Photos: Amit Lennon
Adejoké (Joké) Bakare’s desire to work in food harked back to her university years as a student in Nigeria, where she studied biology and ran a fish & chip cart in her spare time. Having moved to the UK with her family 20 years ago, she worked for a property management company in north London before starting a supper club highlighting the lesser-known cuisines of the West African region, made with modern techniques.
Joké opened Chishuru in Brixton in September 2020 as a three month popup, after winning a Brixton Village competition. When Jay Rayner from the Observer came in and gave the restaurant a rave review, the popup became permanent. The Brixton site closed in October 2022 and Joké then operated popups at Quality Wines, Carousel, 180 The Strand and the Globe Tavern in Borough Market, before moving Chishuru to its permanent new home in Fitzrovia in September 2023.
Joké was named one of Code's '100 Most Influential Women in Hospitality' in 2022, was shortlisted as 'Innovator of the Year' at the GQ Food & Drink Awards 2022 and was shortlisted as 'Chef to Watch' in the National Restaurant Awards 2023.
Matt Paice worked in television before becoming a chef by accident. He started a street food business which he later turned into two casual dining restaurants in west London. After these closed, he worked as operations director of three wine-led Italian restaurants in the City of London. He became Joké's business partner in June 2021, and is responsible for all front of house operations at Chishuru. He has two wine qualifications and will happily talk to you about unacylated anthocyanins in red wine, if asked.
DESIGN & BUILD
Joké worked closely with interior designer & project manager Sasha Filskow to showcase authentic materials including rough plastered walls, wood grains and pigmented cement. Soft furnishings have been sourced from British-Nigerian designer Eva Sonaike to reflect the visceral and authentic roots of the Chishuru menu. Through strong graphics, rich colours and carefully curated lighting, including a commissioned light feature from South African designer Mash.T, alongside table tops and stonework custom-made in North Africa, create a sense of home.
Our front of house build was overseen by Andy and Matt at Thinking Space who we are very happy to recommend highly.