Chef Victor Okunowo to head up the kitchen at new West African restaurant Isibani

By BigHospitality

- Last updated on GMT

Chef Victor Okunowo to head up the kitchen at new West African restaurant Isibani

Related tags: African cuisine, Restaurant, Fine dining, London

London's burgeoning fine dining African food scene is getting another entrant in the form of Knightsbridge restaurant Isibani.

Named after a Zulu word meaning ‘bring the light’, the restaurant is being opened by owners Anthony Douglas Chuka and Abdul Malik Abubakar in Knightsbridge on 11 July with chef Victor Okunowo heading up the kitchen.

Isibani is described as being a ‘love letter to West African cuisine’ and will have a 22-cover fine dining restaurant on the ground floor - as well as space for three at the bar - with a more relaxed 24-cover upstairs dining area serving a different menu.

There will also be space for four diners outside on the street and a 16-cover roof terrace.

The restaurant will be headed up by 26-year-old Okunowo, a Nigerian-born Londoner who was a semi-finalist on BBC's MasterChef The Professionals​ in 2020. Okunowo comes from Talking Drum in Peckham where he was head chef and before that has worked at restaurants including The Wolseley and Chiltern Firehouse.

Dishes are said to reflect the traditions, ingredients, and culture of West Africa and will include mackerel, iru, apple and celery tartlet; jerk poussin taco, pimento mayo, baby gem, heritage tomatoes and escabeche; smoked monkfish fillet, charred okra, kachumbari, sea herbs and brown shrimp; jollof rice, grilled broccoli, and fermented scotch bonnet; and chicken kiev, offal nkowbi, onions, and peach.

“I’m really excited to be heading up the team at Isibani and bringing West African cooking to Knightsbridge,” says Okunowo.

“The menu is a very personal one and draws inspiration from my childhood and the flavours I grew up eating in Nigeria. I want it to be a fun place where people can enjoy great food, wine and company.”


The restaurant will be located on Knightsbridge Green and will have a vibrant interior using a colour palette of Africa using geometric patterns and bold colours of Nigerian fashion.

“Isibani is an ode to our mom’s Ibo heritage and her love for fine dining with an African twist,” say the founders.

A number of high-end African restaurants have opened in the capital in the past few years, often to critical acclaim. These include Akoko, Ikoyi, Kudu and Chishuru, all of which have appeared or currently appear in the list of the UK's Top 100 Restaurants​. Ikoyi ranks the highest of these restaurants, currently appearing at number nine on the list.

Last week more details emerged about Akwasi Brenya-Mensa’s pan-African restaurant Tatale​, which will launch at The Africa Centre’s new location in Southwark mid next month.


Related topics: Openings, Restaurant

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