St James's, London

Jeremy Chan and Iré Hassan-Odukale run what can now be considered one of the capital’s most distinctive places to eat


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Jeremy Chan and his Nigerian-born friend and business partner Iré Hassan-Odukale launched Ikoyi in 2017 just south of Piccadilly Circus. The restaurant was initially perceived as serving West African food (it’s named after a district in the Nigerian city Lagos) but has evolved to become a hyper-creative restaurant that is largely unshackled by geography.

In 2022, the restaurant moved from its tiny original home to a larger and more prominent site within Brutalist creative hub 180 The Strand. The new space has a similar number of covers to its predecessor but now boasts a fully open kitchen, a far more spacious dining room and a private dining area.

Ikoyi’s second iteration has been designed by acclaimed Danish architect and designer David Thulstrup and features textured copper wall panels, a grey stone floor and a ceiling constructed from steel mesh. While the lighting might not be the greatest for food pics it is beautifully judged: Chan says he wanted the interior to glow like a lantern, and that’s exactly what it does.

Chan’s food isn’t getting any easier to pigeon hole. Controlled use of spice is a hallmark, as is the procurement and careful handling of top quality produce from Britain and, occasionally, further afield. Some dishes do reference Ikoyi and Hassan-Odukale’s Nigerian roots, including plantain, spiced efo and roasted peanut; and smoked jollof rice (now served with chunks of lobster).

Other dishes on the current tasting menu include mussel and saffron creme caramel with N25 Caviar; octopus morels and peas; sweetbread with duck and coffee; and almond butter and einkhorn wheat. The price of the tasting menu is right up there with the most expensive restaurants in the country, but for those who can afford to splash out they won't feel shirt changed.

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