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Test Driving the new Mr Ji - where the people behind TOU and TA TA Eatery have taken over the menu

roomOne of the new signature dishes is the PSC (£10) - that's a quarter poached soy chicken, served room temperature, with ginger and spring onion dipping sauce. 

What can you tell us about Mr Ji?

This is actually the second iteration of the Soho restaurant. It originally opened with more of a Taiwanese fast-food vibe, with a specific focus on fried chicken. However, they've now had a big revamp, with small plates being the new focus.

The change was inspired by founder Samuel Haim's trips to Taipei and, most importantly, they've also brought in Zijun Meng and Ana Gonçalves, best known as being TA TA Eatery and TOU, to take charge of the new menu. So things are in very good hands here. 

Where is it?

On the edge of Soho on Old Compton St, right in the heart of Soho. As with most Soho restaurants at the moment, they have a large covered terraced area in front of the restaurant, so if you prefer alfresco, this is a good spot for that.

So what kind of food can I expect?

As mentioned, it's primarily a small plates affair. It's very much Ana and Meng's revamped menu for Mr Ji, so you're not going to see any katsu sandwiches here. Instead, the majority of dishes on the menu are completely new additions, although there is still a focus around chicken (and a new take on a Mr Ji staple, their fried chicken)

Here's a taste of what's on the menu right now:

roomThe Prawn in Toast (£7) - prawn toast is becoming very much a thing on London menus at the moment. Tear open this Parmesan-topped brioche toast and you'll reveal...

room...a centre filled with bechamel, sweetcorn and prawns.

roomSichuan Burger (£10) - pineapple bun, fried chicken thigh, Sichuan chilli and cucumber salad

roomChilli Chicken (£10)- double-cooked chicken thigh bites, crispy chillies. Best eaten with a spoon so that you scoop up chicken and crunchy chillis together. 

How is it for vegetarians/vegans?

While about half of the menu is devoted to chicken, there are still plenty of vegetarian dishes to get stuck into (but just one vegan dish):

roomCrispy Roll (£3.95) - veggie and tofu spring roll, sriracha. So huge that is dwarfs the plate and the table. You'll see these coming out of the kitchen and will have to order one for yourselves. 

roomNoodle salad (£6) - konjac noodles, yuba, cucumber, sesame sauce, chilli. Hands down our favourite dish of the night (amid strong contenders). The best pot noodle ever created.

roomDaikon cake (£4.75, vegan) - double cooked daikon & shiitake cake with garlic soy paste, giving it an umami punch.

roomCrinkles (£5.50)- crinkle fries, chilli oil, Sichuan spice, coriander. Immediately on London's best chips list.

How about drinks?

The restaurant bills itself as "chicken, cocktails and small eats" so yes - you will want to avail yourself of a cocktail or three. They're priced at £7.50 to £9 and are short but have the same inventive approach as the menu. The Salted Plum Negroni is recommended (Madre mezcal, tequila, campari, plum wine, saline), but we'd say the following is a must: 

roomRice martini (£7.50) - Cuban rum, manzanilla, glutinous rice syrup, maraschino, citrus essence. We had to order two of these...

Overall thoughts

The menu overhaul here has been a huge success, propelling Mr Ji into a must-visit Soho destination. Every dish is a winner - particularly when they're paired with those excellent cocktails. Drop in for a bite and a drink, or slowly work your way through the menu. Either way, you'll be glad you came.

Hot Dinners ate as guests of Mr Ji. Prices are correct at the time of writing. 

 

More about Mr Ji

Where is it? 72 Old Compton St, London W1D 4UN

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @mrjirestaurant.

 

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