Test Driving Chishuru - Adejoké Bakare's West African restaurant shines in Fitzrovia

Upstairs at Chishuru

What can you tell us about Chishuru?

Chishuru comes from chef Adejoké Bakare and it's all about serving traditional West African cuisine with modern touches. 

It's taken a few steps for her to make it to this Fitzrovia restaurant. Having started out hosting supperclubs, Joké was the "amateur" winner of the Brixton Kitchen competition which won her a standalone restaurant in Brixton Village. It launched there in late 2020 and she quickly proved just why she was the winner, as rave reviews started to pour in, with Jay Rayner saying "It deserves to be shown some serious love."

This is what you're looking for on Great Titchfield Street

And now it's moved to Fitzrovia?

After a sooner-than-expected end to the Brixton restaurant, Bakare spent the intervening time running a pop-up until this restaurant was completed. For Chishuru 2.0, she's teamed up with Matt Paice (founder of Killer Tomato) and it really feels like she's found a proper home. You'll find it just a few minutes walk from Oxford Circus.

It's a warm-hued two-floored restaurant with an open kitchen right at the back of the ground floor and lots more room downstairs. The best seats (we think) are either a small four-seater booth by the kitchen upstairs or this larger hideaway downstairs. 

roomThis cosy little table/cubbyhole downstairs looks like one of the best available. And if you're a celeb thinking of coming here, this is the table for you. 

Is there a bar?

There isn't, but you'll definitely want to be taking a good look at the drinks list here (we'll get to that in a bit). If you're meeting for a drink before or after, good options nearby are a 28:50 outpost for wine, and it's a short walk to either The Wigmore or Artesian bar which are often our top recommendations in this area. 

So what's on the menu?

It's a set menu affair at Chishuru, £35 for three courses at lunch and £65 for a larger dinner offering. We tried the latter and while it's still essentially three courses, the first tranche involves a selection of three dishes that come out closely together. Vegetarian versions of the below are available too, but they do request that you ideally let them know if any of you will be going the vegetarian route in advance.

roomFermented rice cake with white crab meat, pumpkin & sorrel purée - we've had a fair few crab dishes of late and this is firmly at the top. 

roomBean cake, chicken liver, duck egg sauce, tomato crisp - a phenomenal mix of flavours.

roomThe three starters together, including the third, a wonderful pepper soup broth with eko, meat floss, kale and corn tofu. 

Each of these on their own trumpeted the talent in the kitchen.  Our only very minor quibble at this point is that, ideally, we'd have wanted all of these to be served individually as opposed to together, which would really improve the early pacing. It was very early days in the new location though, so they may well be building to that.  

Then it's onto the main event. Here, you have a choice between three courses - meat fish or vegetable. We went with the former two, while the vegetable option was their own take on Nigerian egusi - grilled hispi cabbage stuffed with caramelised shallots, utazi leaf, wild watermelon seed sauce.

As for the other two options: 

roomGuineafowl with taro root, ehuru & uziza sauce - peppery and earthy and a total delight.

roomHake fillet with spiced black sauce, wilted chard - the fish in this dish changes regularly, and was a beautifully flakey hake on our visit.

roomAs well as house pickles, each main comes with a generous portion of rice and a beautifully caramelised plantain. 

And then there's dessert which happily is just one choice so you can all enjoy the same thing.

roomRice ice cream, baobab, ginger cream, ehuru oat crumble - there's a texture to all this that elevates the dish well beyond mere ice cream. I perfectly light way to finish up.

And what about drink?

You'll definitely want to start with one of the cocktails. There's a short but inspired list on offer here and we had to try the martini that they'd limited to "two per guest" (see below). For the wine list, there's an exclusive focus on small French producers, with prices starting at around the £44 mark.  

roomTwo of the cocktails, which we'd highly recommend - Spiced Okra Martini - Ogogoro, vodka, brine, chilli (£14) and the Pineapple Smash - White rum, spiced rum, coconut syrup, pineapple slush (£12.50)

Overall thoughts? 

We'll admit that we never managed to visit the original Chishuru. But now we know just how much we missed out on as this is an extremely assured Central London debut. Joké's modern approach to West African cuisine gets a real chance to shine in her new location, adding something quite unique to London's food landscape. All in all this was a fantastic meal - it's easily one of the top new openings of the year. 


More about Chishuru

Where is it? 3 Great Titchfield St., London W1W 8AX

How to book: Book online

Find out moreVisit their website or follow them on Instagram @chishuru.

Hot Dinners ate as guests of Chishuru. Prices are correct at the time of writing.


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