Judy Joo, the renowned Korean-American chef and former pastry chef at the three-Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, will open her second London restaurant: Seoul Bird, specialising in Korean fried chicken at Westfield London in White City — a shopping centre apparently on a mission to turn itself into a destination as much for food as it is for retail.
Joo left Jinjuu, the restaurant she opened on Kingly Street in Soho in 2015, last month. On her new project, first mooted by Propel last week, Joo has teamed up with “long-time friend and collaborator” chef Andrew Hales to “create the menu inspired by Judy’s Korean-American heritage” — their take on “Korean Seoul Food.”
Joo said: “The Korean way of cooking is so generous and hospitable — Seoul Bird is my interpretation of true Korean comfort food, from shatteringly crunchy fried chicken to warming, spicy gochujang sauces. I can’t wait to bring my favourite flavours and a big taste of Korea to Westfield!”
Her apparently closely guarded secret recipe brines chicken pieces for 24 hours before being double fried for extra crunch, and served with an Asian slaw of red cabbage, daikon, onion and carrot, tossed in a citrus soy dressing.
The chef will join a new raft of operators at the location, which on a mission to reinvent itself a dining destination of note: Following news that Stevie Parle will open a second Pastaio there in November, it emerged last week that Wagamama founder, Alan Yau, will open a branch of his Turkish restaurant brand Yamabahçe; Propel reported that the Michelin-starred restaurant group, Lima — run by Gabriel and Jose-Luis Gonzalez, will open a new Venezuelan brand, specialising in arepas, called Sabroso in October. Copper Chimney, an Indian restaurant group founded in Mumbai, is also planning its London debut at the shopping centre, and is expected to open soon.
On the menu there’ll be Joo’s “Signature Seoul Burger”: a toasted bun with crispy Korean fried chicken, soy and gochujang glaze, and kewpie mayo, red onion, and iceberg lettuce.
Elsewhere, Seoul Bird will also serve bibimbap bowls, steamed rice (or cauliflower “rice”) topped with fresh vegetables, pickled daikon, edamame beans, crispy onions, and a soft poached egg. Those bowls can be built up with the likes of soy and ginger Bulgogi rib eye, grilled chicken thigh, or crispy tofu. Side will include truffled seaweed tater tots, kimchi mac and cheese, and Korean fried cauliflower in a gochujang and soy glaze.