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SquareMeal Review of Ikoyi

Silver Award

Ikoyi’s West African cuisine stole the column inches when the restaurant opened in summer 2017. But let’s be clear: you don’t need to know your banga from your igbin to have a great meal at this smart Michelin-starred destination. Instead, simply marvel at the “unique flavour combinations” that define the cooking here.

A glass-fronted, minimalist cube set in the St James’s Market development, Ikoyi’s interior is clad in blond-wood panels for a Scandi-cum-sushi vibe. Hanging clay lamps add a touch of African artisanship, low-ceilings create a real buzz and a bijou open-plan kitchen kicks out perfumed, smoky aromas.

Chef-patron Jeremy Chan has done his time in some A-list kitchens (Noma, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal) and his cooking delivers elegant small plates that derive their oomph from the heat and boldness of West African cuisine – witness a snack of crunchy plantain dusted in smoked Scotch bonnet (chilli) and raspberry powder.

Standouts on the short menu include a chargrilled octopus tentacle with spicy ndolé (a bitter-leaf and spinach mix); pink slabs of Wagyu beef atop an umami-laden paste of mushroom, fermented chilli, walnut and olives, all sitting in a silky smoked eel sauce; and an absolutely stunning dessert of mouth-coating groundnut foam with zobo jam and meringue.

To drink, we loved the roasted plantain Old Fashioned, while wines are chosen to withstand the spice (our robust, ever-so-slightly sour Riesling was a case in point). Prices aren’t cheap, so offering a good-value lunch menu (£35 for three courses) is definitely a wise move – in short, this “totally beautiful” restaurant is adding a new dimension to London’s dining scene.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
West African

Location for Ikoyi

St James’s Market, London, SW1Y 4AH

0203 5834 4660


Opening Times

Mon-Sat 12N-3pm 6-11pm

Reviews of Ikoyi

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2 Reviews 

Kechi A

Excellent modern take on african food
07 June 2018  
Meal was absolutely delicious, looking forward to going again!
Food & Drink

Mr. Alex G

Jollof cuisine – not the next big thing
16 November 2017  
Part of the beauty of the London dining scene is that there is a plethora of choice. Like the citizens of this city, there is huge diversity. However, the darker side of the city’s culinary dynamism is that it is relentlessly Darwinian: if you don’t get it right, you will fail. The statistics bear this out: some 50% of central London restaurants shut within a year of opening. I fear Ikoyi may be one of them. Our cheery server informed us that the place is ‘packed’ in the evening, but any restaurant that only manages four covers (us and one other table) at a mid-week lunchtime, must surely begin to question its raison d’etre. The concept behind Ikoyi is an interesting one, namely ‘high-end West African’ dining. I couldn’t help but noticing several ironies: the restaurant looked and felt distinctly international rather than explicitly African, while the menu included caviar (from North Devon) and wagyu beef – natural staples, of course, for the average Nigerian. The food we consumed was well-intentioned, but even for someone who likes spice in one’s dishes, the emphasis on ‘heat’ seemed to crowd everything else out. A cow foot, dark beer and panja pepper snack was, I sense, more about ‘shock value’ than anything else: who has ever tried cow’s foot? Frankly, the croquette in which said foot was served could have contained any meat. The wagyu was highly impressive at least, and the meat undoubtedly enhanced by the nut and spice powder into which one could dip the meat. The chefs (who, incidentally, all appeared to be European) clearly seemed to know what they are doing with this dish, even if this could not be said about all of the ones we sampled (the plantain was instantly forgettable). If you’re curious, best go soon to check Ikoyi out; it may not be around for too long.
Food & Drink

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