London has a growing appetite for new fine dining.
French cuisine may have defined the genre with crisp tablecloths, elegant tasting menus and artistic blobs of sauce. But increasingly, we’re seeing a far wider range of cuisines embracing the style and bringing their own twist.
A few years ago Ikoyi opened in St James’s, headed up by chef Jeremy Chan (who’s completed stages at Dinner & Noma), serving dishes with West African ingredients. It’s been one of the most staggeringly well-received new openings of the past couple of years: lavished by critics, packed with punters, and scoring its first Michelin Star within months of opening.
And now – after a difficult year of lockdowns and uncertainty – the highly anticipated Akoko is here. It’s just opened its doors in Fitzrovia, and is overseen by head chef Theo Clench, who spent months working with the restaurant’s owner Aji Akokomi to grasp some of the nuances of West African cuisine.
The place itself is gorgeous: warm, textured terracotta walls are 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.
Then it’ll be time to settle in for a breathtaking culinary journey that might start with Gambian oyster stew and end with daquwa (a snack made with maize and roasted peanuts) and miso cream – stopping by classics like jollof rice, and barbecued lamb with Nigeria’s signature suya spice, along the way.
It’s the most delicious road trip you can take in W1.
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