When this latest lockdown hit, Little Lagos – one of the only places in Sydney that serves Nigerian food – closed. And many feared it would be for good. But now, owner-chef Ade Adeniyi has confirmed that the beloved bar and bistro is back – though it’s takeaway-only, for now.
Ordering jollof – the East African staple of long-grain basmati rice cooked in tomato, capsicum, habanero chillies and spices – is a must. And it’s the perfect accompaniment to any of the aromatic stews on the rest of the takeaway menu: options include goat, chicken and a special mix of beef shin, tripe and skin. Snacky sides include empanada-like spiced-beef parcels and savoury-sweet fried plantains. Be sure to add a bottle of East African lager Tusker to your order – it’s the perfect sidekick to the punchy flavours on the food menu.
Takeaway is available Friday through Sunday, from 5pm until 9pm. You can pre-order for pick-up on the restaurant’s website or order delivery through Uber Eats.
Ade Adeniyi has been an advocate for Nigerian food in Sydney for a while, operating pop-ups – most notably at Earl’s Juke Joint. Aside from Adeniyi, there are only a couple of others making Nigerian food – mainly home chefs operating backyard takeaway businesses. Nigerian food such as jollof rice does occasionally crop up on the menu in African restaurants, but apart from these little cameos, Little Lagos is one of the only places dedicated to Nigerian cuisine in this city.
The 58-seat diner is bustling with people and many of the dishes Adeniyi served during the pop-up, such as jollof rice cooked in a base of tomato, onion and capsicum; goat stew; and Nigerian meat pie, are available. There’s also ofada stew, a traditional, spicy west Nigerian dish featuring habanero (a hot variety of chilli pepper), locust beans, egg, fish and meat.
The space is warmly hued, painted an earthy shade of red with colourful, patterned curtains and an eggplant-coloured banquette seating. There are a couple stools at the front around a tiny bar, and Little Lagos is working on a drinks list featuring a mix of local Australian wines and brews from Africa to accompany the traditional West African dishes. Adeniyi says he wants his restaurant to capture that feeling of West Africa, to be vibrant and noisy and to create a sense of community.