Jikoni – Fusion comfort food

Jikoni

When I’d first heard about Ravinder Bhogal’s first foray into the restaurant world I was eager to experience Jikoni. A British chef, food writer and TV personality, she rose to fame when Gordon Ramsay famously named her his new Fanny Craddock on the ‘F Word’.

Jikoni

Hints of her Kenyan heritage can be seen throughout the mismatched yet homely interiors. It reminded me of my grandmas house with scattered cushions, beautiful hand printed tablecloths and a token huge cheese plant (a feature in every British Indian household circa 1980’s).

The name Jikoni actually means ‘kitchen’ in Swahili which mirrors the cosy and inviting space that greets you on entry.

The menu is Asian comfort food served with British, African and Middle Eastern twists. Some of the names on the menu put a smile of my face as they harked back to my childhood. My mum was born and raised in East Africa and our Gujarati is littered with Swahili words.

Jikoni

We began our evening in style with a Dawa made from vodka, jaggery and lime. And a pretty looking Gulabo’s Martini with vodka, rose syrup, maraschino egg white. Perfectly sweet with a smooth finish, my tastebuds were abuzz.

Jikoni

Our culinary adventure began with cauliflower popcorn. Essentially tempura sprinkled with spring onion, chilli and garlic. The chinese style soy sauce dipping sauce gave the florets the extra zing they required.

Jikoni

The sweet potato bhel, with raw mango and pomegranate certainly raised the bar on the traditional street food bhel. It was tangy, sweet, crispy, sour and moreish. The huge chunks of sweet potato hidden underneath the colourful dish were a huge hit.

Jikoni

My veggie main of pan-fried halloumi on a bed of freekeh pilaf, pickled lemon and dukkah was so comforting. The nutty and slightly chewy lentils worked wonders with the Egyptian blend of herbs and spices.

Jikoni

Sobia, my partner in crime this evening adored her mutton keema sloppy joe with pickled onion, mint and mango chutney. A spiced shepherds pie in a toasted brioche bun, it came with a portion of delicious looking fried padrons. Being more than a little partial to the green peppers, I couldn’t help but have a try. Believe me these need to be a side dish in their own right, totally yummy.

The one side we couldn’t resist and picked off the menu before even our mains were the caramel chips. I’ll be honest I was intrigued because it sounds so wrong. Sweet chips? Really?

Jikoni

Yes really! The sweet, sticky caramel sauce drizzled over the chips had a warming hint of cinnamon and were a real treat.

Jikoni

By the time dessert came around there was only really one contender – banana cake with miso butterscotch, peanut brittle and a side of Ovaltine kulfi. We decided to share the decadent dessert. The gooey, spongey cake was similar to a sticky toffee pudding. The Ovaltine kulfi instantly transported me back to my childhood. What a joy!

Jikoni

And there was no way we were leaving without a steaming cup of hot Kenyan chai, which perfectly ended our evening.

From the friendly staff to the homely decor and enticing comfort food, Jikoni is a fantastic addition to the affluent streets of Marylebone. I for one can’t wait to go back and try the new brunch menu. I suggest you add it to your foodie list too.

Do you have a dish that takes you back to your childhood? Let me know in the comments box below.

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Jikoni | 19-21 Blandford Street| London | W1U 3DH

www.jikonilondon.com

 

 

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Jikoni, London

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16 Comments

  1. Monisha
    4th December 2016 / 9:16 pm

    Wow sounds awesome , that kulfi sounds amazing!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      4th December 2016 / 10:19 pm

      It was so yummy, comforting and nostalgic all in one mouthful!

  2. 4th December 2016 / 10:17 pm

    This looks great, that is definitely somewhere i would like to eat x

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      4th December 2016 / 10:19 pm

      One for you foodie list for sure!

  3. 5th December 2016 / 11:32 am

    Wow this place looks amazing. I love the decor, and those caramel sauce covered chips are so unusual.

    Rachel xx

  4. 5th December 2016 / 12:49 pm

    I need to visit this restaurant ASAP. This is a place where I will totally go every night. All the food look so good and yummy

  5. 5th December 2016 / 4:50 pm

    Ahh, this all looks so delicious! Great photos, too.

  6. 5th December 2016 / 6:50 pm

    This food looks absolutely decorous, cauliflower popcorn and that drink is just wow.

  7. 5th December 2016 / 11:45 pm

    A dish that take me back to my childhood? Probably a curry because it has always been my favourite. Are you a veggie too? Your choices have got me looking at their site!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      6th December 2016 / 12:19 am

      I am Ana! The veggie choicesvare delicious. All my restaurant reviews have a veggie angle to them. I think it’s important for fellow veggies to know there are a lot of foodie options out there. Some they would never even think of going to!

  8. 6th December 2016 / 12:10 am

    beautiful pictures, definitely on my to-eat list.

    Anni @ thatgirlsgotanappetite.com

  9. 6th December 2016 / 8:52 pm

    The cauliflower popcorn sounds divine. The one thing that takes me back to my childhood is a mug of milk with cookies. These days I enjoy rice milk with vegan cookies, and it just makes me feel warm inside.

    I love the interior of the restaurant – feels quite homely!

  10. 7th December 2016 / 5:01 pm

    The food looks amazing – especially that cauliflower popcorn – yum!

  11. 9th December 2016 / 6:35 pm

    Walked past here yesterday, en route to Picture Marylebone. So difficult not to dive in! One to . Thanks for the great review!..

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      9th December 2016 / 9:01 pm

      Next time dive in Aaron. It’s such a great place. Love to know what you think of it. x

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