It might have a swish Marylebone postcode, but eating at this restaurant is more like hanging out at it’s creator’s home. Zoë Perrett settles in
If you want to see the gorgeous Ravinder Bhogal in her element, descend the staircase at the rear of her Marylebone restaurant – noting the Altro floor coating which references the chef’s childhood school, and the cascading orange paper pom poms inspired by India’s abundant marigolds – and take up residence at the chef’s table in front of the open kitchen.
From this vantage point, you’ll see the nimble cook slicing, searing, seasoning, and turning out all the heritage-inspired, highly-original dishes she always wanted to serve in her very own venue.
Ravinder’s culinary career began as a prolific pop-up artist under the moniker Cook In Boots. Her fabulous food and effortless style – a legacy of working in beauty journalism – swiftly established her as one to watch and, years on, have kept her in the spotlight.
Jikoni is a joy – and it’s all I wanted it to be. More importantly, it’s all she wanted it to be; the very embodiment of ‘passion project’. It’s like her home, and you feel at home dining amongst the beautiful textiles, covetable furnishings, and that air of good cheer that comes with dining in a great restaurant.
We sit at the bar-cum-communal table upstairs, which feels like gathering around a kitchen island at a house party – and everybody knows that all good house parties end up in the kitchen.
Like Ravinder’s upbringing, the menu is a merry mashup of influences: East African Indian meets British meets whatever takes her fancy. We love prawn Scotch eggs with banana ketchup; we love lobster khichdee, South India’s answer to risotto; we love the mutton shepherd’s pie that brings a tear to my eye thinking about my late, great Nanny Win.
We love everything we eat, although we hate that we can’t eat it all. And we love the waiter who tells us how happy it makes him to serve a couple who love looking at each other more than their phones. And, by the final bite of peanut-strewn banana cake with miso butterscotch and Ovaltine kulfi, we’re ready to move in.
Make it happen
Where: Jikoni, 19-21 Blandford Street, London W1U 3DH
Find out more: To visit the website, click here