From Kentish Town to St James

Saturday, April 16th , 2022

ikoyi 5472 dining room in daylight-crop-v2.JPG  

Anima e Cuore is a quirky neighbourhood Italian restaurant in Kentish Town. The setting is whatever is below basic, the room being tucked away being a deli counter and with battered tables and chairs. The menu appears on a blackboard and follows the usual Italian pattern, with dishes drawn from across Italy. There were some nice dishes and the pricing was moderate, though it was a very slow meal and the service was well-meaning but a little confused at times. Still, if you are in the area it is worth considering.

Ikoyi (pictured) is an unusual fine dining restaurant, serving food that is not quite west African but is heavily influenced by the cuisine of west Africa. This is my first visit since soon after it opened, since when it has gained not one but two Michelin stars. I was a little sceptical about this rapid advancement but I have to say that the food had developed significantly since my previous meal. Maybe a second star is debatable, but it is certainly in strong one star territory. What is without doubt is the high quality of ingredients, with a top caviar supplier, very large turbot and scallop and plenty of luxury touches, which is more than can be said for many of London’s high end (and high priced) restaurants these days. Cooking technique was strong and there were some excellent dishes, albeit at a high price that is not helped by a rapacious wine list featuring some rather oddly chosen wines.