Kimchi Restaurant and Sake Bar is one of the most successful of the 'new-Irish' Dublin restaurants, serving authentic Korean and Japanese food to a loyal ethnic clientele – who love it for home favourites such as Bibim Bap and Korean-style sushi – as well as to a growing fan-base of Irish customers.
Close to northside theatres, cinemas and live music venues, Kimchi makes for a very affordable and tasty pre-show dining option, but its unique relationship with the Hop House bar (formerly The Shakespeare pub) in which the restaurant is contained also makes it prime birthday party territory.
Think flashing pitchers of beer and a boisterous beer garden to retire to and you get the idea. Thankfully, large parties are contained in the back room of the restaurant, leaving the prettily lit front room for smaller groups and solo diners to gather and savour the eclectic menu.
The sushi selection is broad, and even basic sushi such as salmon nigiri (€4 for two pieces) is served topped with flying fish roe and daikon, and comes with miso soup.
There are several Japanese rice-based dishes and bento boxes, but it is the traditional Korean dishes that steal the show, many of which arrive complete with several side dishes.
Favourites include Bibim Bap (stir-fried veg and minced beef on rice with fried egg, hot chilli sauce and kimchi, the national dish of fermented cabbage) and Soonduboo Zigae (silken tofu, egg and seafood in a spicy broth, with chilli oil, kimchi, rice, and three side dishes of vegetables).
Portions are large, so order conservatively, if adventurously. And don't forget to explore the sake selection.