At Akoko, a slice of West Africa will welcome you in from the cold London streets, with clay terracotta walls, a special six- or nine-course tasting menu, and the pillars of West African cooking. What are these, you may ask? Well, according to the restaurant’s founder, Aji Akokomi, they are fire, umami, and spice. Sounds pretty warming for a winter’s eve to us!
The fine dining restaurant has reopened with a new head chef at its helm – Theo Clench – who has been working closely with Akokomi to really nail the intricacies of traditional West African cooking, before adding contemporary British twists.
Presentation is everything here. The intimate eatery is laid out in such a way that the front section feels like audience seating, with the show kitchen as a stage; guests are positioned with a prime view of the cooks from their carefully angled tables. The courses themselves are visually appealing, styled just so on a bed of shells/sauces/spices. And the service? Well, it is faultless. In the corner sits a cosy bar, perfect for a pre-dinner tipple. The cocktail menu offers classics with a twist: the G+T boasts coconut and pineapple tones, while the vodka soda has a hint of scotch bonnet.
Whether you choose to indulge in the six- or nine-course tasting menu, you can expect the highest quality British produce, seasoned with a mix of spices usually seen in West African dishes. Carlingford oyster, cooked on coals in a Gambian stew; smoked Jollof rice, served with carrot terrine and Ivorian aubergine sauce; and Isle of Mull scallops, peanut oil and shito are just three of the courses you can expect (and our favourites, though it was a hard call). And, for dessert fiends, well, don’t be fooled by the boiled egg appearance of one of the options – your sweet tooth will be satisfied with baobab, hibiscus and lemon. Fancy!
Alongside Akoko’s flavourful menu, a host of specially curated drinks are available. The wine list includes a host of rare wines, meticulously paired with your courses by an in-house sommelier. You can opt for three wine pairings, comprising a white, a red, and a dessert wine, chosen to accentuate the flavours of both the dish and the wine.
The restaurant is situated a stone’s throw from Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Street and Goodge Street stations, making it ideal for a lavish pre-theatre dinner or evening in the West End.