant is open for lunch from midday to 3pm Monday-Saturday and for dinner from 6pm to 11pm daily. The bar at Jinjuu is open daily from midday, until midnight Sunday to Wednesday and until 1.30am Thursday to Sunday, hosting regular DJ nights.