Harden's survey result
“Dazzling reinvention of African classic dishes”, featuring “really unique combinations and flavours”, has made this much-discussed two-year-old – from Chinese-Canadian chef Jeremy Chan and Nigerian co-founder Iré Hassan-Odukele – one of the most original of recent London openings. It’s in the St James’s Market development near Piccadilly Circus: an area, in contrast, “stuffed with conformity to the norm”, where “the vibes are a bit sterile”. In the evening, the main option is a seven-course tasting menu for £75, but an extended version for £100 is also available.
“Posh and West African food? I didn’t think they went together” – but the “strikingly original fusion” of modern techniques and Nigerian culinary traditional has produced some of “the most interesting cooking in London” at this year-old venue in a new development behind Piccadilly Circus. “An amalgam of an African chef (Iré Hassan-Odukale) and a Heston Blumenthal chef (Canadian-Chinese Jeremy Chan, ex-Fat Duck)”, it is housed in a “Scandi-chic interior”. “One of the most memorable meals of the year”, “it all felt new to me!”
West African-influenced cuisine – a modern take on traditional Nigerian, Ghanaian and Senegalese flavours, without particular reference to indigenous dishes – comes to St James’s, thanks to (Canadian-Chinese) chef Jeremy Chan (who has previously worked at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Noma and Hibiscus) and native Nigerian, Iré Hassan-Odukale (born in Ikoyi, Lagos’s most affluent suburb). The venture – part of the the extensive redevelopment of St James’s Market, and by far London’s swankiest African-inspired venture to-date – follows a successful pop-up career (including at Carousel).
Ikoyi Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Could be better that it is. Other reviews have highlighted the difficulty hearing the descriptions of the food (no choice, no menu: we had to ask for almost all descriptions to be repeated), you need to subtract one from the claimed number of courses as rice accompaniment counts as a course (which might be fair given it is the only dish of any substance), very few wines by the glass, no dessert (no choice ice cream is extra-at least at lunch). Food interesting and cleanly spicy, but not up to the artistry on the plate which seem to be the main point. Definitely not worth a Michelin star. Much too pricey for what you get. Absence of a menu means that it is easy to be neglected by the otherwise pleasant staff Won't return, but would recommend as a novelty"
"The Heston style weirdness is going a bit too far now and what is presented is barely food. Not a place for the hungry! Tasting menus mean there is no longer any choice, so if the chef decides to present plate after plate of seriously hot spicy dishes - you just have to accept that and look forward to the final ice cream dish. The milder West African flavours have become subservient to this over clever deconstructed style, which is great to try if you are curious but is hardly going to win return visits. Hopefully the chefs will return to their former style and calm down with the experimentation. It would also be helpful if the waiters could show written explanations as the noise levels make some of the complex explanations totally impossible to understand."
"Without doubt the most startling, memorable, adventurous meal of the year so far. Powerful combinations, a unique aesthetic, lots to learn and enjoy. Depending on personal taste you do need to be up for a few challenges - lots of smoky flavours for example, and its actually quite hard to find a 'normal' wine (should you wish) from the short, interesting selection. My one grumble was a confusion over the 9 dish menu actually being 8 courses which wasn't handled well and left me grumpy and confused at the end."
|Wine per bottle||£32.00|
1 St James's Market, London, SW1Y 4AH
|Monday||12 pm‑3 pm, 5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Tuesday||12 pm‑3 pm, 5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑3 pm, 5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑3 pm, 5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑3 pm, 5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm‑3 pm, 5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|