London’s Best West African Restaurants
London’s Best West African Restaurants

London’s Best West African Restaurants

Right now, many London restaurants are shining a light on the incredible flavours and dishes of West Africa. From pop-ups and fine-dining experiences to traditional spots serving up authentic Nigerian small plates, here are eight of our favourite spots in London to try.
By Heather Steele
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Image: CHUKU'S

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Ikoyi
Ikoyi

IRINA BOERSMA

Akoko

Fitzrovia

Akoko is one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the capital: clay terracotta walls surround chic wooden tables and an open kitchen where diners can sit at a counter and watch the chefs at work. Founded by Aji Akokomi, the restaurant draws on three pillars of cooking – fire, umami and spice. Each night, diners can choose from six or nine-course tasting menus that celebrate West African flavours. Highlights include oysters cooked on coals and served with Gambian oyster stew; slow-cooked turbot with yellow pepper sauce; incredible jollof rice with carrot terrine; and charred octopus with cocoa and peanut sauce with an octopus cracker. Throughout, dishes are surprising and elegantly presented – and all excellently matched by wines chosen by acclaimed sommelier Honey Spencer.

Visit Akoko.co.uk

Ikoyi

Covent Garden

Jeremy Chan and Iré Hassan-Odukale’s Ikoyi is one of the most exciting restaurants in London. Showcasing bold flavours, the menu features a vast collection of spices which the team have meticulously sourced over the past few years, with a focus on sub-Saharan West Africa. Think ‘Grains of Selim’, a smoky peppercorn with the scent of eucalyptus, plantains and scotch bonnet chillies. Expect to sample the likes of lobster salad and strawberry croustade; scallop, sun sweet melon and sea buckthorn; and peach with caramelised white chocolate fudge. Guests can also opt for the eight-course blind-tasting menu, based around British micro-seasonality.

Visit IkoyiLondon.com

Akoko
Akoko

Chishuru

Fitzrovia

Until recently, Nigerian-born Adejoké Bakare was a home cook. For several years she hosted dinner parties and supper clubs, but in 2019 she won a competition to open a three-month pop-up in Brixton Village. Chishuru launched in August 2020, inspired by the food of Nigeria. After Jay Rayner visited and gave the restaurant a rave review in November that year, the pop-up became a permanent fixture in Brixton. Now on Great Titchfield Street, Chishuru’s menu pays homage to Joké’s West African heritage and focuses on open-fire cooking and an extended pastry offering. Dishes include sinasir rice cake with white and brown crab and squash puree; cod fillet with mbongo tchobi (spiced black sauce) and wilted greens; and black sesame caramel and baobab meringue. Cocktails will feature West African herbs and spices, including a house-pickled okra martini as an aperitif, and an eau de vie shot with alligator pepper as a digestif.

Visit Chishuru.com

Akwasi Brenya-Mensa

Various Locations

Supper club superstar Akwasi Brenya-Mensa’s debut restaurant, Tatale, opened at The Africa Centre last year to great acclaim. A beautiful space filled with sandy clay plaster walls, intricately carved timber furniture, vivid woven fabrics and artwork from pioneering African artists – all the work of interior designer Tola Ojuolape – the restaurant took its name from a Ghanaian plantain dish. Sadly, the restaurant residency came to an end this summer – but Akwasi’s cooking can still be found in the capital. He recently collaborated with Great British Menu champion James Cochran, who he trained under at Restaurant 12:51 and he has an upcoming event at The Sea, The Sea. We’re hoping he’ll be serving his signature mashed rice and groundnut soup.

Visit Resy.com

Ikoyi
Ikoyi

SAM GILLESPIE

Akara

Borough

Next week sees the launch of Akara, the next restaurant from Akoko’s Aji Akokomi. Joining Barrafina, Bancone and Vinoteca in Borough Yards, the restaurant is named after the black-eye bean fritter which has roots in West Africa – and will feature on the menu. More casual than Akoko, the 40-cover restaurant will champion traditional flavours of the region. The à la carte menu will offer a variety of akaras with fillings such as chanterelle mushroom pâté, carabinero prawns, and vatapa, a sauce made with bread, shrimp and coconut milk. Meanwhile, mains will comprise a selection of barbecued meat, fish and vegetable plates such as aged beef with labu (a paste made from peanuts) and sea bream with nokoss, a Senegalese pepper paste. 

Visit AkaraLondon.co.uk

Stork

Mayfair

This striking 90-cover restaurant is spread across two floors, accentuated by warming tones, ceramics and basket weave décor. On a street lined almost exclusively with art galleries, and close to the Royal Academy, Stork showcases a revolving art exhibition to support under-represented artists. Launched in 2021, Stork is a celebration of modern pan-African cuisine. Led by head chef Taalib Adanse (London born of Ghanaian heritage) and William JM Chilila (MasterChef: The Professionals 2018), Stork’s team creates seasonal menus inspired by childhood memories, establishing a fresh take on traditional dishes found across the African continent and the Diaspora. Menu highlights include spatchcock jerk-marinade poussin with corn and jerk sauce; yam coin with sweet potato ketchup and wild rice; miso glazed cod with crayfish and okra stew; and puff puff sundae with raspberry and peanut snap.

Visit StorkRestaurant.com

Ikoyi
Ikoyi

Papa L’s,

St James’s

Exec chef and founder Lawrence Gomez is ‘Papa L’. Serving African fusion in St James’s, Lawrence incorporates the flavours of several dishes his mother taught him how to cook while growing up in the Gambia, and fuses them with a range of dishes drawn on his 15 years’ experience working in top restaurants including The Ivy, Sexy Fish and Scott’s. During his time in these kitchens, Lawrence developed his own marinades, using exotic herbs and spices. Papa L’s Kitchen launched on Jermyn Street in 2021, following a series of pop-ups, and now serves the likes of sweet potato croquettes with lime and rocoto sauce; tempura okra with lemon and homemade chilli salt; and seared scallops in a shell with chorizo and smoked paprika relish.

Visit PapaLsKitchen.com

Chuku’s

Tottenham

Tottenham institution Chuku’s is run by a brother and sister – and is well worth a trip up the Victoria line for. Described by Guardian restaurant critic Grace Dent as “a delicious, life-changing crash course in Nigerian tapas,” the menu is centred on authentic Nigerian flavours, offering a selection of traditional dishes and modern interpretations – think jollof quinoa and plantain waffles. If it’s your first time trying Nigerian food, opt for one of the mini tapas plates to explore a selection of menu highlights. Every weekend, the team serve up a three-plate and three-cocktail brunch – we love the sound of the okra in honey-chilli dressing, chicken wings coated in salted caramel and kuli kuli, a spicy Nigerian sauce with peanuts, followed by the yam brownie.

Visit ChukusLondon.co.uk

Chuku's
Chuku's

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