As Madonna is to music, so is Mr Ji is to restaurants; a master of reinvention. First popping up in 2017 at Hook in Camden, Mr Ji then moved to a permanent place in Soho in 2019, slinging elevated fast food style fried chicken. In late 2020 Meng and Ana from TATA Eatery revamped the chicken-centric menu, taking inspo from Taiwanese night markets. Now it’s evolved once more, moving beyond chicken to showcase more creative East Asian flavours. We loved the first TATA menu so naturally we had to go back and try out the new stuff.
The chicken hasn’t completely disappeared, so all you other Mr Ji fans will still recognise several of the dishes. There are fried chicken hearts in lettuce cups, the crispy batter dotted with sweet curry sauce that’s so moreish it’ll convert anyone who’s unsure about eating offal. There are pork & prawn stuffed chicken wings, and East-meets-West mash-up of dumplings and wings; and the O’Ji, the flattened fried breast dusted in chilli sprinkles and served with a pair of scissors for some light tableside butchery. The famous prawn ‘in’ toast – the parmesan-blanketed fried brioche filled with prawns and sweetcorn in a rich bechamel – is hasn’t gone anywhere either, and it’s just as tasty as ever.
The East-meets-West approach is evident in many of the dishes and a skillful hand from the kitchen shows that when you do fusion right, it can be really right. The Mr Ji take on tacos swaps tortillas for dumpling skins, which are topped with soft, slightly gelatinous braised pig’s head meat and a fresh cucumber salad, and their mapo tofu wontons riff on pasta, folded into the classic tortelllini shape and sat in a real umami, almost Marmite-y, chilli dressing sauce.
This version of Mr Ji is the most experimental one yet, with the menu filled with unusual and interesting flavour combos. If you’re looking to step outside your culinary comfort zone, this should defo be one of your first stops.
72 Old Compton St, Soho, London, W1D 4UN