I recently went to dine at the Ikoyi London restaurant based in the middle of St James market in London. Ikoyi is a modern take on popular Nigerian dishes in some what of an A La Carte way. I visited the restaurant during their ‘soft launch’ if you may, where they were inviting family and friends to test out and enjoy what they have to offer. My friend ordered for the table so there a few dishes that I didn’t have the pleasure of trying but let’s talk about the ones that I did.

I ordered the ‘Eko Mail’ cocktail which is a millennial pink prosecco based cocktail. Prior to ordering this, I had a sip of my friends ‘plantain old fashioned’ which I decided was way too strong for me. The Eko Mail cocktail BLEW MY MIND. It’s hands down one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had in my life and I say that unbiasedly. It’s sweet in a very soft way, refreshing and cut by the right amount of prosecco to stop it from being sickly. I would order it ten times over.

To start we ordered the plantain smoked scotch bonnet which was covered in a raspberry dust, the chicken oyster, the smoked fish mackerel and the marinated lamb. Out of all of the dishes, I gravitated to the lamb the most. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t enjoy the plantain as it wasn’t ripe enough and was all a bit too-much-heat-not-enough-flavour. I like that they tried to have an unusual take on the plantain and I definitely think it works, I just think that it would be more enjoyable if the plantain were riper and sweeter.

The chicken oyster was very moist and flavourful. Again, I was surprised how much pepper was in the dishes. I expected the food to be hot as it’s oriented around Nigerian cuisine but even an African like me who is well accustomed to spice had to intermittently accommodate each dish with a few gulps of water.

Again, I was surprised how much pepper was in the dishes. I expected the food to be hot as it’s oriented around Nigerian cuisine but even an African like me who is well accustomed to spice had to intermittently accommodate each dish with a few gulps of water. Considering that they’re trying to make these dishes more palatable for those who don’t come from an African culture, I think it would be a great idea to consider turning down the heat on some of the dishes.

The Lamb chops were to die for! They had a smokey grilled taste which gave off flavours that really reminded me of back home (even though my ‘back home’ isn’t Nigeria but it’s close!). It was an absolute winner. The mackerel was unusual but delicious. I have quite an open mind when it comes to trying new things so I’m glad I was able to experience this dish.

The Medium Rare ‘Suya’ was also a personal favourite as I loved that they had the traditional Suya spices on the side to dip into. The meat was tender, juicy and flavourful and that’s exactly what I was looking for. Not pictured is the Jollof (These are all iPhone images as my camera is broken) which confused me a lot. I understand that Ikoyi isn’t solely a restaurant based on Nigerian cuisine, it rather takes inspiration from the notes and spices from the traditional dishes but I believe if you’re going to call something Jollof it really has to live up to the name. The Jollof rice was accompanied with smoked bone marrow which obviously made it taste quite smokey and dark which didn’t really bother me. What bothered me was the lack of salt in the dish (the same goes for the Chicken and Okra Dish) and the fact that there weren’t any salt dispensers on the table to adjust this. In their defence, it was a soft launch so it may very well be that there are salt and pepper shakers on tables now! I just didn’t find the Jollof very appetising and if I’m honest, when I visit again I won’t be ordering it. I do believe it’s a dish that they can adjust to become better. The chicken has the most unusual but beautiful texture. It was soft enough for my knife to completely glide through without force and had this melt-on-your-tongue effect which was quite mesmerising. It’s is a dish I’ll definitely be ordering again a long as I can adjust the salt to taste.

 

All in, all I really enjoyed my Ikoyi dining experience. The restaurant is quite dainty in size and I liked it as it makes the dining experience more personal and informal. I’ll definitely be visiting again!

  • Just recently heard of this and it’s great to see a review already. Thank you. Hopefully they improve on the points you raised!

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