When you think West African food, there’s one place that comes to mind; Ikoyi. Showcasing the flavours of countries including Nigeria and Benin, the Michelin-starred restaurant had been top of my list for a while. Being half Nigerian, I was really interested to see how the St James’s spot would execute its take on my childhood favourites.
My friends and I have taken to gracing each other with a fancy meal out when our birthdays roll around and this year I was lucky enough to be treated to Ikoyi. We splashed out on the 9-course extended tasting menu which was priced at £90 (though I had a 30% discount with Nightkey.)
First up was the infamous plantain, dusted with raspberry salt and served with a mighty scotch bonnet sauce. A far cry from the plantain that dad serves with his rice and stew, this was a creative start to dinner. Dish after dish, we were impressed with the beautiful plating and innovative takes on ingredients that I haven’t tasted since I used to holiday in Lagos.
Service was impeccable, with our waiter able to answer each and every question. As he brought over steamed beetroot puree topped with caviar, crispy smoked jollof rice and a delicious fried chicken number, we were bowled over again and again. Even the dessert (overripe plantain ice cream + rhubarb) was a unique offering.
One of my favourite (if not THE best) meals of the year, I can’t recommend Ikoyi enough. The atmosphere is buzzing, the staff are lovely and – most importantly – the food packs a punch. They’ve even got a drinks list designed by the Venning brothers (behind my fave Three Sheets)… what’s not to love?
The verdict: 9.5/10
The damage: (£121 for 9 courses + drinks for 2)
What we ate: Extended tasting menu (£90 plus 30% off with Nightkey; the menu is currently priced at £100.)
Dinner in pictures:
Buttermilk plantain, raspberry salt, smoked scotch bonnet:
Jerusalem artichoke moin moin:
Tigernut + steamed beetroot with Rossini caviar:
Fried chicken, charred pickled onions + a deep chicken jus:
White asparagus + palm nut sauce:
Aged beef + carrot maafe
Smoked jollof rice:
Overripe plantain ice cream + rhubarb:
You’ll find Ikoyi at 1 St James’s Market, St. James’s, SW1Y 4AH.