The best Black-owned restaurants in London

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There are restaurants aplenty headed by proficient Black chefs and entrepreneurs. And their owners find both bold and subtle ways to celebrate their heritage through a blend of traditional music, innovative drinks and delicious food. Every establishment on this list does its part to put a creative spin on traditional African and Caribbean dishes, and to provide the real deal in a smart setting. Due to COVID-19, some restaurants have been more severely affected than others so make sure to check their website for current opening times.

  • The best Black-owned restaurants in London

    12:51, Islington

    Best for: small sharing plates

    What to order: buttermilk jerk chicken with scotch bonnet jam

    Headed by the acclaimed James Cochran, 12:51 takes inspiration from his Scottish and West Indian roots to bring expertly seasoned recipes to a casual dining restaurant. The space is cramped, so grab a table near the window to avoid the foot traffic of waiting staff and diners while still enjoying the laid-back hip-hop soundtrack. Visit in the evening for the eight-course taster menu. While social-distancing measures are in place, 12:51 is currently operating as Around the Cluck, a delivery service specialising in buttermilk-fried chicken.

    Address: 12:51, 107 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1QN

    Telephone: +44 7934 202269


  • The best Black-owned restaurants in London

    Three Little Birds, Brixton

    Best for: Jamaican-inspired tapas

    What to order: codfish fritters

    With its exposed brick walls and lighting, Three Little Birds looks like a café upon walking in, but it’s much more than that. It is also a restaurant that serves sharing plates and a bar with warm and friendly staff. Two plates – start with honey-jerk chicken wings and codfish fritters – and a side should be enough to order, but be mindful that the menu changes seasonally. The must-have cocktail is the namesake rum punch, and there’s a Battersea branch too.

    Address: Three Little Birds, 412 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8LF

    Telephone: +44 20 3910 1870


    Tracks and Records, Spitalfields

    Best for: rum and clubbing

    What to order: jerk plate

    With his signature pose illuminated above this restaurant’s sign, you’ll know right away that Usain Bolt is the proud owner of Tracks and Records. Once inside, you’re greeted by Bolt’s sports memorabilia alongside the vivid green and yellow of the Jamaican flag. This place is a restaurant, bar, dance floor and club, with a schedule of live DJs every week. In addition to tasting the impressive Jamaican signatures on the menu, trying one of the bar’s 150 rums is essential – 100 of which are Jamaican. Try the fruity Sorrel Surprise made up of Koko Kanu and Appleton rum, fruit juice, coconut purée and sorrel syrup.

    Address: Tracks and Records, 94 Middlesex Street, Spitalfields, London E1 7EZ

    Telephone: +44 20 3976 5459


  • The best Black-owned restaurants in London

    Chuku’s, Tottenham

    Best for: tapas

    What to order: suya meatballs

    Community is prioritised at this sociable restaurant, which gives a warm introduction to Nigerian flavours with tapas-inspired sharing plates. Choose between plant-based options such as quinoa cooked in a Nigerian tomato stew, or go for beef meatballs with suya spice – a blend of clove, ginger, chilli and peanut. Starting out as a pop-up restaurant, Chuku’s recently found a permanent home in Tottenham, with coral-filled interiors and artwork that nods to vibrant Nigerian culture. The relaxing atmosphere tempts you to stay all day if you can.

  • The best Black-owned restaurants in London

    Drums and Flats, Wembley

    Best for: chicken wings

    What to order: sticky BBQ wings

    This Wembley Boxpark restaurant specialises in one thing and one thing only: chicken – in the form of sticky wings and juicy burgers. Its small pop-up store is on the lower floor inside a shipping container and displays its creations across three digital screens. Coming in portion sizes of five or 10, the wings are coated in homemade sauces that take them to the next level. If you tend to steer clear of spicy food, it’s safe to order the sweet sticky BBQ, garlic Parmesan or Plain Jane wings.

    Address: Drums and Flats, Boxpark, 18 Olympic Way, Wembley Park, Wembley HA9 0JT


    Beza, Elephant and Castle

    Best for: Ethiopian vegan food

    What to order: misir wot and injera

    Ethiopian food at Beza is simple, healthy and 100 per cent vegan. Everyone is welcomed to enjoy dishes such as misir wot, made from red lentils cooked with red onions, garlic and Ethiopian berbere spice and served with traditional injera flatbread. The variety of colours in the dishes is reflected in the sleek decor, particularly in the hand-woven mosebs that your meal is placed in to share with friends. For those who wish to eat alone, a polished oak counter is lined with high chairs, where you can try out the changing selection of weekly specials.

    Address: Beza, 8A Sayer Street, Elephant and Castle, London SE17 1FH


  • The best Black-owned restaurants in London

    Ayannas, Poplar

    Best for: fine dining

    What to order: curry goat with rice and peas

    A fine-dining restaurant serving Caribbean flavours, with a soft European twist. Expect boneless curry goat cooked with thyme and onions but presented enclosed in a filo parcel, garnished with colourful peppers and served with rice and peas. The elegance of this small restaurant cannot be ignored: its signature black and white theme is accented with gold and a grand piano sits near the reception. Ayannas occasionally welcomes performers, so sit near the piano for the best view.

