The best places to eat, drink, stay and visit according to Ghana's cultural pioneers
Accra according to...
Why were you interested in working in Ghana? I was in Kenya and in fact I got enthusiastic when someone sent me a copy of Time Out Accra. I looked at it and I saw a lot to do. Ghana is also a regional hub, and the Ghanaian people are fun and accomplished.Has it lived up to expectation? I was bowled over when I got here. The place has got a vibe and the people have style. There’s a great music scene that mixes cultures – African and European and US influences. There’s an aesthetic to the coastal towns too, such as Winneba, Elmina and Cape Coast, and inland the cultures of the Volta region are interesting. The landscapes of the north are beautiful too, plus the area is now more comfortable to visit.Where do you take people to eat? When people come from Holland, I like to visit an Ivorian restaurant that you have in Osu. I prefer the food from French West Africa – I like the style of food but cooked by the Ivorian chefs. There are couple of Ivorian restaurants so you are in touch with street life and with other parts of West Africa. I also like Coco Lounge, and Bread & Wine, but I like the street life the best.Where do you put up visiting friends? I like La Villa Boutique. It has a nice style and the pool is good. We tend to prefer the smaller and cheaper hotels, but if there’s a big delegation then we use the Mövenpick or the Holiday Inn. The small boutique hotels have the most charm such as the Pink Hostel, which is simple and clean.When you want to escape the city where do yo
Where do you take visitors to eat? I take them to three places. For local food then there’s a roadside place called Blue Gate that sells the best tilapia and banku in Accra. It comes with a great, spicy shito sauce. I like La Chaumiere too. It feels as though you are relaxing in someone’s living room. It’s good French food. And then Coco Lounge, Urban Grill and Santoku – three design-led top–end restaurants from the same group that are brilliant. Where would you put up your friends who come to stay? Next door at Olma Colonial Suites actually. They are really beautiful apartments in an old colonial house next to Burger & Relish. They are really reasonably priced too. Where do you escape the city? For a day trip I’d go to White Sands. It’s the best beach within an hour of Accra. It’s a five-star resort that is very relaxed. It’s on a lagoon, so you have the beach for that and the sea. They have a restaurant right on the beach so you can walk along and eat great seafood. There are fishermen on the beach too. For longer trips, then I want to go to São Tomé and Príncipe, it’s just over an hour’s flight and becoming more popular. Where do you shop? Koala is great for meat – they’ve used the same farmer for 15 years. And Maxmart 37 too is good for getting those things I miss like Hellman’s mayonnaise, as well as fruit and veg. What sights do you think visitors shouldn’t miss? My mum is coming soon and it’s good that I can show her it’s quite westernised and sa
Where do you take friends to eat? I bring them to my rooftop. It started out of my love of entertaining. The rooftop parties have become synonymous with entertaining. Eating out, Au Grand Ecuyer is one of my favourites. I was a regular there for years. I always ate outside at the same table. My favourite there is sole meuneiere. The traditional buffet at the Holiday Inn on a Sunday is excellent – a great way to try lots of traditional Ghanaian cuisine. Le Tandem is good for more gourmet food. Where would you take them for after dinner drinks? Republic has a nice buzz about it and I like their philosophy. They are using traditional ingredients in their food and their drinks. Where are your favourite places to stay? Definitely the Stone Lodge in Asutsuare. There’s a huge green lawn. It’s the size of a football pitch and it’s quiet and relaxing. Lou Moon Lodge in Axim has no TV which is great. It’s in a cove near the beach, so the water is very still. It’s a very artistic place. The Beige Village Golf Resort & Spa as well. I love hotels that have activities beyond a pool. This has tennis courts and life-size chess and scrabble board that is great fun. And a golf course as well. Where are your favourite places to visit around Ghana? The Waterfalls at Wli is a good attraction. There’s a 45 minute walk in and the waterfalls are beautiful. I have also just discovered the Enkofiehu Warrior Cave in the Kwahu Mountains in the Eastern Region. It’s where the Kwahu warrior
Where do you take visitors to eat? I'm lucky enough to be involved with four exciting restaurant concepts in Ghana. I take guests to dine at Urban Grill to experience our unique Afro-Latino concept there, and to Santoku for fine Japanese fusion food. Coco Lounge is great for day-time brasserie dining too. Where would you put up your friends who come to stay? Of course close friends and family stay at our home, where the architect Hubert du Givenchy recently designed our pool house, which is a self-contained guesthouse as well. In terms of hotels, Labadi Beach Hotel means guests can relax beside the sea or La Villa Boutique hotel is good for those wanting to feel in the centre of things in Osu. Where do you escape from the city? On the wonderful beaches of Cape Coast, Kakum and Elmina. Where do you shop? I'm a very eclectic shopper, buying from inspiring places all over the world for my La Maison stores. In Ghana, Vlisco is not to be missed for fabrics, and Wild Gecko is great for local craft. What sights do you think visitors shouldn’t miss? They should tour the markets and enjoy the crazy, weekly carnival that is Labadi Beach! What do you miss about Ghana when you travel? My home, which is filled with Ghanaian art that I’ve collected over two decades. What Ghanaian music is on your playlist? Producer Panji Anoff is always working on amazing mixes, one of which he is launching at the Beyond exhibition at La Maison in October 2015. What souvenirs do you
What’s the best meal you’ve had recently? I had a lovely meal at Burger and Relish recently. It was a yummy variety of burgers, fries and salad. The milkshakes were great too! Also Coco Lounge’s Pepper Peperoni pizza is the best and the ambience of their restaurant is really impressive. Buka in the Osu R E area is a long time favorite with delicious meals, consisting of Ghanaian and other West African dishes. Where do you go to find inspiration? My inspiration comes from literally everywhere and everything. Watching old movies, people watching at the mall or attending a social function, shopping at the local market, taking a trip on a weekend outside the city of Accra, studying various cultures within our amazing continent, Africa, as well as beyond. These are all great sources of inspiration when brainstorming and creating a mood board for a collection. Which sights do you recommend to friends? I love taking visiting friends and family to Alliance Francaise for live performances including concerts and plays. The Loom Gallery in Adabraka for a fantastic array of West African art. The Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park is good for an overview of Ghanaian history. The Arts Centre and Makola Market for authentic souvenirs and fabrics. Also DAAR Living supply African interior design, such as colourful candles, bowls and furniture. In the evenings, dinner at a buzzing restaurant with great atmosphere, is a lovely way to end the day...Santoku is always a fun treat. Where do
He's collaborated with the likes of former Blur frontman, Damon Albarn (for his Rocket Juice & the Moon project) and Ghanaian highlife legend Ebo Taylor - rapper M.anifest talks to Time Out about his work, his influences and why he's moved back to Accra...Why did you move back to Accra?It was never the plan to be away permanently. The plan was a simple one actually: get a college education and then return. As fate would have it I got caught up and carried away in my artistic journey. It's been a good ride in Minneapolis.How much influence has US culture had on your music?I would be a fool to deny that my decade-long experience in America hasn't had an effect on me. Being far from home comes with a lot of longing, nostalgia, retrospection and perspective on home and belonging. You have the choice of succumbing to another man's identity in a bid to be more accepted or to learn more about yourself and be stronger in who you are. I believe I chose the latter.Have you always wanted to be a rapper?I had a love for poetry and music at an early age. I went from singing along to my favorite hip-hop records to quietly penning my own rhymes. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could build a career out of it. Then hip-hop was localized through hiplife in Ghana and the gap closed. It took me till 2005 to lose my fear and embrace my calling. Who are your biggest musical influences?My biggest influences musically are mostly from childhood when I was, for a lack of a better word, most i