Best for: Senegalese flavours
What to order: thieboudienne
Senegalese food is hard to come by in London, but the Little Baobab team brings its heritage through traditional cooking. You can catch them at festivals, food markets, or their own events – following them on social media is key. Their monthly pop-up in Clapton is the most intimate, starting as a relaxing evening and gradually progressing into an upbeat live performance. On any given night, the energetic band of West African origin is guaranteed to get the whole room dancing. Opt for thieboudienne, Senegal’s national dish with fish, rice and vegetables cooked in a tomato stew. As a nod to traditional eating practices, staff will likely sit you at larger sharing tables.
805 restaurant, Peckham
Best for: Nigerian dishes
Dish to order: egusi soup with pounded yam
This decorous restaurant has been the cornerstone of Nigerian dining in London for the past 20 years. In fact, John Boyega famously took Harrison Ford to his Peckham local when they were filming Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. Expect traditional dishes in a dimly lit, off-white setting with bold accents of antique gold and silver. We particularly love the egusi soup, made from ground melon seeds and spinach, which is served with pounded yam. The bar stocks modern and imported drinks from Lagos, including a local Fanta, which is distinctly sweeter than the American-made original. Service can be slow here and the music can get loud, so order as soon as possible.
Address: 805 Restaurant, 805 Old Kent Road, Peckham, London SE15 1NX
Telephone: +44 20 7639 0808
Rock Steady Rum Lounge, Dulwich
Best for: homely Caribbean dishes
What to order: oxtail with rice and peas
The interiors at Rock Steady mimic a traditional Jamaican house set in the 1970s – ornaments fill the shelves while old-school Caribbean music artwork is displayed on the walls, the tunes themselves played in the background. Everyone from the service staff to the chef injects jokes and charisma into the atmosphere of the space. The evening menu has comforting staples such as oxtail – which falls off the bone – and vegan chickpea curry served with soft roti. Make sure to add the pineapple and mango coleslaw to your order.
Address: Rock Steady Rum Lounge, 128 Gipsy Hill, Dulwich, London SE19 1PL
Telephone: +44 20 8670 4030
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