Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and if you’ve got plans for dinner and drinks, you’ll want to make sure it’s a meal to remember. This year, treat your tastebuds to sumptuous flavours from all over Africa and the Caribbean, courtesy of the finest black-owned restaurants in London. This list of some of the best cooks and connoisseurs from across the diaspora is our Valentine’s Day gift to you.
Starting with a spot that couldn’t be more central, impress your date with a reservation at Ikoyi in Piccadilly Circus. Co-founded by Iré Hassan-Odukale, this gourmet choice creates dishes borrowing West African inspiration and absolutely spiced to perfection. Ikoyi is currently the only Michelin-starred restaurant inspired solely by Africa or the Caribbean, breaking the glass ceiling for black-owned restaurants in the UK.
Tracks & Records
Credit: Tracks & Records
Another central London choice is Tracks & Records, the Liverpool Street bar and restaurant owned by none other than the world’s fastest man himself. This is no Turtle Bay: these Jamaican dishes are the real deal (or Usain Bolt wouldn’t have put his name on it). Add a soundtrack of reggae, calypso and bashment – and incredible rum cocktails – and you’ve got a Valentine’s date night.
This cosy, family-owned Ethiopian restaurant in Camberwell will no doubt make you and your date feel at home. Share a huge dish of kategna and raise a toast with a glass of teje (Ethiopian honey wine). This place will become a new favourite restaurant.
Credit: Buster Mantis
A Black British café, restaurant, cocktail bar and events venue all in one – we love to see it. Deptford-based Buster Mantis is a family-run establishment with many faces, and named after the first prime minister of Jamaica, its proud Caribbean roots are clear. For Valentine’s Day, we recommend the rum cocktails and sizzling jerk chicken.
If you’re looking for a nice black-owned restaurant near your area, Nigerian restaurant Enish might just have you covered with their spots in Croydon, Finchley, Ilford and Lewisham. They pride themselves on delivering the richness of flavour that West Africa is known for. And if you really don’t want to go too far, they’re on Deliveroo and UberEats too.
If you’re south of the river, Caribe’ is an excellent choice for Caribbean cuisine. Recently settled in Pop Brixton, our partner Caribe’ will have you sitting comfortable too, with its cosy and casual vibe that’s perfect for a lunch date. The Caribe’ menu pays homage to the all islands with its menu, and you’ll fall in love with every dish. Get 10% off when you flash your Jamii card!