We headed to the West End to see how small Japanese dishes and singalongs make for an office party
After a successful few years with Jidori on Kingsland Highway in Dalston, the group decided to take over a five-storey townhouse on Catherine Street in Covent Garden. In it, the owners (Natalie Lee-Joe and Brett Redman) have thrown in two separate kitchens (one for dietary requirements), a main restaurant, two private dining areas, and, interestingly, a karaoke room in the basement.
These can either be hired combined as an exclusive package, or separately for smaller gatherings. We like the idea of hiring out the whole venue and having different themes or ‘stations’ in each room. And everyone knows a karaoke room is all you need to get the party going – so if you like some shiitake with your Cher, this is the place for you.
Giles Reid, the project’s interior designers, has maintained a distinctly residential, intimate, sort of neighbourhood-like feel to the place. In true Japanese style, the decor is clean, minimal and accented by only a few splashes of colourful art.
The food is minimal only in its appearance, as it’s full of delicious flavours and showcases attention-grabbing ingredients. Presented in the option of small plates or yakitori (Japanese skewers charcoaled on the grill) we were curious to find chicken offal (hearts and livers), as well as raw hens’ eggs on the menu.
Our favourite was the clever katsu curry scotch egg (oozy, runny yolk, crispy breadcrumbs and spicy sauce) and the yakitori shiitake mushroom (smoky with a punchy sauce). We didn’t mind the yakitori chicken breast either, which was beautifully moist and provided plenty of heat with its citrusy sauce.
The dessert menu could perhaps be bigger (there were only two options to choose from). That being said, we could eat the ginger ice cream (which was more like a sorbet) with its strong miso caramel sauce, black sesame seeds and crunchy sweet potato crisps all day.
For parties, the chef will put together a selection of dishes to give you a proper taste of the Jidori universe (and the size of the plates makes it optimal for sharing). Expect the likes of koji-fried chicken with nori salt and lemon, tsukune (mince chicken with raw egg yolk), and hatsu (hearts and bacon). A new vegan menu has also been introduced with a focus on vegetables and tofu.
So if you want to mix gastronomic pleasures (food) with guilty ones (karaoke), you should plan your next office party at Jidori. Packages start at £25pp (without karaoke), while guests looking to up the ante with a 2.5-hour singalong experience are priced at £40pp.
Capacity 10, 14, 25
| 020 7836 3145 | 15 Catherine Street, WC2B 5JZ