After a hectic few years post “The F Word”, Ravinder Bhogal has teamed up with restauranteur Ratesh Bagdai to open Jikoni, a trendy and intimate place that pulls inspiration from East African, South Asian and British cuisine. Here, small plates have been perfected to cater to every palate, whether you fancy jaggery and chilli popcorn or Pondicherry prawns. My booking was well timed as they had just introduced their new brunch menu.
Let’s address the essentials: I am a sucker for plush textiles and bolster cushions. Jikoni’s interior mastermind managed to provide ample amounts of soft furnishings with gorgeous patterned tablecloths with clashing napkins.
The brunch menu is fairly priced considering it’s affluent W1 location. The most expensive dish is the spicy fishcake, poached egg and curry hollandaise (£12.50) which was a treat for they eyes as much as it was the appetite! The Kenyan chai was loaded with cardamom. Not being familiar with Kenyan cuisine, I’m not sure how ‘authentic’ the recreations at Jikoni are but I will say that it was flavourful nonetheless. The kikapu chicken somehow remained succulent beneath it’s spicy, crispy coating. It’s a wonder to behold.
The piña colada pancakes were made sans rum upon request and my heart sang at the caramelized pineapple topped with coconut icecream. What I really wanted were the orange, cardamom and rose doughnuts but the kitchen had just run out. Besides, when second best is this good, who’s complaining?
What would make me want to visit again, aside from the captivating red awning amongst streets of grey, would be the fabulous service! As an Eastender born and bred, tredding into posh nosh West London diners makes me feel slightly queasy but Jikoni boast the most welcoming hosts and laidback atmosphere. It’s easy to see how Ravinder tried to capture a little piece of what she knows as ‘home’ in this little gem.
Address: 19-21 Blandford Street, London, W1U 3DH
Phone number: 0207 034 1988
Best time to visit: Sunday brunch, around 3 p.m.