By Tiziana Murgo
The magic word is yakitori: skewers grilled over hot charcoal and served to the table straight from the open grill. Jidori is a little Japanese restaurant does not fear the competition of the Dalston Kingsland Road, the most famous area in London for eating grilled meat in the many Turkish establishments. The concept and flavours here are completely different.
Chicken, which dominants the menu here, is Goosnargh chicken free range from Yorkshire. There are also plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. The menu is primarily made up of rice bowls, small plates and skewers.
Jidori is sleek, minimal and refined. The décor of pastel colours is elegant and calming. This may not sound like a typical place to take kids to eat but early evenings here are ideal for introducing children to new foods, as kids eat for just £5 between 6-7pm. My kids loved the pork fillet tonkatsu which is a deep-fried crumbed chicken which tastes nothing like the one on the high street as the texture of the chicken here is so velvety and rich.
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At lunchtime the menu features a variety of rice bowls such as the Salmon Sashimi-don (Loch Duart sushi-gride salmon, egg yolk, daikon, picked ginger and wasabi dressing) and the Brocoli tempura don (Tempura broccoli, onsen egg, nori, spinach, rice) with a lunch deal of £10 for any rice bowl and a soft drink. In the evening the yakitori is the star, choose from a variety of tasty stuff on sticks such as the Tebasaki (chicken wing, shiso and grilled lemon, £4) or the Nasu (aubergine and miso butter, £4).
I enjoyed the tsukune, a small chicken kebab which comes with an egg yolk that you stir at the table with some soy sauce; you make your own dipping sauce. We loved the Japanese-British katsu curry scotch eggs, crispy and delicate at the same time. There is also a decent selection of craft beers, local and Japanese, cocktails and sake.
Finally, if you don’t feel happy without a dessert after your meal, you definitely have to go for the ginger ice cream with miso caramel. Some people say Jidori is worth a visit even for this dessert only.
As for the price, this boutique restaurant is not cheap given the little portions, but there is such quality and care put into the food here. Great for early dinner with kids or wonderful for a date.
Online booking and menus can be found on Jidori’s website.