Jason Allen 08/04/23
Akoko | Showstopping West African Tasting Menus on Berners Street
Last year, change was in the air at Akoko.
Since opening at the tail end of 2020, the hyped and deeply-discussed West African restaurant in Fitzrovia has been serving some of the greatest tasting menus known to mankind (or least to London… though honestly not a massive exaggeration), full of creative thought, adventure and nuance…
…and it is still doing that. No need to panic. There is a new man in charge of the kitchen, though.
Ayo Adeyemi has picked up the baton, and like previous head chef Theo Clench (now off running a solo restaurant of his own, Cycene), he’s makings diners emphatically nod their heads in agreement to a deliriously good 10-course tasting menu, drawn from his fond childhood memories and the food from his heritage. Using good ol’ British ingredients as a vehicle, Adeyemi tours you through some of West Africa’s most well-known dishes while updating traditional recipes with fine-dining touches.
A few of those have included moimoi (a steamed Nigerian dish that Adeyemi makes with yellowtail); jollof rice with rof, a chimichurri-esque sauce popular in Senegal (he’s serving it here with beef from the Lake District or on occasion, with barbecued blue lobster); suya (meat skewers that at Akoko, are crafted with beef tongue and bone marrow); and desserts like bofrot, a Ghanaian doughnut with uda peppers and shiitake, finished with a squiggle of white chocolate. Do note that the menu is prone to change, but also note that it doesn’t impact the overall experience, as whatever Adeyemi turns out is guaranteed quality.
The 10-course dinner set menu comes in at £120 and you can level it up accordingly with three drink pairings – wine (an extra £105), ‘Akoko’ (an extra £80), which is a combination of cocktails and African wines, or softs (an extra £50). There’s also the option to streamline down to six courses for £55. Obviously, this isn’t casual, spur of the moment, feel-like going-for-out-dinner type of stuff, but for special all-out occasions, it’s truly up there with London’s most memorable.
And about the venue itself: it’s absolutely gorgeous, with warm, textured terracotta walls accented with West African art & pottery – there’s even some from Ladi Kwali, who earned the nickname the “Queen of Pottery’ back in the ’60s. There’s a beautiful bar, too, where you can start your evening with a cacao and date-infused negroni, or a punchy vodka soda laced with scotch bonnet.
That much hasn’t changed…
NOTE: Akoko is open for dinner Wed-Sat, plus Saturday lunch. You can find out more, and book a table, right HERE.
Akoko | 21 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 3LP
If you want to meet the neighbours… head to Berners Tavern
21 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 3LP
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0207 323 0593
9.0 | Amazing
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