First look inside Jikoni, one of Bristol’s newest restaurants

Couple and co-founders James Hillier and Iman Salat are delighted to bring the flavors of East Africa to Bristol

A Bristol-based East African restaurant has officially opened its doors to the masses. Since his start March 2Jikoni serves up a slice of East Africa on one plate, offering a wonderful variety of Ethiopian, Kenyan, Somali and Tanzanian cuisine.

For the couple and Jikoni co-founders Iman Salat and James Hillier, they are finally looking forward to bringing the best of East Africa to Bristol on a regular basis at their St Paul venue, after two years of running the establishment as a mobile food retailer.

Speaking to Bristol Live, James said: “It’s going well and it’s a really good start for the business. We’ve had a lot of amazing feedback from locals and many office workers who come for lunch, so it’s been positive so far, and we’re happy with that.

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Iman added, “One of my favorite comments came from a Somali mum who tried our Hawaash salmon. And this Somali mum, who came with her daughter, worried me but we knew the spices we were using were genuine. I didn’t know how she would see the style of [Jikoni]but she loved it.

“For me, the coming compliment from a Somali hooyo telling me that the Hawaash salmon she just ate was amazing – that’s something I’ll never forget.

Seductive nods from younger and older generations of the Diaspora, James and Iman hope for Jikoni’s future.

With new developments in the works such as interior renovations, collaborative efforts with the BAME-led charity Kabisa and the diversification of their staff to provide opportunities for young black and East Africans in the hospitality industry, the couple proudly has larger than life ambitions and they don’t. I never plan to stop.

Below is a first look at the restaurant, which promises local and ethical ingredients, as well as a vegan range.

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