West African·
Bronze Award

SquareMeal Review of Akara

Bronze Award

London’s West African dining scene gets greater by the year, and Aji Akokomi is one of the influential restaurateurs leading the all-important charge. His original restaurant Akoko opened to barnstorming acclaim a few years ago, and now he’s launched Akara, a more casual, but by no means less fantastic, restaurant in Borough Yards.  

It's a cool, calm and contemporary space, with natural textures of pale wood, exposed brick and white limestone illuminated by the soft glow of moody lighting. On the left as you enter, a six-seater bar is nestled beneath one of the historic building’s natural arches, and we’d be perfectly happy perched here for an hour or two with a couple of its excellent date and cacao Negronis. Instead, we're guided to the rear of the restaurant to an oak counter overlooking the open kitchen. From here, one can watch the team inject smokey flavour into its dishes in all manner of ways, from barbecuing skewers over the open grill to torching individual lime segments.  

Any meal here should begin with the restaurant’s namesake akara, a distinctive black-eyed bean fritter hailing from West Africa. These freshly battered spheres are akin to a savoury doughnut - soft, fluffy and crisp on the outside - then filled with the likes of braised ox cheek and sweet peppers and served with a fluorescent hot sauce.  

Indeed, heat and smoke feature heavily on the menu, and bring particular depth to a fantastic piece of blackened poussin served with a sweet and punchy Senegalese hot sauce. Better still is a piece of meltingly soft pollock paired with a delicate tangle of sweet onions and a tangy 'yassa’ sauce. Even a bowl of fluffy Efik rice had all the authority of a main course; supremely fluffy on top and hiding more of that spicy hot sauce beneath. We'd argue the savoury courses are the main attraction at Akara, but sweet-toothed fans will find a lot to like in a slightly boozy tamarind date cake drizzled with rum caramel.  

The competition might be high when it comes to dining in Borough, but Akara is bringing the heat with its bold plates, relaxed service and achingly cool aesthetic.  

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
West African
Cool, Cosy, Romantic
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Counter dining, Gluten-free options, Vegan options, Vegetarian options
Perfect for
Birthdays, Dates, Romantic, Special occasions


After shaking up London’s West African dining scene, it was simply a matter of time before owner Aji Akokomi and the team behind Akoko expanded. Akara is the result. Named after the black-eye pea fritters eaten throughout West Africa, Akara serves an a la carte menu of traditional West African flavours including street food, sharing plates, and barbecued meat and fish.  

Located on Stoney Street in Borough Yards, Akara is a more relaxed version of its fine-dining sibling, Akoko. The 40-cover site has been styled in minimalist fashion by A-Nrd design studio to create a warm and homely space in a grey and light oak palette. The space is largely open-plan seating furnished with bespoke oak chairs, grey leather banquettes, pale limestone tabletops, and exposed brick walls. An open kitchen and hand-carved bar create an attractive spot for counter dining, while a mezzanine floor hosts a twelve-seater private dining room. 

Naturally, Akara’s menu champions several types of akaras. Some are stuffed with mushroom and served with sosu kaani - a Senegalese hot pepper and tomato sauce. Others are filled with tiger prawn and vatapa - an Afro-Brazilian shrimp and coconut stew. Also on offer is sinasir, a northern Nigerian fried rice pancake, with black-eye bean dip. 

The main dishes offer a selection of barbecued meat, fish, and vegetable plates including labu aged beef; pollock with yassa sauce and nokoss; and grilled cabbage in a carrot ata sauce. The edesi isip rice is the signature dish and a firm favourite to pair with any of the above.  

The wine list showcases plenty of lesser-known varietals to explore by the glass. The innovative cocktail list draws from that of Akoko to include the acclaimed cacao and date Negroni along with other creations formed with West African ingredients such as ogogoro, plantain, and scotch bonnet chillis. 


Do you need to book a table?

Yes, we advise you to book a table online before visiting.

Helpful? 0

Do you have any spaces for private dining?

Yes, there is a private dining room that seats up to 12 guests.

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This venue also offers

Private Group Dining


Event Party Venue



Arch 208, 18 Stoney Street, London Bridge, London, SE1 9AD

0203 861 5190 0203 861 5190


Opening Times

All day
Mon Closed
Tue 12:00-22:00
Wed 12:00-22:00
Thu 12:00-22:00
Fri 12:00-22:00
Sat 12:00-22:00
Sun Closed


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0203 861 5190 0203 861 5190

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