At London’s Ikoyi, chef Jeremy Chan uses West African ingredients to make dishes that are wholly his own. “It’s the spice, it’s the heat, it’s the pungency,” says Chan. “We are paying respect to the ingredients.”
That approach has earned Ikoyi a Michelin star, with a menu that includes aged sirloin topped with caviar, moin moin-inspired dumplings, and their signature dish: a perfect 13-and-a-half-centimeter buttermilk plantain.
“What’s neat about this dish is the discipline and technique that’s being applied to this ingredient, almost moreso than any other ingredient in the kitchen,” says Chan. “Because we feel like there’s this absolute idea of what the perfect Ikoyi plantain is.”
Chefs start by cutting the plantain in half the long way, and slicing them further into the 13-and-a-half-centimeter shape. Once they are perfectly shaped, they get marinated and brushed with buttermilk, tossed in plantain flour, and stored until service.
“You’d be surprised that a lot of people do this and actually, it comes up pretty lumpy and clumpy, so the brushing beforehand is really important,” says Chan. “It sounds and looks really simple. But mine are always too clumpy.”
Once it’s time for service, the plantains get fried and receive a dusting of smoked kelp and plated.
“I think that’s why it symbolizes the kitchen because everything is done very deliberately and with a lot of intent,” says Chan.
Watch the full video to see how Chan and the staff at Ikoyi make other dishes on the menu including dishes with aged beef.