It is often said that food serves as a universal language when it comes to the human experience. With this in mind, Ilé invites you to an exclusive dinner that combines food, curated music, and personal storytelling to expose you to Nigerian cuisine in an unforgettable way.
“When you’re getting to know any culture, if you go to any country, the first thing you want to do is taste the food. Once you taste the food, you get a sense of who the people are,” shared Ilé Chef and co-founder Tolu ‘Eros’ Erogbogbo. “My goal has always been to put West African cuisine, and Nigerian cuisine, in particular, on the global food map and get people to become much more culturally aware, using food as a medium to communicate my culture.”
Chef Eros and David Olusoga met earlier this year, and immediately bonded when it came to their passion for food and West African upbringing. They knew that their background deserved to be showcased in a powerful manner, and thus Ilé was born.
“You’re coming in, you’re eating some food that is presented in a very modern way with spices and herbs that you may find a bit different to the regular palette. Then when you marry that with the music and food along with chef’s journey, I think people leave with having an experience versus just having a meal,” shared Ilé co-founder Olusoga.
As soon as you step through Ilé’s doors, you’re greeted with an aroma of spices and the sound of Nigerian music. Two tables with detailed arrangement decor and fresh flowers welcome you to have seat. Each dining experience sits 18 people in a warm and intimate setting. You won’t feel like you’re at an average restaurant, but rather at an exclusive supper club that makes you feel right at home, while simultaneously, transporting you overseas.
Whether you’re having Chef Eros’ Sweet Potato crisps topped with Truffle Taji Aioli, Moi Moi steamed bean cake accompanied with Lemon Ogi Mousse and freshly Smoked Fish, or his Pepper Soup with an aromatic broth―every dish is prepared omakase-style right before plating and presented beautifully with West African tunes. Each flavorful bite is perfectly paired with personal childhood anecdotes from Chef Eros that fill you with instant anemoia―providing one of the most authentic Nigerian experiences in Los Angeles.
Through this, Chef Eros and Olusoga want to remind people that they should not be intimidated by trying new cuisine and free themselves of any preconceived notions when it comes to food.
“Whilst Nigerian food could be spicy, it is possible to have it less spicy and still be enjoyable. It’s not as meat heavy as most people think, as we offer vegan, gluten free, vegetarian options for our meals,” points out Chef Eros. “More than anything, this is a dining experience that is about cultural awareness and communicating the way of life of my people and endurance.”
The ultimate goal of this immersive dinner is introduce people to Nigerian culture while also encouraging them to not shy away from trying something new―but to keep their heart, mind and palette open to the possibilities. We can say from our experience with Ilé, if you have not had West African food before, get ready for a newfound love and craving.
“I implore the public to just continue to being curious about cuisine. Sometimes we feel like we’ve come to the end of having everything out there, but I just encourage people to be continuously curious because there are so many cuisines, not only Nigerian, but Kenyan, other places… across the continent, across the POC diaspora,” expressed Olusoga. “There are a lot of great talent out there and hopefully this is just the start of many.”
Reservations for Ilé are required and are BYOB friendly. Dinners are held on Thursdays and Fridays with two times available: their four-course menu at 5:30P.M. and their 8-10 course menu at 7:30P.M. RSVP and book your Ilé experience here. Ilé is also open for private dining experiences at personal locations, which you can request here.
Location: Ilé, 1331 Cole Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028.
Price: Four courses, $120 per person. Nine courses, $250 per person.