Last night I met up with Amy at Kim’s Mini Meals on Bucchleuch Street in Newington. It’s an area with more than its fair share of Korean eateries but Kim’s is, I am assured, the original and best. My experience of Korean cuisine is limited to what I’ve cooked myself from Judy Joo’s Korean Cooking Made Simple and bibimbap from #15 on Home Street. That’s been enough to make me a fan: Kim’s made me a devotee.
Amy’s a great guide to Korean food since she’s been to Korea. She told me that she liked small Korean eateries, busy places with locals chatting away and knick-knacks in the windows, places that looked somewhere between a home and a restaurant. Places, indeed, very much like Kim’s Mini Meals.
There was a queue so we waited for a few minutes before we were shown to two seats in the window which we’ve seen our waitress lovingly clean from outside. A lace curtain and decorative bottles of oiled seeds gave us privacy. We poured over the menu, negotiated dishes since we decided to share and ordered. Service is prompt and friendly. They aim to do have a turn-around of an hour so this is not a place to sit and idle the evening away but it is a place for delicious and comforting food with a delicious chilli bite.
First up: an amuse bouche, or pre-dinner serving, of soup and banchan, small Korean dishes. We enjoyed bites lotus root, crisp broccoli in sesame oil, omelette and salted and pickled cucumber.
We’d ordered kimchi pancake (kimchi jeon) and rice cakes in tomato sauce (ddeokbokki) for starters. They were both generously sized and very tasty. The kimchi pancake was my favourite. Crispy, chewy, full of kimchy flavour: it made me understand statements like ‘it is everything’ and ‘I live for this’. Because, like, yeah. Words fail me. (After which hype anyone who has it will be disappointed, of course. Next time I go to Kim’s though, I might just have two kimchi pancakes and a side of extra kimchi and be filled with pure joy.) I’ve only had instant ddeokbokki before and would recommend that you never, ever have that. Instead get the real thing which is chewy, hut but subtle and oh, so satisfying!
For mains we had dolsom bibimbap and seafood bilgogi (marinated squid and prawn served with salad and rice). The bibimbap came in a sizzling hot pot which cooked the egg yolk as we stirred it in and then crisped up the rice on the outside of the dish. It was soothing, filling, crispy, soft, hot and cool. Variety in every mouthful. The bilgogi was perfectly cooked, hot but not too hot. I enjoyed them both tremendously but if I had to choose, the bibimbap inches ahead because of its layered textures.
I am so pleased that Amy suggested Kim’s and that we waited the ten or so minutes to get a table. I came out with a belly-full of rice, seafood and veg, wrapped in a blanket of contentment.
5 Buccleuch Street
Edinburgh, EH8 9JN
They don’t take bookings but they do take cards. Prepare to queue, or arrive 20 past the hour to ensure to get a table.