My husband and I share a list of places we want to visit and see together; this list includes cities, theatre shows, experiences, restaurants etc. One such place on that list was 'Jikoni'. So when my husband and I decided to go for brunch, Jikoni was the obvious choice.
With it’s East African, North Indian and British influences, it seemed the most fitting place to go with my husband whose upbringing is rooted in all three cultures; just like Ravinder Bhogal, the owner of the restaurant (who also shares the same surname as my husband's maternal family).
The paisley block-print cotton table cloths are a prominent feature of the décor and a nod to Bhogal’s Punjabi heritage. Similarly, the dishes are a wonderful blend of East and West: we sampled the Okra Fries with Curry Leaf Mayonnaise and Cucumber & Gin Lassi.
Chef Bhogal’s restaurant (which means ‘kitchen’ in Swahili) is a melding of Kenyan, Punjabi and British cuisine. Even the music, which was playing subtly in the background, alternated between Indian and African beats, to contemporary western music.
Ravinder’s restaurant aims to ‘celebrate the legacy of the maternal figures who shared their kitchen wisdom.'
The menu puts a twist on the dishes many South Asians most likely grew up with, food that our Parents and Grandparents busied themselves with in their humble kitchens. At Jikoni, you might be tempted to try the Lobster Kichdi or Kheer Crème Brûlée!
As their website states, ‘Jikoni is an extension of our home, and we would very much like you to feel at home with us’.
The restaurant is divided into two parts: the basement where there is an open kitchen, (complete with a wall full of spices in plastic containers) and a large family dining table in the main dining area, which has a cosy and intimate feel to it. A few potted plants dotted around, a small shrine with hindu gods, and a black and white photo of Bhogal and her Grandfather all add to the homely atmosphere of Jikoni. We found this pleasantly surprising for a restaurant located just off the uber chic Chiltern Street in London.
Jikoni is a shining example of how the merging of different cultures can create a unique and diverse food experience.