A meal at Ikoyi is a unique and exciting journey for your taste buds. Chef Jeremy Chan opened the restaurant with his best friend Iré Hassan-Odukale, who is from Ikoyi, Nigeria. Together, they decided to open a restaurant inspired by the flavors of Nigeria. The tasting menu changes seasonally, using sustainable and locally-sourced British ingredients, and serving spice-focused dishes. The food is punchy and explosive in flavor, and brings a really unique culinary perspective to the table.
We first visited Ikoyi in 2019. It was our favorite meal on that London trip, but we only had the condensed lunch menu. We have been curious to try the full dinner menu, especially since they got two Michelin stars in 2022 and also climbed to no. 49 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. So this time, we went for the full Ikoyi experience – and filmed a video interviewing chef Jeremy Chan. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be the first to see all our videos!
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IKOYI Address & Contact Information 180 Strand, Temple, London, England Website Instagram Facebook
Chef Jeremy Chan and the Inspiration for Ikoyi
Chan began his cooking career later in life (when he was 26) and worked at a brasserie, for eight months at Dinner by Heston, and also did a three-month stage at Noma. He confessed to us that he never felt happy working for someone else and exacting their vision – he had his own culinary ideas he wanted to express. When his best friend said he wanted to open a restaurant inspired by the flavors of Nigeria, Chan was all in. (Now, this is the longest he’s ever stayed at a job.)
But the food is not at all strictly “African” – Chan grew up in Hong Kong eating Cantonese food and dim sum with his family, and also lived in China. He describes these flavors from his childhood as extremely influential on his cooking. He also finds lots of inspiration in books he reads, cookbooks from chefs he admires, and, of course, by going out and eating. The first Noma cookbook was a big influence on him, and his meal at Per Se back when they opened was another source of inspiration.
Chef Chan is very passionate and driven, and extremely humble. He told us that he feels like he “just learned to cook in this past year,” and that “next year will be the best year of Ikoyi.” He feels like the restaurant is really discovering its personality. He loves the intensity and the physicality of the kitchen, and wants to express that energy in his cooking.
The Food & Drink Menu at Ikoyi
The ingredients at Ikoyi are sourced locally from around the United Kingdom, with a clear focus on sustainability. All the fish are line-caught, and all the cattle are free-range. The dishes are enhanced with various spices sourced from Africa, as well as nods to Asia. While many dishes are quite hot and spicy, the intention is not for them to be challenging, but comforting.
Deliciousness is the goal of everything they do. Standouts from our meal included the plantain covered in blackberry salt with smoked scotch bonnet, the jollof rice with crab custard, and their take on Lobster Thermidor, served in a sorghum crepe and covered in truffle.
There is a small selection of wine with some nice natural producers, and a small cocktail list that plays with fun seasonal ingredients. We had a spicy Mango Gimlet and a “Strawberry, I Suppose” made with fresh strawberry juice and Empirical’s “Plum, I Suppose” spirit.
Have you been to Ikoyi London? Let us know in a comment below.
I’m so excited to hear about Ikoyi in London! It sounds like a great place to experience both Chinese and Hong Kong cultures through the amazing food. I’m wondering, what is the most popular dish at this restaurant?
It’s a tasting menu, so it changes all the time. But if you watch the video, Chan talks about a few signatures. 🙂