West Africa isn’t a region one might associate with high end dining, but in London anything is possible, and friends Iré Hassan-Odukale and Jeremy Chan are proving it with their restaurant Ikoyi.
The name comes from the city of Hassan-Odukale’s birth, Ikoyi, a neighbourhood of Lagos in Nigeria, and the menu from the talent and experience of Chan, who worked at Noma with René Redzepi and Dinner with Heston Blumenthal honing his skills.
Ikoyi's signature Smoked Bone Marrow Jollof Rice
Buttermilk plantain with smoked Scotch Bonnet mayonnaise
A prawn dish, inspired by Iré Hassan-Odukale's Nigerian roots
An intriguing smoked fish dish
It’s Chan’s attention to detail and his geeky enthusiasm that really makes the menu sing – traditional dishes like jollof rice are given a twist: he serves his with smoked bone marrow and groundnut miso; buttermilk plantain comes coated in a sharp raspberry powder with a dollop of a smoked scotch bonnet mayonnaise on the side. Yes it’s spicy, but not hot in the way Mexican dishes or Asian dishes are. The heat has a different, peppery quality to it, that comes from Chan’s specificity over which African peppers to use in each dish.
Since they opened in July this year, they’ve had to extend their opening hours to include a lunchtime service, and last week won London Restaurant Festival’s Best Newcomer award.
Take our advice, no one else is serving food like this. In a city where it feels like you can find anything and everything, that’s an impressive feat.