Part of the beauty of the London dining scene is that there is a plethora of choice. Like the citizens of this city, there is huge diversity. However, the darker side of the city’s culinary dynamism is that it is relentlessly Darwinian: if you don’t get it right, you will fail. The statistics bear this out: some 50% of central London restaurants shut within a year of opening. I fear Ikoyi may be one of them. Our cheery server informed us that the place is ‘packed’ in the evening, but any restaurant that only manages four covers (us and one other table) at a mid-week lunchtime, must surely begin to question its raison d’etre. The concept behind Ikoyi is an interesting one, namely ‘high-end West African’ dining (or, a modern interpretation of Jollof-style cooking). I couldn’t help but noticing several ironies: the restaurant looked and felt distinctly international rather than explicitly African, while the menu included caviar (from North Devon) and wagyu beef – natural staples, of course, for the average Nigerian. The food we consumed was well-intentioned, but even for someone who likes spice in one’s dishes, the emphasis on ‘heat’ seemed to crowd everything else out. A cow foot, dark beer and panja pepper snack was, I sense, more about ‘shock value’ than anything else: who has ever tried cow’s foot? Frankly, the croquette in which said foot was served could have contained any meat. The wagyu was highly impressive at least, and the meat undoubtedly enhanced by the nut and spice powder into which one could dip the meat. The chefs (who, incidentally, all appeared to be European) clearly seemed to know what they are doing with this dish, even if this could not be said about all of the ones we sampled (the plantain was instantly forgettable). If you’re curious, best go soon to check Ikoyi out; it may not be around for too long.