Jiko

I joined my friends, Hunter and Paula, for a late dinner at Jiko.  I had been looking forward to this meal because Hunter and Paula’s chef friend, Eddie Mendoza, was now working there.

So let’s start from the beginning, which for me was this cocktail…

Jiko Sunriser – Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, Banana Liqueur, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice, and Cranberry Juice 

I’ve enjoyed this several times before at Jiko and once again it was a hit!

Though it wasn’t listed on their Cocktail menu (only the non-alcoholic version)…

…it wasn’t a problem to order this with the rum and liqueur added.

Then the parade of food began, as Chef Eddie sent to our table an appetizer or two in addition to the ones that we ordered from their menu…

 

First came this flatbread…

Piri Piri Chicken Flatbread with House Made Hummus, Rocket (Arugula), and Bhuna Masala Sour Cream

A little closer look…

This was very good.  Much better than the ones we had had at another signature restaurant, California Grill.  But my favorite flatbread of this trip was actually still the mushroom one from Mama Melrose.

The next appetizer was both tasty and pretty…

Manti Dumplings with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Saffron Yogurt, and Mint Chutney

A closer look…

Next up was one of their signature appetizers…

Taste of Africa with Pappadam, Sesame Fatir, and House-made Flax Seed Naan served with African-inspired Dips

My favorite combination was the naan bread with the roasted red pepper hummus but the mango chutney was also quite good.

Then one of my Jiko favorites…

Inguday Tibs in Brik – Mushroom, Spinach, Cheese in crispy Tunisian Filo, Apples, Curry Vinaigrette

These are similar to spanakopita but even better!

Then I ordered an appetizer that I had been wanting to try for quite awhile…

Grilled Wild Boar Tenderloin with Mealie Pap, Chakalaka, Truffle Oil, and Micro Cilantro

This was good but it was served slightly more rare than I usually like my meat to be.

 

Paula also ordered this soup…

Summer Corn Soup with Herb Jam, Pork Shoulder, Poached Egg, and Lemon-Corn Curd

I didn’t try this but Paula seemed to enjoy it.

And though we certainly didn’t need it, our server also brought us these Multi-grain rolls…

After all those appetizers and with an entrée soon coming, I passed on the rolls.

Now for our entrees, chosen from this menu…

 

Paula chose this for her entrée…

Durham Ranch Elk Loin served with Celery Root Puree, Hibiscus-candied Apples, Turnip Atjar, and Lemon-Elk Jus

A little closer look…

 

Paula loves elk, so enjoyed this very much.  I though thought the portion size was rather small for $49.

As for Hunter and I, we both ordered the same entrée, with one minor difference.  Hunter went with the entrée exactly as listed on the menu…

Oak-grilled Filet Mignon with Bobotie Mac N’ Cheese, Grilled Asparagus, Kachumbari, and South African Red Wine Sauce

And a few more pictures of this beauty…

 

I also ordered the filet but asked for the Bobotie mac n’ cheese to be substituted for their regular Mac ‘N Cheese…

I had ordered this cooked to a medium temperature but unfortunately it came out very rare.  Our server insisted on taking it back to the kitchen but when it was returned it was still only medium rare rather than medium.  Though our server wanted to return it yet again, I declined since Hunter and Paula were already way ahead of me with their entrees.  But ultimately I didn’t eat much of  this anyway…due to a combination of the bland mac ‘n cheese, meat that was still a little too rare for my taste, and so many great appetizers.  Oh, and in case you were wondering, I also tasted the Bobotie mac ‘n cheese but didn’t like it either. So sadly the entrée part of this meal was a bit of a fail for me, however it was a success for Paula and Hunter.

ETA: I just found my Jiko receipt and see that my entrée was removed from my bill, which was not requested but very nice.  I ended up paying only for my cocktail and the two appetizers I ordered (Wild Boar & Tibs in Brik), plus a generous tip for our server (more on him later).  

Chef Eddie then surprised us with this complimentary platter of their desserts…

This included the top four desserts listed on their Dessert menu…

The beautiful dessert in the right corner that looked like a bird perched atop its nest was their Malva Pudding (with Melktart ice cream, kataifi, kanu tuile, and Cabernet gelee).

In the opposite corner was their Safari Sunset (Carrot Cake, Cornbread Calamansi, Lemon Cremeux, Kenyan Coffee Streusel, Citrus Gel, Valrhona Dulcey Mousse, and Candied Carrots).

This dessert was their Orange-Ginger Cheesecake (with a Chocolate Biscuit bottom, topped with Cape Gooseberry Gelee and Blueberries on the side).

This one was their Kilamanjaro dessert…

Kilamanjaro – Tanzanian Chocolate Mousse, Pistachio Financier, Pink Peppercorn Meringue, Cacao Nib Crunch, Ras el Hanout Pineapples

And last were these…

…which I think were just Chocolate Pudding topped with whipped cream (from the Kids’ menu).

I was so full that I  took only a small taste of these.  Though they were good, they weren’t so good that they made me want to eat more.

I have one more note to add to this review regarding the service here.  It was excellent, far superior to any of the other signature restaurants (Monsieur Paul, California Grill, The Boathouse, and Narcoossee’s) at which we had dined on this trip.

So that just leaves the ratings and rankings.  While Hunter and Paula would probably have ranked this meal a perfect 5, I would subtract 1/2 star due to their inability to get my filet cooked to the requested temperature.  How does that compare to Yelp and Trip Advisor reviewers?  Well, we are actually all in agreement on this one with both of them also rating Jiko as a 4 1/2 star restaurant.  As for their Trip Advisor ranking, it is quite high, coming in at #35 of the more than 3,000 Orlando area restaurants reviewed there.  And when narrowing it to just the Disney World area restaurants, it ranks an impressive #8…the highest ranked restaurant of the many we visited on this trip!

 

 

 

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