New restaurant brings the taste of Nigeria to Old City
A new Nigerian restaurant has brought the flavors of the West African nation to Old City.
Why it matters: Southwest and West Philly are home to most of the city's African restaurants, but Eatwell African Restaurant & Lounge aims to bring African food to this historic enclave in the city.
State of play: The brother-sister duo Stephen Oyelakin and chef Aisha Wahab opened their restaurant in late July.
- The two-level, 65-seat restaurant is the pair's first in Philly after opening a Nigerian eatery in Irvington, New Jersey, in 2015.
- Both Wahab and Oyelakin immigrated to the U.S. in the mid-1990s.
Details: Wahab is cooking up recipes she learned working in her family's restaurant in Nigeria.
- The menu includes an assortment of stews — like efo-elegusi (spinach and ground melon seed), ogbono, and okra — which you can order with meat or fish.
- You'll also find other Nigerian staples, including jollof rice and fried rice, as well as starters like asun (grilled goat meat) and peppered snails.
Plus: African snacks, like meat pie, scotch egg and chin-chin.
I recently stopped by the restaurant to get my first taste of Nigerian food.
What I ordered: Gbegiri and ewedu stew, which is blended black eyed peas with jute leaves in red sauce, with meat along with iyan or pounded yam. ($25)
- The iyan was sticky, yummy goodness and reminded me of mashed potatoes.
- The sauce was satisfyingly spicy and flavorful, which paired well with the meat.
Of note: The restaurant encourages you to eat with your hands.
- Swallows, dough made with pounded yam and yam flour, are used to sop up stews. Yes, you're supposed to swallow them whole.
If you go: 106 Chestnut St.
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 9pm; Friday and Saturday, noon to 11pm; Sunday, 1-7pm.
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