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restaurateur Iré Hassan-Odukale on Lagos

restaurateur Iré Hassan-Odukale on Lagos

August 11
13:28 2017


— Pushing African culinary experience to the next level, NOK by Alara (above) is creating something truly different, using local Nigerian ingredients and flavours. Situated in the affluent area of Victoria Island, the restaurant reflects the cosmopolitan side of Lagos. On my last visit, the seafood-and-okra stew blew my mind. Go early and have a cocktail in the courtyard — the drinks are serious. For something stronger, try the palm wine or the Ogogoro gin, alcoholic “home brews” native to Nigeria. 

— My go-to for traditional Nigerian dishes is L’Afric, also on Victoria Island. It feels like home, and just so happens to be owned by my aunt, so it’s easy to bump into family. It’s real home-cooked food, in a fun, low-key setting. Located in Ikoyi, Bogobiri is a cultural hub with regular jazz and reggae nights, an art centre — The Nimbus Gallery — and a boutique hotel. Its in-house restaurant serves traditional breakfasts — plantain chips and egg stew — and simple meat and fish dishes in the evening. Enjoy the hot piri piri sauce. 

— Orchid Bistro (below), in Ikeja, fills me with nostalgia. It’s got the best breakfast/brunch in Lagos — you can get everything from a full English or American pancakes, right through to Nigerian yam and eggs. It’s got a homely feel — many a heavy night has been cured here. 

— People are surprised by the range of influences that have come to western Africa. There’s a huge appetite for Japanese/Asian flavours in Lagos. Izanagi Japanese Cuisine serves up world-class sushi and demonstrates that Lagos’s food scene is giving modern cuisine capitals such as New York, Sydney and London a run for their money.

Iré Hassan-Odukale is co-founder and managing director of Ikoyi, 1 St James Market, London SW1Y 4AH; ikoyilondon.com 



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