The founder of The Richmond in Hackney teams up with Natalie Lee-Joe to launch a new Yakitori restaurant in Dalston.
Lucy Self goes down Dalston way to visit Brett Redman’s new yakitori joint, Jidori, and finds the proof really is in the pudding…
When we heard that Brett Redman was following up his much-acclaimed restaurant The Richmond, with a second East London site serving Japanese yakitori we were surprised and delighted in equal measures. Surprised because the side step into Asian seemed a less than obvious move following the classic flavours food folk have raved endlessly about at The Richmond. And delighted because anything this guy does is generally pretty spectacular.
As soon as we step inside Jidori’s pared down doors – the interior is bright, white and sparse – it’s evident that making comparisons with Redman’s other projects are pointless. From the plain tables with low metal stalls to the lack of soft furnishings, Jidori is very much its own thing. Which makes sense when it comes to the style and menu, but doesn’t stop it being a shock if one, like us, is expecting the coddling warmth of The Richmond.
Interior aside (the room is stylish enough, and the fact I enjoy a cushioned seat and an abundance of draped things is very much down to personal taste) there is lots to praise. On our visit staff were attentive if slightly absent minded but, as it was the first week and a critic was in attendance, it’s easy to forgive. Redman’s relationships with top supplies continues, right down to the sustainably sourced charcoal from London Log Company and vegetables and herbs courtesy of Japanese agricultural growers, Nama Yasai.
After some cracking small plates to start – a pretty plate of piquant pickles, a gorgeous pile of marinated cucumber heavy with sesame and spot on scotch egg with a sweet katsu curry dip – we dived straight in to the yakitori. There are eight sticks to choose from, with four sides. The best of the latter was an Onsen egg, togarashi and tare which we were encouraged to pour gleefully into our sushi rice. Highlights from the yakitori were the impressively chargrilled wings sticky with blackened lemon slices and a salty marriage of bacon and chicken hearts.
Most unforgettable though, and already giving Shackfuyu a run for its money in the zeitgeisty dessert stakes, is the ginger ice cream served with miso caramel, sweet potato crisps and black caramel praline. This gleefully sweet bowl of textural genius is reason enough to visit Jidori alone.
A final reason to love Jidori is the well curated drinks list. There’s the expected selection of sake and Japanese whiskey but more interesting are the cocktails (the brilliant Taspo is their take on an Old-Fashioned) and a delicate and delicious three-year aged Satsuma Shuzo Shochu.
Located on Kingsland Road, this is a welcome addition to Dalston’s diverse food scene and another well-executed string to Redman’s bow. If you go without expectation, order the pudding and make it your business to work through the cocktails, you’re unlikely to leave Jidori disappointed.
Jidori – 89 Kingsland High Street, London, E8 2BP