We know very little about the digestive system and for the sake of our innocence, we plan on keeping it that way. We do however have a baseline understanding of how eating works and we’re not just saying that for job security. Your teeth bite, your jaw muscles do some snazzy gymnastics to get you chewing, and then our personal highlight kicks in. Your jolly little mouth troopers—official title: Taste Receptor Cells, thank you GCSE biology—get involved and that’s the moment words like salty, spicy, and sweet enter the equation. What does any of this have to do with a small Nigerian restaurant in Tottenham? Well, Chuku’s is a place that’s going to take your taste buds on a wild ride.
An upbeat dining room exclusively painted a cheerful pink, this restaurant has the ability to create loud and proud unforgettable flavours and make it look oh-so easy. Seriously, just watch people’s reactions as a bite of beef ayamase turns into a certified grin. Sometimes this sensory party comes in the comforting form of the hearty pumpkin and peanut paste that comes on top of their fluffy rice pancakes. Other times, it’s the full-wallop hit of the scotch bonnet in their tangy chicken ata din din. And then, there’s the taste trip that is their salty, savoury, nutty chicken wings being lathered in a sticky salted caramel sauce. And the best part is that these are flavours for everyone; the meat is halal, the gluten-free options are endless, and all of their small plates are vegan. They’re even providing a valiant service for anyone who is hungover or experiencing a brutal dose of the Sunday Scaries with their plantain waffle weekend brunches.
The thing is, no matter whether you’re rocking up here solo on a Sunday morning or filling up their large back table with all your hungry friends for a casual birthday dinner, Chuku’s will make you feel at home. In fact, as soon as you walk in through that pink door, it makes total sense that this is the brainchild of two siblings. The banter’s flying, the playlist is as strong as the Ginger My Swagger cocktails, and locals are full-body embracing the host as they enter. From £40 vegan date nights to catch-ups involving a whole lot of suya rub and £5 glasses of wine, this instant Tottenham classic will work for any occasion. Even if that occasion is just that you and your taste receptor cells are in need of some big buzzing flavours.
Chuku’s understands a little something that we like to call Big Bean Energy. This bean moi moi is the ultimate dinner entrance snack thanks to the zing of the red peppers.
Sinasir & Miyan Taushe
We rarely order doubles of anything. Please get your best violins out as we tell you that we have to eat out at London restaurants all the time and we only have so much stomach space. It’s a hard life, we know. But the doubles rule was broken for this dish. The pumpkin and peanut stew on top of this fluffy rice pancake has the comfort factor of David Attenborough’s voice. Not one for sharing, it’s just too good.
The cost of Chuku’s egusi bowl, £9.75. The satisfaction of dragging a chewy yam dumpling through three quality sauces and making a big old mess, priceless. The green sauce involves spinach, coriander, and fennel and is one for any salt heads out there. The tomato sauce is a touch sweet with just enough red bell pepper to keep things interesting. And the orange egusi is our absolute favourite of the three. Hot, sweet, super addictive, it’s the one you’re going to want to hog.
Honey, prawns, and peanuts get on swell. Chuku’s traditional suya rub is spicy, nutty, and highly addictive.
This is the only dish at Chuku’s where the price to portion size feels a little steep. Five meatballs for just under a tenner is a big ask. However, if like us you are someone who laughs in the face of your banking apps overdraft notifications, then order it. Another prime example of the addictive nature of Chuku’s suya rub and the grilled meatballs are perfectly tender.
Caramel Kuli Kuli Chicken
Dipping little chicken wings in a light salted caramel and rolling them in crunchy peanuts is the kind of thing that makes you a poultry legend in our books. If you’re here for meat, this is a must-order.
The green pepper sauce that comes with this rich pulled beef will get the old tear ducts working that’s for sure. Herby goodness with a spicy aftertaste, it’s a real winner. Especially for under a tenner.
Goodbye wheat waffles, you have served us well. We now exclusively worship at the altar of the plantain waffle. Yes, we love the chewy texture but there is something magical about the plantain flavour that offsets the sweetness of the maple syrup to make this brunch and / or dessert dish totally refreshing. Anything that enables us to mainline more sugar is a yes from us. Also, it’s completely vegan and gluten-free.