How exactly did more than 100,000 Nigerians make London their home? The slave trade has plenty to answer for, of course. Then, once Nigeria became independent from Britain in 1960, the Igbo and Yoruba tribes were two of the first groups to arrive here for work and education, bringing with them a relentless drive and a vibrant, stylish culture.
Nigerians have made areas like Peckham, Dalston, Woolwich and Barking their own, creating communities devoted to religion, business, brilliant parties, a faux beef with Ghanaians and a love of jollof rice (Nigerians make it best). The moneyed set put the Russians to shame, popping bottles in West End clubs, many of which spin new Nigerian Afrobeats artists on rotation.
Did you know? Peckham is home to the largest Nigerian community in the UK, and it’s where you’ll spot plenty of ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’ slaying in their gele headwear and buba tops on special occasions.
Matilda’s favourite Nigerian spots in London
The fancy 805 Nigerian restaurant in Peckham serves classic dishes like suya (spicy grilled meats), jollof rice and spicy egusi soup.
Ikoyi London and Chuku’s Tapas Lounge are supperclubs led by young Nigerians keen to share traditional food with a twist.
Nigerian takeaway Aso Rock has fed Dalstonites since 1999. A meal of rice, stew and plantain costs less than a fiver.
Bust a move at the weekly Nigerian club night at the Steam Bar in the Hilton London Paddington hotel.
For homegrown foodstuffs, hit up Nigerian-owned shops John & Biola in Thamesmead and Ades in Woolwich.
The swanky Soboye boutique in Shoreditch is for trendsetters with cash to blow. Run by Nigerian-born fashion designer and stylist Samson Soboye, it stocks his own line alongside contemporary fashion labels from African designers.
The best of Nigerian London, according to you
‘I’m all about my naija food. Currently loving Chuku’s, a Nigerian tapas pop-up in a modern style. Highly recommend.’ Tosin O via www.timeout.com
‘Afrobeat Karaoke: take to the stage and perform your favourite Afrobeat song in front of a bustling crowd. It is always so much fun.’ Annette B via
‘Obalande Suya on Peckham High Street. Awesome, but you’ll be shitting fire for days after!’ John R via Facebook