The owners of Chuku’s — described as London’s first Nigerian tapas restaurant — have announced a five-week residency at the Nest in Hackney. The pop-up, founded by siblings Emeka and Ifeyinwa Frederick, will be open every Thursday to Sunday from Thursday 9 August to Sunday 9 September. The brother-sister duo expect the summer/autumn pop-up to be their last, as they hope to open a first permanent site in the city.
“The reason we say tapas,” Ifeyinwa said, is “because we currently just do sharing plates but it’s also because the culture we create in the restaurant is more akin to a tapas bar than a regular restaurant with a strong emphasis on the social elements of dining and the chilled atmosphere of the bars that my brother fell in love with when living in Spain.”
Moreover, since food is considered “just one element of the experience,” Emeka explains the meaning of the Chuku slogan, ‘chop, chat, chill’: “Chop is Nigerian pidgin for eat and shows that Nigerian food is at the heart of what we do. Chat is for the conversations our restaurant fosters as we embrace the social dining culture of our Nigerian heritage. And chill is for our relaxed atmosphere.”
Guests will be invited to share a “taste of Lagos in the heart of London...against a backdrop of Nigerian afrobeats.” The duo add that while all dishes are centred on authentic Nigerian flavours, “they have put a special twist” on some, including the “jollof quinoa” — based on the traditional West African jollof rice.
The brand, which originally launched in 2016, has earned Ifeyinwa a place on Forbes’ and Elle’s female founders lists. Chuku’s arrival follows other recent West African cuisine-focused successes — namely Ikoyi, a West African-inspired fine-dining restaurant in St James’s and Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, which opened an “indefinite pop-up” in London Fields following a longtime stint in Brixton.
Stay tuned for more details.