African Kitchen: the first West African restaurant in Amsterdam – reviewed

Seems I’ve written about two firsts in as many weeks. Last time, I managed to review Batoni Khinkali (Amsterdam’s first Georgian restaurant) moments before it moved from Oost to Oud-Zuid. This week, I headed to Gein – at the end of metro line 54 – to test out Amsterdam’s first West African restaurant: African Kitchen. It had been recommended by some Nigerian colleagues of a friend of mine, who has also spent a lot of time in Nigeria. So, much like last week’s Georgian food, I don’t really know what I’m talking about when it comes to West African food – but I do know what tastes good (and spicy – which is what we were after).

We’d squeezed in dinner on a Tuesday evening so as to get our chilli fix before heading off on holiday. But strangely, the day of the week turned out to be a mistake. African Kitchen is closed on Mondays (don’t let Google fool you), and by Tuesday evening several deliveries had not yet arrived and various dishes had not been prepped. It seemed that everything we tried to order was off the menu (including the legendary pepper soup). But there’s nothing that a cold beer and a slight rearranging of expectations can’t fix, right?

African Kitchen Amsterdam - ribs
African Kitchen’s spicy calf ribs

Once we established what we actually could order, everything went swimmingly. Calf ribs had a satisfyingly chewy bite to them and came in a dark, spice-rich marinade that was augmented by the yellow chilli sauce they were served with. With a base of scotch bonnets (I think), it was fiendishly hot and not for the faint of heart.

A whole tilapia had been fried until the skin was completely crispy, and was served with sweet plantains and cooling salad. In case you feared things were waning in the spice department, the fish also came with more of the yellow chilli sauce as well as a red one that was mellower, sweeter and smokier.

African Kitchen Amsterdam - Nigerian food
Tilapia with plantains (foreground)

Finally, jollof rice with chicken was a warm, comforting dish that felt pleasingly nostalgic – like something you might’ve eaten in your childhood home. Albeit not my childhood home – sadly ’80s suburban England did not offer much in the way of West African comfort food…

Dinner, including plenty of cold beer to take the sting out of the chillies, came to just €21 each – although we did only eat one course. Still, it was so much food I doubt we could’ve fitted any more in. I’ll definitely be hopping back on the metro next time I need a serious spice fix – just not on a Tuesday.

African Kitchen Amsterdam - jollof rice and chicken
Jollof rice with chicken: West African comfort food

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African Kitchen


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