Enmore is home to many must-try hole-in-the-wall eateries—Little Lagos is the latest to join the crew.
Serving beautiful, fragrant, hearty, authentic Nigerian food—Little Lagos started life as a pop-up concept, appearing at markets and a residency at Earl’s Juke Joint. And somehow, in the throes of 2020, it found a permanent home in the form of a vibing bar and bistro on Enmore Road.
Little Lagos owner Adetokunboh Adeniyi tells us he wanted his restaurant to remind West Africans living here in Sydney of home, especially in these times, when they’re not sure when they’ll be able to travel to see their families next.
He also wanted it to be a spot for Sydneysiders to experience real Nigerian hospitality, culture and flavours.
“The space is designed to evoke memories of home with the food, drinks, decor, music and vibe,” Adeniyi says. “Most of our customers are non-Africans who want to experience the cuisine, culture and community of Lagos.”
At the 58-seat bistro the walls are painted a warm ochre red and a mural of Fela Kuti, an iconic West African activist and musician, welcomes you at the door. The menu is made up of traditional recipes passed on from generation to generation. Jollof rice, a rich combination of long grain basmati rice, cooked in a spicy tomato and pepper sauce with traditional Nigerian spices, is the most loved dish on the menu (it’s suitable for vegans and vegetarians too).
“We use traditional recipes to bring out the flavour and taste. Most of the ingredients we use are also from back home, which are thankfully available from some special groceries here in Sydney," Adeniyi adds.
"Fresh produce, such as yams or plantains, are served seasonally. If the bistro runs out of the products, they will simply be taken off the menu until they are available again”.
When asked what he would recommend to someone trying Nigerian food for the first time, Adeniyi tells us that the Ewa Agonyi (black eye beans) with plantains or the Asaro (yam porridge) are both a must.
But we suspect you'll want to try a bit of everything at Little Lagos. The Nigerian meat pie is light and slightly flaky and stuffed with well-seasoned ground beef, potatoes and carrots. And then there are stews. Goat is the hero, but you can also try chicken and mixed beef, each served with a side of fried plantains to mop up your sauce. And while these stews are much more thick and hearty than a European-style stew—they’re cooked in a dense base of tomato, capsicum and habanero sauce—Adeniyi refuses to classify them as a curry.
Spice fiends will love the super hot pepper soup with beef parts (skin, meat and tripe), but when it comes to sweet—you need to try Little Lagos’ spongey, plus-size Nigerian doughnuts or Puff-Puffs, as they're called in Nigeria. Deep-fried and dusted in sugar, they're a little different to regular Puff-Puffs, mostly due to the fact that they're so big.
At the moment, Little Lagos is offering dine in as well as take away (order here).
Image credit: Little Lagos