Stax Diner in Kingly Court is undoubtedly one of London’s best halal restaurants. Boondocks London , Chef Bea Vo’s next offering in her run of inventive restaurants, lives up to those high standards.

The Halal Gems team (Zohra & Ruman) went along to the Friends and Family opening night at Boondocks this weekend and spent the evening trying out the new menu and being looked after by the friendly team.

The restaurant

Boondocks has a welcoming, spacious atmosphere. One of the biggest differences between Stax and Boondocks is the amount of space. No squeezing between tables here. With two floors and a well laid out seating area you can just as easily walk out after the body expansion of a good meal as when you walk in. The decor is definitely something to remark on when you’re there. Look out for music sheets, fairy lights, skylights and deer themed wall pegs. Even waiting for the bathroom is an interesting experience. You’ll have to check it out yourself to see what that means.

Bea’s vision was to “bring the Appalachian indoors as that’s what always felt like the Boondocks to me”. If you aren’t familiar with the word ‘Boondocks’, this would be a good time to Google it.

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(note: we were sat under the neon ‘Feed Your Soul’ sign so apologies for the quality of the images / tint)

The menu

All of your favourites from Stax Diner are available at Boondocks. This opens up the wonderful world of Stax to a new part of London, so you don’t have to brave being run over by the crowds around Oxford Street to enjoy your favourite Stax burger or chicken and waffles. The Stax Burger, Chickadee and their associated variations are all on offer at Boondocks.

The even more interesting treat is trying the new offerings. A bigger kitchen means there are several new choices, both carnivorous and vegetarian. In addition to new variations of beef and chicken burgers there is a range of new salads, new starters and a selection of ‘Southern Specialties’.

Highlights include the California Dreamin’ Burger, the BBQ Monster, BBQ Chickadee, The Spicy Hot Chickadee, Cheddar Bay Biscuits, Buttery Mashed Potato, Blue Plate Special and Roast Butternut Squash Salad.

The food

In the process of opening Stax Diner, Bea spent six months finding a supplier who could live up to her standards of halal, organic and free range. Zeki at Abraham’s Natural Produce supplies both Stax Diner and Boondocks.

We were most interested in the new additions to the menu, so we ordered the Real Buffalo Wings, Nachos, The Chilli Burger, Sloppy Joe’s and a couple of the new mocktails.

The Real Buffalo Wings had an addictive tangy flavour and worked very well with the Blue Cheese Sauce that comes with them. The nachos kept our hands sufficiently messy with great quality guacamole and Crema Mexicana, and you can really taste the difference when the Tortilla Chips are freshly fried.

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Bea had treated us to her Chilli once before, at Halal Gems’ Cinema Dining Club last year. It’s now available at Boondocks, and it is really worth a try. It is essentially a Stax Cheeseburger with a layer of Chilli added to it. The Chilli Burger was a little hard to put down since once you’ve picked it up the tray becomes a conduit for all the delicious dripping sauce. We got round that issue by using fork to eat all the chilli goodness that fell out. Waste not, want not.

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The Sloppy Joe’s was a novel experience since we’d only really heard of it on TV. A burger with a slightly different version of the Chilli inside it, it delivers great flavour and we enjoyed finishing it.

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Dessert

Because the dessert menu really does need its own section.

There are nine items on the dessert menu, almost doubling the number available at Stax. Having no idea what funnel cake was, we immediately settled on S’mores and Deep Fried Cake (don’t judge us – the Deep Fried Cake are Coke flavoured fritters. They sound intriguing!). Our hopes were dashed when we discovered they weren’t available at the time of ordering. But then a beautiful thing happened. We ordered the Funnel Cake. Confession: I had no idea what a funnel cake was. Why would you order funnel cake when you can order S’mores that you toast at your table? It turns out there’s a pretty good reason. We loved the Funnel Cake so much that we ended up stealing it from each others’ plates. It’s always great to be surprised by how awesome a dessert is, and even better when the waiter leaves the entire bottle of chocolate sauce at your table to add chocolatey goodness to your heart’s content.

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Other highlights of the dessert menu include the Banana Split and the home made Pie that comes with its own exclusive plate to take home.

All in all, Boondocks delivers the great quality food made from the most carefully selected ingredients that we’ve come to expect from Chef Bea Vo. Be prepared for a few visits while you take the time to go through all the new offerings. And order the Funnel Cake!

Boondocks opens later this month. Soft launch is 26th – 27th August with 50% off the food bill. For more information check Boondocks’ Twitter , Facebook or Instagram .

About Gem Hunter Zohra

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Zohra runs Halal Gems, the curated guide to halal dining. Their interactive magazine has reached the Top 10 on Apple’s App Store in 18 countries. She produces and presents her own TV show in the UK, The Curious Foodie , on BMTV (Sky Channel 845).

Zohra’s passion is transparency in the food chain, and she encourages people to ask ‘Whats in my food?’. Her background is in strategy and innovation, across the telecoms, media, technology, entertainment and non profit sectors.

Zohra holds an MBA from Cambridge University, and lives in London, England.

Twitter: @zkhaku