On Thursday September 14th 2017 Victor Okunowo invited me to attend a Private Menu Tasting in East London. The event was an opportunity for bloggers, influencers and food critics to sample some cuisine created by Victor in anticipation of his highly anticipated African Supperclub: ‘Ounjẹ‘ where participants will have the opportunity to experience an Eight Course Menu boasting the flavours and cultures of distinct West African & Nigerian street cuisine. At the private menu tasting event we had to taste the food that Chef Victor believes Nigerian cooking could be – but should be – stretching from the colours to flavours and delighting in meals from which infuse traditional Nigerian ingredients with modern gastronomical techniques. For example his use of Irú, fermented locust beans, as a garnish base was ingenious, not to mention how he utilised suya spice to recreate a classic beef dish and the creative use of onion was an absolute delight.
One of my absolute favourite dishes was the chicken breast made with negro pepper served with okra and corn, it was so succulent and spicy without being overpowering on the palate. I love chillis, to the detriment of my tastebuds but I realise that it not always necessary to use so much chilli that the flavours of the dish are overpowered, which is another thing that this experience reminded me. I loved the way in which akara, a nigerian bean cake was served, still full of the traditional essence with much less oil than its traditional form would take.
I absolutely adored the supermalt ice cream, as someone who is not a fan of desserts this was absolutely spot on. Sweet without being TOO sweet or too rich after 7 courses it would have been a shame if the dessert hadn’t complimented the experience and this dessert did. After 8 dishes for food one thing that occurred to me was that whilst I was full and satisfied, I did not feel heavy or stuffed and I think this boils down to the ingredients used and the techniques of cooking. By not using too much oil, salt and starchy bases (which Nigerian food is renowned for) this Ounjẹ experience will leave you feeling like you have had a true taste of Nigeria in a new and refreshing way.
Make sure you book your tickets to the October 8th event or add your name to the waiting list for the next event. It will be worth it. I promise.