Chef William JM Chilila, a semi-finalist on last year’s MasterChef: The Professionals, is set to open Akoko in London’s Fitzrovia in October.
Chilila previously worked as a senior sous chef at D&D London’s Orrery restaurant in London’s Marylebone, and as a demi chef de partie at the Montagu Kitchen at the Hyatt Regency London The Churchill hotel.
Akoko means ‘time’ and also ‘the first’ in Yoruba, a language spoken in West Africa.
The restaurant on Berners Street will focus on West African cuisine with dishes such as smoked jollof rice and grilled aged beef suya with caramelised onion and confit tomato, as well as barbecued baby aubergine mafe. The wine list will be curated by new consultancy Spencer & Smelskaya.
Designed by René Dekker Design, the walls will be covered in a terracotta clay and art by Niyi Olagunju, while ceramics have been designed by artists such as Andile Dyalvane, Kat Wheeler Ceramics, Jun Rhee and 1256 Degrees North.
Former operators at the Berners Street site include Latium restaurant and, most recently, Il Sud, which was open for less than a year.