IKOYI - the innovative West African-influenced cuisine co-owned and run by Nigerian raised Iré Hassan-Odukale and Canadian native Jeremy Chan, has won it’s first Michelin star.
Now, if you’ve just read the above sentence and are not overtly impressed by that statement then you have no idea what this means, no fear - you are about to find out. The Michelin star system is simply used to rank restaurants on their quality. One star means “a very good restaurant”; two stars mean “excellent cooking that is worth a detour” and three stars mean “special cuisine that is worth a special journey”. The iconic french chef, Paul Bocuse, who famously maintained a three-star for over 50 years of his career described Michelin as “the only guide that counts”.
Ikoyi’s inclusion into this exclusive club of only 71 in London is no small feat considering they only opened fourteen months ago and both owners initially started their careers in completely opposite fields - insurance and renewable energy. It may seem like an unlikely pairing, but clearly it is the winning formula to finally bring the underestimated flavours from our part of the world to the forefront.
The result is “innovative cuisine based on the interpretation of West African ingredients”, it is a composite of the food Hassan-Odukale grew up on in Ikoyi, a wealthy borough in Lagos, Nigeria, transformed into fine cuisine. Chan, the chef, has worked with Heston Blumenthal at Dinner, Noma and Claude Bosi at Hibiscus. The childhood friends stress that the cuisine is not Nigerian but West African influenced - it’s new way of cooking with a new name as coined by the boys - it’s “Jollof Cusine’.
The tasting menu boasts Plantain, Raspberry & Smoked Scotch Bonnet, Jollof Rice, Iberico Pork Suya and Cow Skin Sandwich. Whether these exotic combinations entice you or not - one thing is for certain, Michelin means ‘good food’ and you can’t go wrong when venturing to the UK to try out this newly starred joint.
IKOYI London, 1 St James's Market, St. James's, London SW1Y 4AH, UK