This November, Mr Ji founder Samuel Haim will bring his take on Taiwanese night market chicken to Soho as he opens the doors to his first permanent home, following a successful pop-up in Camden. Samuel, who founded sustainable seafood restaurant Hook in Greenwich and Camden, was inspired by his visits to the bustling capital city of Taipei. Mr Ji will dish up crispy fried chicken dusted with flavourful powders, alongside booze-spiked Taiwanese teas.
Using only 100% free range chicken throughout the whole menu, the focus is on Taiwan’s signature crispy fried chicken, best eaten piping hot. Their hero dish, the Big Ji is a huge butterflied chicken breast, brined and coated in gluten-free sweet potato flour then deep fried – a process which keeps the chicken juicy but extra crispy on the outside. The Ji’s are dusted with a range of flavourings which the team have developed from scratch, these include Traditional spice, Taipei ketchup, Ningxia BBQ and Salt & Black vinegar. These are accompanied by Mini Ji’s – bite-sized pieces of marinated thigh meat tossed in a range of house made sauces. Also available will be the Bao burger – spiced fried chicken thigh served in a steamed bun.
Side dishes include hot and sour soup made to a traditional Taiwanese recipe, Mr Ji’s chicken tips: split wings shaken up with a seven-spice powder. There’s also house fries; crunchy Taipei slaw with ginger and chilli; and pickled black cabbage and cashew with soy and citrus. To finish, those with a sweet tooth should save room for sweet potato doughnuts dusted with ginger sugar.
To drink, Mr Ji will pour homemade Taiwanese teas – guests can choose from floral Jasmine, Blood Orange & Hibiscus; refreshing Green Tea & Mint and soothing Oolong, Pineapple & Ginger. For those looking to make a night of it, each tea can be spiked with a range of spirits. Mr Ji will also exclusively serve Gold Medal Taiwan Beer, brewed from Taiwanese rice it’s widely enjoyed in night markets and restaurants across Taiwan.
Designed by Mystery, the interiors take their cues from the neon-lit buzz of Shilin Night Market in Taipei. Featuring clean lantern-style lighting, and walls decorated with Taiwanese street art and graphics the space is enlivened by light boxes emblazoned with bold Hokkien characters. Samuel says, “I first met the real ‘Mr Ji’ whilst hiking up Elephant Mountain in Taiwan – he was an enigmatic character who tipped us off on where to find the best fried chicken in Taipei. I’m looking forward to bringing my modern and sustainable take on Taiwanese fried chicken to Old Compton Street, using fantastic quality chicken and punchy powders.”