What: The first permanent restaurant for Chuku’s, billed as ‘London’s first and only Nigerian tapas restaurant’.
Who: Sibling founders Ifeyinwa and Emeka Frederick, who first conceived the idea for Chuku’s in 2016. Since then the pair have popped up at several locations across capital including Spitalfields’ Canvas café, and Nest in Hackney where they hosted a five-week residency in the summer of 2018. The opening of their first permanent site, however, has been made possible thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign last year that saw the duo raise just over £36,000 in a 30-day period.
The food: The small-plates menu features a range of meat and plant-based sharing dishes, alongside a handful of sides or ‘small chops’. Prices are affordable across the board, with the two most expensive plates – pan-fried king prawns glazed in a honey suya sauce; and water yam and smoked mackerel croquettes topped with scotch bonnet jam – coming in at £8 each. Several signature dishes from previous Chuku’s pop-ups have made it onto the menu including a dish of quinoa steamed in a jollof stew with red peppers, plum tomatoes and ginger (£4.50); fried plantain tossed with cinnamon sugar and coconut (£4.50); beef meatballs peppered with suya spice (£7.75); and plantain waffles topped with blueberries, maple syrup, and dairy-free ice cream (£7). New additions, meanwhile, include a rice pancake dish named served with a pumpkin and peanut sauce (£4.75) that’s inspired by Emeka's recent travels to Kano in Northern Nigeria.
The vibe: Holding 35 covers, the dining room features both bar and table seating. The interior design is inspired in part by the geometrical patterns and adobe clay colour of traditional Nigerian architecture. It’s a cosy yet contemporary space, which also references the bold colour palette championed by many modern West African designers including British-Nigerian Yinka Ilori.
And another thing: Above the door at Chuku’s reads a sign that says “welcome to Lagos”, highlighting Ifeyinwa and Emeka’s determination to offer guests authentic Nigerian flavours. The ‘tapas’ element comes from their emphasis on the restaurant having a relaxed, social atmosphere. With a selection of rhythmic Nigerian afrobeats playing in the background, the siblings have labelled the Chuku’s dining experience as ‘chop, chat, chill’.
274 High Road, Tottenham, London, N15 4RR