get pass its facade, Jin Go Gae has a more inviting interior
To recap, W, a Korean acquintance of mine recommended me two Korean restaurants in the vicinity of Raynes Park train station and I was determined to try them out in a single day. After lunch at Cah Chi, the three of us headed to Kingston before hopping on to bus 131 to Burlington Road for dinner at Jin Go Gae.
After our experience at Cah Chi, I didn't bother to make a reservation at Jin Go Gae. A mistake that almost delayed our dinner by an hour if not for a last minute cancellation the moment we were turned away. Jin Go Gae definitely felt much more commercial than Cah Chi and it was packed with Koreans, Chinese and Japanese when we were there.
one of the private rooms
Other than the tables in the main area, there were also four low tables in two elevated rooms that could be reserved for private dining. Fortunately for us the cancellation of a reservation meant that we get to dine in one of the private rooms. There we were sitting cross legged, with our legs tucked under the low table, flipping through the extensive menu before pressing a button inconspicuously position the side wall for the waitress to place our orders.
a spread of complimentary starters
Like Cah Chi, we were served complementary side dishes right from the onset. Correct me if I'm wrong but I have yet to find a Korean restaurant in central London that does that. Apparently, that is the reason why W refused to dine at these Korean restaurants as he feels rather indignant at having to pay for these side dishes.
After the fried dishes at Cah Chi, we decided on Par-Jeon (seafood pancake) - £6.90. You can't really go wrong with this must have Korean dish and Jin Go Gae did it just fine with a smoky aftertaste.
The Cap Chae (thin glass vermicelli with beef slices and veg) - £7.90 tasted surprisingly well given its presentation. For around the same price, the portion was much larger than that of Korean Kitchen. I would recommend that, an appropriate dish to accompany barbercue meat, to be shared between three to four people.
That was the first time we ordered Tuk Pokee (spicy rice cake, fish cake with veg) - £7.90. I am not sure how this should taste like but I thought it was a tad bland even with the spicy red gravy coated over the rice rolls - the rice and gravy just didn't gel if you get what I mean. That was another stomach filler so avoid this dish if you are a light eater.
Sliced Pork Belly
The waitress set up a barbecue stove on our table and served Sliced Pork Belly with green tea power - £6.90. To be honest, I didn't see or taste any green tea powder. Then again, my palate was probably tainted by the previous dishes, which had rather strong taste. Even so, every barbercue dish that I had tasted way better after the fiasco at New Seoul (insert link).
After we were done with the pork belly, the stove was replaced and the Bulgogi (beef with glass vermicelli and veg) - £14.90 came with it. By that time, we were almost filled to the brim (all thanks to the rice cakes) and we were having trouble finishing the beef. If you just want to have a taste of Korean barbercue, the Bulgogi, with it accompanying spread, would be a really safe dish.
Sesame ice cream - chunks of it
Even though we were struggling to finish what was laid on our table, we couldn't resist asking for the dessert menu. After some deliberation, we went for sesame ice cream - £4.90. Well, we were abit disappointed when the ice cream finally arrived. There were basically three scoops of ice cream heaped on a cup and that was it. Presentation aside, there were icicles in the ice cream probably due to repeated freezing and thawing. You're better off grabbing a Krispy Kreme doughnut just across the street for desserts.
Though decent, I'm not sure whether Jin Go Gae is worth the train ride and subsequent bus ride from central London but if you have a travelcard, consider dropping by on a weekend for a barbercue session. And please call beforehand to reserve a table in one of the private rooms to prevent being engulfed in the barbecue fumes.
Address: 272 Burlington Road, KT3 4NL
Tel: 020 8949 2506
Nearest Train station: Motspur Park Rail / Raynes Park
Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £20 pp
Service charge: 10%
Suitable for: barbecue with a small group of friends in a private room (call to reserve beforehand)
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