As you walk through the coral-coloured door into Chuku’s, you’ll pass underneath a sign stencilled in golden letting that says “Welcome to Lagos”.
And emerging into to an atmosphere of uplifting Afrobeat music and the delicately fragrant smell of Nigerian cooking, you’ll probably be strongly considering booking a flight out there.
This is the long-gestating permanent spot from brother/sister duo Ifeyinwa & Emeka Frederick (she’s a Cambridge grad entrepreneur, he’s a former Morito & Savoy chef) who’ve spent the last four years running pop ups & supperclubs that aimed to bring a slice of their Nigerian heritage to London. They wanted people to experience the country’s all-inclusive, high-energy dining culture; a concept they’ve termed the ‘chop, chat, chill’.
Since they started, they’ve just gone from strength to strength, with sell-out residencies at places like Camden Roundhouse and Somerset House. And just last year, they snapped up the Best Food Sharing gong at the Young British Foodie awards.
For their brick & mortar, they’ve settled in Tottenham (which already has a flourishing West African community), and created a casual, welcoming venue dotted with vivd pop art and bright green foliage that pops out against the blush pink walls. It’s not exactly huge, but that only serves to create a more intimate atmosphere.
Similar to the pop-ups, the menu here comprises a mix of both traditional and slightly more modern Nigerian sharing dishes. Things like Dodo (fried plantain tossed in cinnamon & coconut); Jollof Quinoa (quinoa steamed in a traditional West African jollof stew); fluffy yam Egusi dumplings with melon seed; and Amayase-style beef fried in a hot green pepper sauce. There’s also the occasional, more challenging number too, like barbecued chicken gizzard, or fermented locust beans. If you feel like pushing the boat out.
And finally, you can douse it all with some Nigerian palm wine, Star lager, or a West African-style cocktail, such as a glass of their tequila-infused ‘drumstick’ iced tea.
Can’t beat that.
NOTE: Chuku’s is open Tuesday-Sunday from 6pm (noon on Sat & Sun). You can find out more, and book a table at their website right HERE.
Chuku’s | 274 High Road, Tottenham, N15 4AJ
Images: Adam Scott