By Angela Green
This Autumn, Aji Akokomi, Owner of fine dining West African restaurant Akoko in Fitzrovia, is set to open Akara in the heart of Borough Yards. Bearing the name of the black-eye bean fritter with roots in West Africa, which will feature on the menu, the 40 cover restaurant will champion traditional flavours of the region in a stylish and relaxed setting.
The a la carte menu will boast a variety of Akaras, a crispy savoury fritter made from black eye beans, all bursting with different fillings such as Carabinero Prawns and Vatapa, a sauce made with bread, shrimp and coconut milk (£10), Hand dived Scallops (£8), Ox Cheeks (£8) and Chanterelle Mushroom Patê (£6). While the Akaras make for delicious sharing dishes, other starters are available and include Sinasir (Rice pancake), with Bone Marrow and Yaji (£8); and Tatale (Plantain pancake), served with a Senegalese hot sauce (£6).
The main dishes offer a selection of barbequed meat, fish and vegetable plates such as Labu Aged Beef (£38), Dibi Lamb (£26), Aubergine dressed with Chilli Oil (£14) and Nokoss Sea Bream (£24). These can be enjoyed with sides of Akara’s signature rice dish Edesi Isip (£18) which originates from South East Nigeria, or a light Black Eye Bean, Cucumber and Lime Salad (£7). For those with a sweet tooth, the distinctive dessert options will see ice cream flavours such as Caramelised Onion & Honey (£6), Rice & Peanut (£6), alongside Tamarind Date Cake (£8) and Bofrot (£7), a Ghanaian doughnut.
The eclectic cocktail menu will feature Akoko favourites like the Cacao & Dates Negroni (£11), as well as new creations like Smoked Plantain Caipirinha (£11), alongside a selection of non-alcoholic beverages. The thoughtfully curated wine list is designed to complement the flavours of the dishes, showcasing lesser-known grape varieties from around the world. The concise list will feature 30 bottles, with 10 available by the glass, priced between £31- £80 and £5.50 – £12 respectively.
London based design studio, A-nrd, have created a contemporary space that harmonises with the building’s original features, maintaining the exposed brick walls. Upon entering, the historical archways will provide a key focal point for guests. The standalone six-seater bar, nestled within one of the arches, boasts a distinctive carved wood façade, juxtaposed with a bespoke natural stone countertop. The minimalist back bar display will be crafted from light oak and illuminated with soft lighting. In the dining room, upholstered grey leather banquette seating and bespoke oak chairs will be paired with white limestone tables. Towards the rear of Akara, walls will be softened with warm grey tones, and an open kitchen allows guests to sit at the countertop chairs while watching the chefs in action.
Akara’s mezzanine level offers a private dining room with an oak table top and contrasting dark wood inlay. Seating 12 guests, the intimate space gives an ideal area for private celebrations and gatherings.
Aji, owner of Akara comments, “The Akara concept has been a labour of love for quite some time, and we’ve always envisioned it here in Borough. We’re thrilled to bring Akara to this exceptional location, where the restaurant will serve as a vibrant celebration of the unique dishes, ingredients, and techniques that excite and inspire us.”