Akoko

West African·
££££
·
Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of Akoko

Gold Award

Shrouded behind sprawling greenery and a slim glass door on Berners Street, Akoko’s entrance is easily missed, but this smart Fitzrovia restaurant is fast becoming a key player in London’s West African fine dining movement. Like many restaurants born during the pandemic, lockdowns somewhat hampered Akoko in its early days but the restaurant we visited is one that is picking up pace fast, weaving West African flavours with elegance across an exciting tasting menu and drinks pairings.

We visited Akoko in its relative infancy and though the food was excellent, we wondered if it could be a little more challenging and unique. By comparison, Akoko 2.0 - now led by exec chef Ayo Adeyemi alongside founder Aji Akokomi - is just that. Akokomi has curated an experience where everything has purpose and meaning, from art on the walls (with pride of place given to a woven installation of ekpiri seed husks, fashioned by contemporary Nigerian artist Niyi Olagunju) to the monochromatic terracotta interiors and hand-whittled wooden cutlery that accompanies certain courses. Every aspect feels carefully considered, right down to the custom, Akoko-monogrammed skewers that hold together Adeyemi’s ox tongue suya.

That suya - served with a gentle lick of mustard and a pool of aerated bone marrow sauce - is utterly extraordinary. Like many courses at Akoko, it burns fast and bright, and is devoured too quickly. Other high points include a beautiful ballotine of monkfish and white asparagus, and a bowl of delicately-stuffed mussels and ripe tomatoes in a deftly-spiced broth. Plump for the Akoko pairing and sommelier Oscar Clark will libate you with a mixture of wines, cocktails and even a glass of Nigerian stout.

In the closing stages of the menu, an old favourite arrives - Akoko’s jollof rice, which emerges in a cloud of smoke, ready to be mixed through a bowl of lamb, aubergine and chives. If we could wish for one thing from Akoko, it would be more courses, and more chances to explore the limits of Adeyemi’s thrilling, dynamic cooking.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Cuisines
West African
Ambience
Cool, Dark and moody, Fine dining, Fun, Luxury, Widely spaced tables
Other Awards
One Michelin star, SquareMeal London Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Counter dining, Vegetarian options
People
Celebrations, Dates, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About

Akoko is a contemporary West African restaurant in Fitzrovia that features modern interpretations of classic West African dishes. The restaurant nods to its African identity through the contemporary art by Niyi Olagunju that lines the walls, as well as bespoke ceramics which have been inspired by Ladi Kwali, a well-respected African pottery expert who came to prominence in the 1960s. If you’re wondering about the name, Akoko translates from Yoruba as ‘the first’.

The restaurant is made up of warm earth tones, with lots of terracotta and ceramic features matching the African artwork on the walls. At the rear of the restaurant there's an open kitchen, where chefs finish and serve dishes from a large open-fire grill. 

The menu has been devised by executive chef Ayo Adeyemi, and combines his West African roots with a fine dining pedigree. Two tasting menus are available - one at lunch and one at dinner - and they both make use of top quality British ingredients. The evening tasting menu at the time of writing kicks off with a number of snacks, including one of yassa cream with chicken mousse, a croustade with akami tuna, and smoked goat with curd and cucumber. The rest of the menu ventures further into intriguing West African flavours, including a Nigerian soup called miyan taushe, made with butternut squash, mackerel and honey, jollof rice with lobster tail and carrot terrine, and squab suya with charred greens and peanut soup. Vegetarian and vegan menus are also available on request. 

Akoko also has a dedicated bar area where you can sit and sip on a cocktail or a glass of wine. As well as an extensive wine list, the bar menu also features some intriguing house cocktails - including a cacao negroni and kola nut rum and coke - as well as pre and post-dinner sips. 

Photography by Food Story Media Ltd


FAQs

What's the dress code at the restaurant?

The dress code is casual.

Helpful? 0

Is there an a la carte at the restaurant?

No, the restaurant is tasting menu only, but there are vegetarian and vegan tasting menus available on request.

Helpful? 0
Meet the team
Akoko

Ayo Adeyemi

Executive Chef

Ayo Adeyemi combines his West African heritage with a considerable fine dining pedigree at Akoko. He started his career at The Fat Duck, before working in San Francisco and most recently at the highly regarded Tippling Club in Singapore. In 2022 he returned to the UK to become executive chef at Akoko and to bring West African fine dining to the next level in London.


Location

21 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 3LP

020 7323 0593 020 7323 0593

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu 12:00-16:00
Fri 12:00-16:00
Sat 12:00-16:00
Sun Closed
Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue 18:30-23:00
Wed 18:30-23:00
Thu 18:30-23:00
Fri 18:30-23:00
Sat 18:30-23:00
Sun Closed

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020 7323 0593 020 7323 0593

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