Test Drives

barIt's the bar with a huge tree "planted" in it. It really does look spectacular, particularly in the evening. As you can see, all this is the bar space, so it's handy for popping in for a drink. 

What can you tell us about Kym's?

The restaurant is from Andrew Wong, who arguably has one of the best restaurants in London with his Michelin-starred A Wong. That restaurant has been wowing people since Andrew Wong took it over late 2012, with its dim sum lunch coming in for particular praise. Kym's is his follow-up restaurant, this time opening up in the heart of the City. And it's less Michelin, more refined casual dining this time around.

Where is it?

It's the latest restaurant to open at Bloomberg Arcade, alongside other big names as Brigadiers and Koya. If you're looking for it, it's right opposite one of our fave burger spots, Bleecker. Or just keep an eye out for the massive tree in the lobby or the strangely hypnotic rotating sign at the window. 

Kym's cocktailsStarting with cocktails - the Sichuan Sour (sochu, Sichuan pepper, lemon, egg white and lime leaf, £8) and Yuzu Negroni (Yuzu infused sake, rose vermouth, Campari, £9)

Where's good for a drink beforehand (or after)?

Nearby, the most obvious places are Brigadiers at the bar (where we popped in for a quick post-dinner drink), Vinoteca or Caravan - all handily placed within Bloomberg Arcade itself. It gets very busy at lunchtime, but you should be able to find a spot in the evening. 

But you might want to leave time to grab a drink at the bar at Kym's - either at the bar itself of a few chairs dotted around. That space was much larger than we expected and itself becomes a handy place to pop in for a cocktail. It's a short drinks list, but the two we had (pictured above) were well worth turning up early for. 

insideThe main restaurant, as seen from above. 

Where should we sit?

It's a split-level affair, but if you're coming for dinner, we'd say aim to eat on the ground floor if you can. There you have a choice of traditional seating in the restaurant or you could grab one of the seven stools up by the kitchen (where we think is the place to be). Be warned that three of the seats up there have glass separating you from the kitchen (where all the grilled meats are) but that may even sway you in favour of them.

We also liked the stools upstairs on the mezzanine, overlooking the bar and restaurant. We think these would be ideal for the solo diner just popping in for lunch. 

What about the food?

If you're a fan of the original A Wong then you'll probably find that Kym's has a rather different vibe - something that's much more suited to Bloomberg, and also for just popping in for a bite. Those City folk can't hang around, you know. 

The menu is split into small plates, skewers, sharing plates, classics, fritters and sides. It is, frankly, rather hard to choose from as you'll want the lot, we think. But that just means there's more opportunity to come back and try more things.

As for us, on the night, we had...

ricecrackerRice Cracker / Seaweed / 1908 Ketchup (£3) - the picture really doesn't do justice to the cracker, which is HUGE and pretty much takes up the table. Perfect menu-perusing food (and the ketchup/seaweed/cracker are a very good mix). 

meatsThree Treasure – Crispy Pork Belly / Soy Chicken / Iberico Pork Char Sui (£12) - the meats are a big draw of Kym's. You can order them individually - there's also a crispy duck pancake dish - or opt for this which gets you a selection of three. Pork Char Sui wins it for us, but we loved the chicken too. 

dumplingsPork & Shrimp ‘Bao Bao’ / Fried Egg / Pat Chun / Crispy Chilli (£12) - we weren't quite sure what to expect from this. It turns out to be almost like a Chinese brunch dish, kind of a dumpling shakshuka. Works very well, but be prepared for your chopstick skills to be put to the test. 

ribsSweet & Sour Pork Ribs / Sesame / Star Anise (£6) - gorgeous, gorgeous ribs, with the meat just falling off the bone.  

What about vegetarians?

While there's a big focus on meats in the specials and classics section, there are many more options in the small plates, including a couple of our favourite dishes of the night:

mushroomWild Mushroom Steamed Bun (£8) - probably one of the dishes you're going to see all over Instagram. Essentially steamed buns with mushrooms inside - that actually look like mushrooms from the outside. Outstanding. 

radishPickled Daikon / Crispy Chilli Oil / Soy (3.50) - actually a side, but the dish we started the meal with. 

sticksKing Oyster Mushroom / Black Pepper / Garlic / Soy (£7) - there are three skewers on the menu (the others being pork and tiger prawns) but these show that the vegetarian options are right up there. 

aubregineSichuanese Spiced Aubergine (£6) - this immediately brings back memories of one of our favourite dishes, the Chick N Sours Szechuan aubergine. With a difference in texture, this is right up there with that. 

tofuSilken Tofu / 100 Year Old Egg / Garlic Soy (£7) - we were told that this would challenge us, but it ended up being one of our favourite dishes of the night, the dark egg and crispy garlic adding a decent kick to the tofu.

And dessert?

There are just three on at the time of writing, and it's quite tempting to say you should get them all. We didn't have the chocolate cloud, but it DID look impressive. But we can strongly recommend these: 

tartSunny’s Egg Tart / Cobnut Ice Cream / Red Bean / Tapioca (£6) - it's almost impossible for us not to order a custard tart if we see one on the menu. This is essentially a pimped-up version, but the central tart remains the best element. 

pineappleHong Kong Pineapple Bun / Custard (£6) -  a sweet bun, stuffed with ice-cream and roasted cubes of pineapple. Also the perfect size if you've gone overboard with the rest of the menu ordering.

What about drinks?

We've mentioned cocktails already, but the drinks list as a whole is on the compact side, with seven each of reds/whites available. Bottles start at £28 and rise steadily to £90 (at the time of writing, that's a "Ridge, East Bench Zinfandel, USA, 2015"). We opted for the Cretan Assyrtiko as it's pretty much our favourite wine of the moment, is appearing on many a London menu and is a good match for most dishes. Many of the wines are available by the carafe, and there's a strong selection of UK beers available too. 

Overall?

It was very early on when we visited - they'd just had one friends and family service before we went in with our reader event - but it was clear that Kym's was already bedding in very well indeed. The menu is packed with delights, and there are some great surprises within - not least the amazing mushroom buns. We're planning a return visit and think you should be heading down to Bloomberg Arcade as soon as you can too. 

Hot Dinners dined as guests of Kym's during our reader event. Prices are correct at the time of writing. 

 

Book Kym's

More about Kym's 

Where is it? 19 Bloomberg Arcade, London EC4N 8AR

More info: Visit their website and follow them on Instagram 

 


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