Seoul Kimchi

Kate Feld

Kate is wowed by the Korean home cooking at Manchester restaurant Seoul Kimchi

As great culinary thoroughfares go, Upper Brook Street is no Champs Élyssées. It’s a workaday road down the back of the hospital that connects Rusholme and the University quarter with the city centre. But you can eat surprisingly well there. There’s Tai Pan, the cavernous restaurant connected to the Chinese supermarket of the same name, where dim sum-loving Mancs get their fix. There’s the Good Food Guide-listed Gabriel’s Kitchen, the cafe opened by Peter Booth of the Whitworth’s much-loved Gallery Cafe. And now there’s Seoul Kimchi, a welcoming little place serving up Korean home cooking.

It’s in a storefront that looks a bit like a grocery because … well, it’s a grocery. In 2005, Byunghee Kwon, who had come to Manchester as a student several years before, opened a shop catering to the city’s Korean expat community. The groceries did well, but her sideline in takeaway lunches really took off.

“We sold 30,000 lunchboxes,” the small, energetic woman recalled with a slight air of disbelief. “My customers asked again and again for a place to sit. So I promised them three tables.” Last September, Kwon finally consigned the groceries to some cunningly organised high shelves and moved in those three tables, plus a short bar.

The restaurant – which feels more like a diner – fills up quickly, and though the decor is pretty basic it’s bright and cheerful. All of the food is made in the tiny open-air kitchen by Korean cooks using fresh ingredients, including the kimchee – a potent mixture of pickled cabbage and spring onions and spices that is to Koreans what HP Sauce is to Britons.

If you’re completely new to Korean food, a good place to start is Beef Bulgogi, a barbecued beef dish that’s a national favourite. SK’s version is very tasty indeed – grilled meat, mushrooms and onions in a marinade rich with soy and ginger. It comes with rice, miso soup and kimchee; a big meal for the princely sum of £6.50.

And there’s plenty here for vegetarians, like the japchae (£4.50) – a savoury tangle of rice noodles and delicately stir-fried veg. The gyoza (£3.20-£3.80), homemade pan-fried dumplings with different fillings, are downright addictive. Other choices include Bibimbap (a big rice bowl stuffed with meat, seafood or vegetables); noodle dishes and stews; sushi and a variety of appealing bento boxes.

The future looks pretty bright for Seoul Kimchi. Its proximity to the hospital and university ensure a good customer base, and the fact that it is delicious and wallet-friendly has to appeal to the hordes of students living in the neighbourhood. Every time I’ve visited the place has been busy, with all seats taken and a steady stream of people coming in to pick up takeaways. It may not be long before Kwon has to come up with more than three tables.

275 Upper Brook StManchesterM13 0HR View map
Telephone: 0161 273 5556 Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • Monday11:30am - 9:30pm
  • Tuesday11:30am - 9:30pm
  • Wednesday11:30am - 9:30pm
  • Thursday11:30am - 9:30pm
  • Friday11:30am - 9:30pm
  • Saturday11:30am - 9:30pm
  • Sunday12:00pm - 8:00pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

What's on near Seoul Kimchi

Outdoor Art Club at The Whitworth

Enjoy fun and creative activities designed to encourage your little ones to play freely in the fresh air, while exploring nature and the outdoors with family and friends.

free entry
Luke Kennard
Luke Kennard at Manchester Poetry Library

We’re looking forward to hearing from Birmingham-based poet, critic and fiction writer Luke Kennard, the third guest to appear in Manchester Poetry Library’s events programme.

free entry

Where to go near Seoul Kimchi

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has been lovingly restored; you can now sit at her desk, see where Charlotte Brontë hid behind the curtains, and have tea in the downstairs café. The Pankhurst Centre is also nearby.

Gaskell Society

These regular talks in both Manchester and Knutsford unpack the meaning and significance of Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing.

Chuck Gallery

Chuck Gallery is the first private art space in North West England dedicated to the promotion of contemporary African art in Manchester and beyond. Our focus is the provision of a varied collection of high quality, original and exceptional artwork

Much Ado About Nothing at Victoria Baths
Event venue
Victoria Baths

Victoria Baths no longer functions as a ‘water palace’ and Turkish Baths, but the Grade II-listed building hosts regular events and is a stunning visit, with stained glass, terracotta tiles and mosaic floors.

The Giving Tree
The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree is a cafe and community hub based in Rusholme, a short walk from the city centre.

Pankhurst Centre
The Pankhurst Centre

The Pankhurst Centre houses a small museum and heritage centre that remains as a legacy to the Pankhurst family and the Suffragette movement born in this city.

The Whitworth
The Whitworth

This much-loved gallery-in-a-park is open for business, showcasing some of the city’s finest contemporary and historic exhibitions.


Modern cafe and restaurant on Manchester’s Curry Mile. encouraging

Bar or Pub
Big Hands

Big Hands is the one-time haunt of legendary Manchester band Elbow; it’s shabby, loud and dark, with a jukebox and excellent roof terrace.

Culture Guides