Get us in your inbox

Mr Ji's prawn in toast
Photograph: Gobinder Jhitta

Hype dish: Mr Ji’s cheesy and decadent prawn ‘in’ toast

The people behind TĀTĀ Eatery and TÓU revamped the menu at Mr Ji's for its reopening this year – they explain how they came up with the most popular dish

Isabelle Aron
Written by
Isabelle Aron

The inspiration for Mr Ji’s prawn ‘in’ toast was a dish called coffin bread. Nothing sinister there, it just looks a bit like a coffin. You scoop out a hole in a chunk of bread and cut the top off. ‘It’s a Taiwanese street-food dish’, explains Zijun Meng, who revamped the menu at Mr Ji for the restaurant’s reopening this year with his partner Ana Gonçalves (they’re the duo behind TĀTĀ Eatery and TÓU). ‘We wanted to do a cross between coffin bread and prawn toast.’ Meng explains how they make it.

The bread

‘The original coffin bread is usually made with a cheap white loaf. We use brioche instead, because the texture is better, it’s not so stiff. The brioche is buttery and crunchy.’

The sauce

‘We make a bechamel sauce, which is the body of the dish. We infuse milk with a parmesan rind to add flavour, then we use Japanese dashi to season it, instead of salt.’

The filling

‘We use prawns and corn, which is a typical Asian combination. We blanch the prawns, cut them up and add them to the bechamel with the corn. Then we fill up the bread.’

The topping

‘We cover everything with a mountain of parmesan, rather than putting the lid back on the “coffin”. When you’ve got a creamy sauce, putting cheese on top is very classic.’

The technique

‘We cut the loaf into rectangles and dry these out overnight – fresh bread is like a sponge, it soaks up oil. Then we fry them, cut the tops off and remove the centre with scissors.’

72 Old Compton St. £7.

    You may also like
    You may also like
    Bestselling Time Out offers