Chishuru has lived two lives at the time of writing this review. Its first iteration in Brixton opened to barnstorming acclaim, although an 18-month lease meant it had to shut shop for a short stint. Fortunately for die-hard fans, and those who never managed to make it to that first incarnation, it’s re-opened at this rather lovely site on Great Titchfield Street.
Chishuru 2.0 is small, but split across two levels, with a wine bar-esque feel and an open kitchen on the ground floor space, plus further seating downstairs. Soft woods, wicker seating and walls the colour of pale plaster feel warm and homely, while vibrant nods to chef-owner Adejoke Bakare’s West African heritage include a bespoke orange light feature and speckled, custom tabletops.
It’s a set menu format for both lunch or dinner – priced at £35 and £65 respectively - alongside a French wine list and signature cocktails. Dishes bounce between big and bold, mellow and nuanced, and always unexpected. Our favourite dish of the night came first: a rich and unctuous fermented rice cake topped with a quenelle of dressed crab and a crisp shard of tempura sorrel. Moi Moi, a compressed bean ‘cake’, served with salty chicken livers and an egg yolk sauce, was the only dish that didn’t quite come together for us. Still, plenty of other dishes did. A pearlescent piece of cod fillet served with a dramatic, spiced sauce the colour of charcoal was rich and punchy. And the crispy, marinated skin on a piece of guinea fowl was deeply delicious, again served with another spiced sauce we wanted to drink with a spoon. Despite its fine dining lilt, there’s still a clear effort to feed here, with mains served alongside bowls of beautiful fluffy rice, fried plantain and house pickles.
One can’t help but feel warmed by Adejoke’s cooking, and there are few places in London serving food like this. If anything, you're guaranteed to discover something you've never tried before.