Location: London, UK
Address (temporary): 63 Parkway, London NW1 7PP
Closest tube station: Camden Town
Opening period: until December 10th
Opening times: Monday to Thursday – 12pm-3pm + 5.30pm-10pm, Friday & Saturday – 12pm-10.30pm, Sunday – 12pm-9pm
Gluten free status: safe for coeliacs | nearly everything is gluten free
Bonus: the chicken is free range
Today I’d like to introduce you to a new restaurant I just discovered, thanks to the amazing My Gluten Free Guide on Instagram! Mr Ji is a Taiwanese street food style pop-up that has temporarily opened its doors right in the heart of Camden, on Parkway road. And let me tell you guys, if you’re around Camden at any point during the next two weeks and need to grab a bite to eat, give this place a go!
Is Mr Ji safe for coeliacs?
Yes! Besides being yummy, Mr Ji’s menu is almost entirely gluten free and totally by accident too. The owner was telling me about the food and how they created their recipes to be on par with their experience in Taiwan. Meaning it’s no ‘inferior’ gluten free version, simply how the food is supposed to be made. Just a struck of luck for us coeliacs!
And the good news is that following a great and unexpected response from the gluten free crowd, Mr Ji are looking into making the menu 100% gluten free. Considering the only two culprits are the soup and a salad (the cabbage & cashews) that merely contain soy sauce, the situation is very easy to remedy with a gluten free version or tamari sauce. 🙂
Edit / warning (04.12.17): being naturally gluten free and not specifically targeting Coeliacs, make sure you ask about every single item you order to avoid mistakes and ensure everything on your plate is definitely gluten free. And make them aware that you’re a Coeliac/gluten intolerant. The soup and the cabbage & cashew dish are NOT gluten free.
The food is tasty and unique, especially compared to the usual gluten free offerings. Seriously when can we ever have fried chicken? Or chips? Or doughnuts!? But not only that, now add a spicy Taiwanese twist and you get a whole new dimension. As fast food goes, Mr Ji is like nothing else I’ve had. Their take on chicken and chips is refreshingly different from what’s out there in London.
The menu is relatively small, but interesting and to the point. It mainly revolves around crispy fried butterfly chicken (but wings are also available) which comes with a choice of 4 seasonings. We decided to sample the cayenne and curry options and it’s hard to pick a favourite as they were both great. They really don’t hold back on the flavour, which I love, and the texture of the chicken is perfect. Also the full butterfly chicken is huge! Along with fries, coleslaw, doughnuts and a large ice tea, let’s just say the half chicken would have been more than enough. Just something to bear in mind if you’re sampling lots of sides too.
The same goes for the fries. There is so much flavour; it’s a seasoning addict’s dream. 🙂 We shared the sweet potato chips, which come with a plum seasoning, and the standard fries, which come with the same choice of seasonings as the chicken: cayenne, curry, BBQ or powdered ketchup. Really yummy. Btw nothing comes with condiments, just seasonings, and that’s perfectly fine with me, but just a heads up for those who don’t like anything dry. 😉
We were completely full by then, but if there’s gluten free doughnuts on the menu, having dessert is compulsory! I mean what Coeliac could possibly turn doughnuts down?! So we got a portion to share and frankly I wish we had one each! They were yummy and so soft. They’re made from sweet potatoes and have a spicy ginger flavour which is quite different from the usual doughnuts. A must if you go to Mr. Ji. 🙂
Last but not least, the food is served along with a choice of delicious ice teas which adds an interesting touch in my opinion. It’s tasty, refreshing and goes perfectly with the food. As a bonus, you can even have it spiked with gin, whiskey or vodka. 🙂
I’ve never been to Taiwan so I can’t comment on the authenticity, but overall we really enjoyed everything. As fast food goes, it’s pretty good and a bit different from the usual.
Sadly the Camden location only has another two weeks to go so get yourselves down there fast if you want to try it! But they’re looking into opening a permanent restaurant, possibly in Shoreditch, so they could be back as soon as February. Let’s hope so!
Would I go back?