Akoko | West African fine dining in Fitzrovia
If you want the recipe for a successful London restaurant, simply follow these steps:
1) Pick an affluent area somewhere in W1.
2) Get a head chef with serious credentials – perhaps they were a finalist on Masterchef: The Professionals, or maybe they’ve worked at some of the world’s best restaurants.
3) Create a West-African-meets-British menu.
4) Name the place after a part of Nigeria.
And there you have it. Ikoyi has already completed steps one to four: it’s in St James’s, headed up by chef Jeremy Chan (who’s completed stages at Dinner & Noma), it serves West African food, and it’s named after a neighbourhood in Lagos. And thanks to that, it’s been one of the most staggeringly well-received new openings of the past couple of years. It’s been lavished by critics, packed with punters, and scored its first Michelin Star within months of opening.
And this autumn Akoko is coming, and following and treading directly in those footsteps. It’ll be in Fitzrovia, and headed up by Masterchef: The Professionals finalist William JM Chilila – he’ll be creating menu of West African classics made with British ingredients, including:
- Grilled 28 day aged beef suya with caramelised onion & confit tomato
- Lobster with egusi ijebu (melon seed) velouté & pounded yam
- Octopus with ofe nsala (spiced catfish) velouté
- Grilled aubergine with aubergine caviar with maafe sauce
And as for the name? It’s a reference to a tribal group who live predominately within Nigeria. There’ll be plenty of West African art & pottery on display, and there’ll even be some from Ladi Kwali, who earned the nickname the “Queen of Pottery’ back in the ’60s.
Ironically, she didn’t have feet of clay.
NOTE: Akoko is due to open this autumn. You can find out more at their website right HERE.
Akoko | 21 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 3LP
If you want to meet the neighbours… head to the Berners Tavern