Japanese, Middle Eastern·
Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Jiji

Silver Award

The latest opening from restauranter Janina Wolkow was always going to struggle to steal itself away from featuring sushi on the menu. Wolkow made her name with her global Japanese chain Sumosan and is a self-confessed “sashimi addict”. But her latest venture, Jiji, billed itself as Japanese meets Middle Eastern. Well, this we had to taste.

Set back from busy Upper Street in the newly-opened Islington Square development, it felt like Sloane Square or Mayfair (it did prove valuable for celeb-spotting). Sitting on an outside table there was attention to detail: blankets on the chairs, artisan chopstick rests, and beautiful crockery covered in discrete Jiji branding. Wolkow says she wants to create a “home away from home” - only if your home is very expensively decorated.

The Jiji menu is broken down into amusingly-named ‘Life’s Too Short To Eat Bad Sushi’ and ‘The Main Act’. We started with the zesty Picanteria cocktail - not sure we’ve ever had coriander in a drink before - but a perfect palate cleanser for a trolley-load of sushi headed our way.

We started with a platter of nigiri and Jiji fish tartar rolls. Our favourite by a clear mile was the scallop with unagi sauce. Fresh and flavoursome. The sea bass with jalapeno was the least interesting. While the fish tartar with truffle, which came highly recommended by our waiter - all of the staff were meticulously knowledgeable, friendly and attentive - justified itself being the most expensive dish on the sushi menu.

Moving into what felt more obviously like the Middle Eastern part of the menu, we ordered the JiJi flatbread (delicious and could have eaten three more) and smoked aubergine sashimi on a bed of Israeli salad, feta, and with the smart addition of blueberries. A total hero dish. Next was the head of cauliflower and hazelnuts - very Ottolenghi. Then the heritage beets with whipped feta and ricotta. Vegetarians are not going to be disappointed with this brilliant line up.

Finally, the largest of the dishes: the slow-cooked lamb shawarma and 48-hour miso marinated salmon. Would order both again. After two hours of dining, we still weren’t totally convinced that the Japanese Middle Eastern concept was seamless - at points it felt like two separate meals - but the phenomenal quality of the ingredients were so good it felt hard to care.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Japanese, Middle Eastern
Eat at Home
Deliveroo, Home delivery
Cool, Cosy, Fine dining, Fun, Glamorous, Lively, Luxury, Quirky, Romantic, Themed, Unique
Food Occasions
All day dining, Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating, Terrace
Special Features
Chef’s table, Counter dining, Dog friendly, Gluten-free options, Vegan options, Vegetarian options, Wheelchair access
Birthdays, Celebrations, Child friendly, Dates, Group dining [8+], Romantic, Special occasions

About Jiji

Jiji comes from restauranteur Janina Wolkow who is famed for her existing multi-award-winning Japanese hospitality brand Sumosan. While Jiji incorporates its sibling’s Asian theme it adds a twist by combining Middle Eastern ingredients and methods with Japanese flavours in a new fusion concept.

At the helm of the kitchen is Moroccan born Executive Chef Bubker Belkhit, whose professional journey began when he worked as a kitchen porter in Moscow as a student. During his time at a Japanese restaurant, he began to learn the basic cookery techniques and after a couple of years discovered his passion for the kitchen, honing his skills subsequently to become one of London’s best chefs.

The menu at Jiji spotlights dishes that hero vegetables as well as more traditional centrepieces of meat and fish. Think roast cauliflower with jalapeno sauce or flamed aubergine with tahini. Pescatarians and fish enthusiasts are also well catered to via plates of things like torched scallop nigiri with crème fraice or prawn and crispy quinoa sushi rolls.

Interiors are cosy and welcoming, with walls decked out in eclectic artworks for a laidback, buzz vibe that matches the friendly service. There is also a small shop where guests can buy a selection of homemade sauces, condiments and books.

Speaking about her decision to blend two arguably very different cuisines Wolkow says, ‘I believe that Tel Aviv and Tokyo are two of the most innovative culinary capitals of the world. In Tel Aviv, the way that chefs combine unusual flavours is very creative and inspiring, they favour raw fish dishes, and clean, fresh flavours which led me to the conclusion that a combination of Japanese dishes alongside Israeli could really work.'

The restaurant can be found on Esther Anne Place, just a stone’s through from Islington’s popular Upper Street making it an accessible meeting point for friends and family coming from across the city.


Who owns Jiji's?

Restaurateur Janina Wolkow owns Jiji's. Wolkow also owns celebrated Japanese restaurant group Sumosan.

Helpful? 0

What is the menu like at Jiji's?

Jiji's combines a Japanese and Israeli menu to create fusion food centred around celebrating fish and vegetables.

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What is the dress code at Jiji's?

We'd suggest dressing smart casual for Jiji's, although there is no official dress code policy as far as we know.

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Is your meat Halal?

Unfortunately, our meat isn’t halal yet, but we have plenty of meat-free and seafood options

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6G Esther Anne Place, Islington, London, N1 1WL

0207 486 3929


Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue 12:00-17:30
Wed 12:00-17:30
Thu 12:00-17:30
Fri 12:00-17:30
Sat 12:00-17:30
Sun 12:00-17:30
Mon Closed
Tue 18:00-21:45
Wed 18:00-21:45
Thu 18:00-21:45
Fri 18:00-21:45
Sat 18:00-21:45
Sun 18:00-21:45
All day
Mon Closed
Tue 12:00-23:00
Wed 12:00-23:00
Thu 12:00-23:00
Fri 12:00-23:00
Sat 12:00-23:00
Sun 12:00-23:00


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1 Review 

Valerie M

16 June 2022   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 5
Value 4

Interesting, delicious food and great surroundings.

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