VALUE FOR MONEY: 9/10
VENUE & ATMOSPHERE: 9/10
NOTE: All meat is halal but alcohol is served on site.
As a girl who has grown up with many Nigerian friends from a young age, I have always had some awareness on some of the great foods available when it comes to Nigerian cuisine. Nonetheless, it took me a long time to realise that over half the Nigerian population is Muslim, and that even Christian Nigerians use halal meat for their dishes as it’s considered cleaner. The main dish I had awareness of in terms of Nigerian cuisine was Jollof rice with chicken (shout out Topsy) and I loved this dish, so much so that I remember trying to cook this with my Nigerian classmate DeDey in my first year of uni, which was only semi-sucessful.
Over the last couple of months I have seen a rise in Nigerian restaurants opening across London, and have always been tempted to try them but never really had the chance. When Onidodo invited us to sample their menu just before the start of Ramadan, we couldn’t refuse! There was literally nothing to go on as in all honesty, we hadn’t heard of Onidodo before, but this made our decision to visit all the more exciting.
Onidodo is located in the heart of North London on Turnpike Lane. When we entered the restaurant we were greeted warmly and shown to our table. The decor of this North London eatery was simple yet super clean and chic. The menu appealed to me straight away as there was lots to choose from. One of my close friends recommended I try Suya, so we ordered the suya beef fillet and the baked chicken wings to start, followed by the classic chicken with jollof rice and plantain, and then finally the suya chicken and waffles, which is far from your traditional Nigerian dish!
I was quite in awe at how quickly the starters arrived (<10 mins). It was presented beautifully and I couldn’t wait to dig in. The suya beef was grilled thin beef steak marinated in suya spice. For those who don’t know, the thinly sliced meat is marinated in various spices which include peanut cake, salt, vegetable oil and other flavourings, and then barbecued or grilled. The suya spice itself has a real kick and a slight tang, but we really enjoyed this and it was not too dissimilar to the spice levels we find in our own Indian food. The baked chicken wings may have sounded average on paper, but they were far from it. 4 deliciously juicy wings were served up and each was bursting with flavour and spice. I thoroughly enjoyed these and the chicken just flaked off the bone due to it being so tender. We actually had to stop ourselves from finishing our starters so that we had room for mains!
Again, the mains were here in record timing. I’m not sure I have ever seen a chicken leg as big as the one we were served alongside the jollof rice! The chicken itself was like the wings, tender and juicy, and was topped in a flavoursome tomato based sauce which accompanied the jollof rice perfectly. Jollof consists of rice, tomatoes, and tomato paste (which gives it its orange/red colour), onions, salt and spices such as nutmeg, ginger, garlic, cumin and chili peppers. I’ve tried it a few times but this was by far the best. It’s pleasantly surprising that a dish that looks relatively simple actually encompasses a massive depth of flavour. Now onto the winner which was the suya chicken and waffles. As the brother who served us explained, this dish was supposed to be on the menu for 1 week only, but after many customers flocked to Onidodo to request this temporary special, it became apparent that this needed to become a permanent fixture on the menu! This signature dish included soft and fluffy waffles topped with suya fried chicken breast fillets, fried egg, plantain and a drizzle of golden syrup. WHAT A COMBO. This blows your now seemingly average chicken and waffles out the water for sure. the plantain just WORKED in this dish and the sweetness of the golden syrup was enough to tie the flavours of the dish together without drowning out the punch of spice from the chicken. ShakerFries exclaimed this was the best chicken and waffles he had tried, which is quite the compliment as he isn’t always easily pleased!
I’ll let you in on a secret, it was even worth the trek from East to North London..which may not seem like a bold statement for you, but if you knew us, you would know that even food rarely lures us out of the comfort of East London!! The focus of Onidodo is to serve up traditional and authentic Nigerian cuisine with a modern twist, and that is something they execute perfectly. From the fast and very warm and humble service, to the exquisite flavours from the food, I couldn’t really fault a thing with our experience. It’s a shame that, particularly in the South Asian community, Muslims are fixated on burgers, steaks and Indian/Pakistani food, and can sometimes be afraid to try new cuisines. I really believe Onidodo has brought something new to the table in the way of halal dining and has the potential to showcase authentic Nigerian cuisine at it’s finest to the wider Muslim community. In fact, I would go as far as to say I haven’t felt this passionately about a new restaurant in a long time. If you gave it a chance I very much doubt you will be disappointed!