    Address: Ayannas, 2 Yabsley Street, Poplar, London E14 9RG

    Telephone: +44 20 3772 4140


  • The best Black-owned restaurants in London

    The West Indian Bake Company, Elephant and Castle

    Best for: Caribbean bakes with flavourful fillings

    What to order: Licky Chicky jerk bake

    A bake is crispy Caribbean fried dough with a light and fluffy centre. The first restaurant of its kind in the UK, The West Indian Bake Company takes the inspiration for its favourite fillings from Trinidad and Grenada, including jerk chicken, curried lamb and breaded shark meat, before drizzling it in homemade sauces. Order two or three bakes and try a well-seasoned Corn Spechal on the side – cobs marinated for three days in a jerk seasoning. With friendly staff, the small restaurant is a cosy choice for lunch or dinner.

    Address: The West Indian Bake Company, Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, Elephant and Castle, London SE1 6DR


    Stork, Mayfair

    Best for: African flavours with a European twist

    What to order: jerk chicken, jollof rice and roasted plantain

    On the menu you might find cured duck breast seasoned with suya spice, which is as satisfying visually as it is tasty. Outside, there’s a centrepiece tree draped with white flowers and Stork-themed features all over the restaurant – from a branded living wall to the opulent golden taps in the bathrooms. For a lovely reveal, try the White Stork pudding, which involves cracking a white-chocolate egg open to expose mousse and mango parfait. Regular DJ sets are held on the second floor, so reserve a seat upstairs to be closer to the action.

    Address: Stork, 13-14 Cork Street, Mayfair, London W1S 3NS

    Telephone: +44 20 3973 9307


  • The best Black-owned restaurants in London

    Rhythm Kitchen, Walthamstow

    Best for: modern Caribbean cooking

    What to order: anything jerked

    Although there is a branch in the food court of Westfield Stratford, Rhythm Kitchen in Walthamstow is our pick of the two. Marinating the meat for 24 hours in advance produces flavourful dishes and jerk chicken is always a good choice. There’s also whole jerk fish on the menu, giving diners an authentic, smoky-flavour experience – choose between grilled or steamed. The bar is stacked with more than 60 rums with which to create sweet cocktails such as the Rum Runner – a fruity combination of blackberry, banana and pineapple with a shot of spiced rum.

    Address: Rhythm Kitchen, 257 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, London E17 9PT

    Telephone: +44 20 8520 6112


  • The best Black-owned restaurants in London

    Red Rooster, Hackney

    Best for: soul food with entertainment

    What to order: Sammy’s chicken ’n’ waffle and cornbread

    Tucked away underneath Shoreditch’s Curtain Hotel lies the trendy Harlem-founded Red Rooster. From the vibrantly busy wallpaper to the cornbread, fried chicken and ribs, this restaurant unapologetically celebrates the African American culture chef Marcus Samuelsson knows and loves. Music plays a huge role in making this place fun, including the popular Sunday Gospel Brunch, where the House Gospel Choir supplies live entertainment while you eat. Diners sing along and occasionally dance, making group visits all the more enjoyable. If it’s your birthday, you can even order a whole fried chicken with a sparkler on top.

    Address: Red Rooster, 45 Curtain Road, Hackney, London EC2A 3PT

    Telephone: +44 20 3146 4545


  • The best Black-owned restaurants in London

    Enish, Lewisham

    Best for: a group dinner

    What to order: fried rice with chicken

    This popular Nigerian favourite (the original Lewisham branch now has sister restaurants in Finchley Road, Croydon, Ilford and Brixton too) is always packed with multi-generation families celebrating. The authentic menu does not shy away from pepper so proceed with caution. While the service at traditional restaurants tends to be slow, this place has buttons placed on tables to enable you to call a waiter to avoid long waits. To social distance in style, Enish has recently added three igloos outside the restaurant, which are able to seat nine. On the drinks menu we love the sugary-sweet Nigerian Chapman, made from Fanta, Sprite, grenadine, bitters and citrus fruits.

    Address: Enish, 228 Lewisham High Street, Lewisham, London SE13 6JU

    Telephone: +44 20 8318 7527


  • The best Black-owned restaurants in London

    Ikoyi, St James’s

    Best for: unique dishes influenced by West African flavours

    What to order: plantain caramelised in ginger and kombu

    With its West African-influenced dishes, global flavours and a Michelin star under its belt, Ikoyi is one of the few London part-Black-owned restaurants on the fine-dining map. The restaurant uses seasonal ingredients – which means it’s always changing. The restaurant is currently à la carte due to the pandemic but they hope to reinstate their blind tasting menu, which consists of seven savoury courses and two puddings. You may be uncertain of Ikoyi’s blend of flavours but the chefs know what they’re doing, turning up dishes such as plantain caramelised in ginger and kombu.

    Address: Ikoyi, 1 St James’s Market, St James’s, London SW1Y 4AH

    Telephone: +44 20 3583 4660


  • The best Black-owned restaurants in London

    Little Baobab, various locations

    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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