In pretty much every Bond film, there’s a scene in a restaurant. It’s full of raised eyebrows and innuendos, the overdressed and the underdressed, and, eventually, a stern conversation with someone who wants to hoover up the sea. Or something. Only a certain type of restaurant suits this Bond scene. Kym’s is almost one of them.
Kym’s is a Chinese restaurant in the City. Its aesthetic is cool and classy. Basically, they want you to picture James Bond here, at the bar, surveying the pink hued room. He’d probably be drinking a martini beneath the blossom tree, catching eyes with a maitre’d whose cheekbones are occasionally used to carve crispy pork belly. It’s that kind of place: fun and slick, but also a bit silly. And the food is exactly the same.
Some of the menu will read as familiar: spring roll, crispy duck, sweet and sour ribs, char sui pork. But a lot of things at Kym’s don’t come quite as you’d expect them. Take the frisbee-sized cracker (which is a rice one rather than prawn). This thing could be weaponised in the wrong hands. But in yours it will just get happily munched. Or you’ve got the crispy duck. It arrives, controversially, unshredded. It also arrives, delightfully, with a paintbrush for the plum sauce. A flourish which is so unnecessary, it suddenly seems necessary for anything involving sauce. Will we be applying ketchup with a mini roller to our burger buns from now on? We can neither confirm nor deny.
There’s so much to like here. Banquet seating made for groups, shrine-worthy sweet and sour ribs, a plate of roasted meats you’ll want to drunk DM, a sweeping staircase that looks over the room so you can pretend to be James Bond. But there’s also so much to laugh at as well. An utterly pointless lattice shield that protects a completely average spring roll, a fake cherry blossom tree towering above the bar, and a room full of suits that Bond wouldn’t be seen dead in.
Sexy charm and little things aside, there are probably about five things on the menu that are truly noteworthy at Kym’s. Which means that although a lot of the food here is good, some of the unnecessary flourishes make the restaurant feel like a novelty once or twice a year job, rather than a regular. That said, price-wise, it’s decent for the City - £30 a head decent - without drinks. But once you’ve done it in a group, the £10 takeaway option is the best reason to keep coming back. It may not be the most James Bond move, but it’s the most sensible.
We’d say this is a cracking little snack, but it’s bloody enormous. It comes with a tangy ketchup that tastes a bit like the vinegary stuff you get in provincial bowling alleys.
Surprisingly, this isn’t made from the remnants of a recently excavated student halls. The egg in this bowl of soft tofu is purposely preserved, and it tastes really quite good. You should order this.
A tasty load of sweet, spicy, and oily aubergine. You’ve probably had something similar to this before, so if it’s one of your usual orders elsewhere, you may as well take it here.
This roll comes in a get up even less necessary than a dog in a barbour jacket. Its crispy shell conceals an average roll. Silly. Very very silly.
There’s nothing unnecessary about these ribs. It’s a big old saucy pile, just how they’re meant to be. Maybe the best sweet and sour ribs we’ve had.
Another thing with with a weird, protective cracker shell. These have got that Iceland, two-for-a-fiver air about them. The sort of thing your aunt stockpiles for Boxing Day.
The star of Kym’s menu. A ménage à trois of crispy pork belly, soy chicken, and char sui pork. Undoubtedly the most satisfying threesome we’ve ever partaken in. Oh and it’s saucy. Honey mustard, ginger, and soy saucy, to be precise.
Who doesn’t like crispy duck? Like, seriously? If you eat meat, then you like crispy duck. And if you don’t like it, you’re weird. The plum sauce paintbrush is totally unnecessary, but it’s quite fun signing a pancake.
Unlike other Xi’anese lamb burgers, this lamb comes in stew-like form for you to pack the buns yourself. It’s pretty meh. The buns are stodgy, and the lamb isn’t as rich as you’d like.
Sort of like Chinese baked eggs. The dumplings sit beside a fried egg and chilli mixture in a cast iron pan. It’s tastes pretty good, but won’t blow you away.
A doughy pillow filled with pineapple and custard. It’s bound to end up down your shirt, as all good desserts should.