We headed down the Victoria line to meet Zoe Adjonyoh to talk big flavours, supper clubs and an unexpected German fan club.
So, Zoe's Ghana Kitchen started in your flat?
I started doing a supper club in my flat in Hackney five years ago, just for fun, and then I started appearing on blogs and getting emails from the press. It happened totally randomly and organically, mainly via word-of-mouth and very, very fast! The rest is history!
You describe ZGK as a 'food event', what do you mean by that?
ZGK has always been about introducing people to new and exciting food. It is not about being the best food in London; it is about the look and feel of the place, the friendly atmosphere, the music – we even have our own playlist on Spotify. Ghanaian culture is as much about those things as it is about tasty, unpretentious food. When they come together it really works!
Where do you source your ingredients?
Brixton market is amazing! It's all there really; I don't have to try too hard. When I lived in Hackney I used to go to Ridley Road market, there were loads of African stalls there. I've been pretty lucky!
What is shito?
Shito is half way between chutney and sambal. It is a Ghanaian hot chilli sauce made with ground crayfish and prawns and it's really tasty! I enjoy taking something traditional and putting a contemporary twist on it so I make my own shito and wrap it in filo parcels, creating spicy little bar snacks.
What other food do you like in Pop?
What's great about Pop is the variety and all the different types of food - the majority of the food here is new to Brixton, which is exciting. Koi Ramen Bar do consistently amazing ramen; the Made of Dough boys make great pizza; Vietbox do incredible street food with beautiful tempura. There is so much exciting food here that it is impossible to single one out.
Can you tell me a bit about your projects abroad?
We've got a bit of a following in Germany that started completely by accident. I was chilling out for a summer in Berlin and people were asking me what I did. When I started explaining to people what supper clubs were, they didn't understand!
So, we borrowed a friend's flat, borrowed tables and chairs from a bar (carrying them up four flights of stairs!) and every time I went out I invited people. Everyone who came loved it and one of the guests happened to be the editor of Tip Berlin (their equivalent of Time Out). She wrote an amazing write up and within days I had loads of people emailing asking for more!
What is your most popular dish?
Jollof Fried Chicken is really popular. Jollof is a traditional West African one-pot rice dish cooked in spiced tomato sauce with particular herbs and spices. I make my own version of that spice blend and use it to marinate chicken for 24 hours. I then rub it in corn flour batter, with buttermilk and nutmeg, before deep-frying. The result is chicken that is super tender but with a nice crunch. The lamb cutlets with spicy peanut sauce are also really popular, as are the okra tempura.
Do you import all of your beers?
Yes! All of our beers are from West Africa. Star Club is brewed in Nigeria and Ghana; it is a sweet pale lager. Klub is a fresh, crispy Ghanaian lager and Gulder is a dark beer with a pale ale vibe - it goes well with the rich goat curry. We could serve local Brixton beers but everyone else is doing that - we want to offer something different.