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A Culinary Journey of Nigerian Food: A Night at ILÉ with the Billionaire Chef, Tolu Eros

Are you craving a dining experience unlike any other? Look no further than ILÉ (pronounced ee-lay), a private dining room showcasing Nigerian food. I recently discovered this hidden gem tucked away in Hollywood and was blown away by the culinary experience. This unforgettable journey transports you to the heart of West Africa through a private multi-course dinner. Whether you’re a seasoned lover of West African food or like me, simply a curious foodie seeking a unique adventure, ILÉ is a must-visit.

Experience West Africa Without Leaving LA

More than a private dining room; ILÉ is an African culinary art space created by the acclaimed Billionaire Chef Tolu “Eros” Erogbogbo. This innovative concept celebrates the rich tapestry of African culture, using food as a powerful medium of communication. With a strong foundation in West African food, ILÉ aims to introduce Angelenos to the vibrant flavors and traditions of the continent, offering a truly immersive cultural journey.

An image of Chef Eros.
ILÉ is an African culinary art space created by the acclaimed Billionaire Chef Tolu “Eros” Erogbogbo. (Photo Credit: Nkechi Ahaiwe)

An Intimate Cultural Immersion

Let me start by saying this was my first time trying Nigerian food, and I could not have asked for a better introduction. ILE means ‘Home’, and that is exactly how you feel when you walk in. From the rich dark wooden hues and lush greenery, there is a sense of comfort that the home-like space provides. With seating available for only a limited amount of guests, ILÉ’s intimate setting fosters a sense of community, allowing guests to connect with each other and the Chef. Between courses, we held lively discussions about African culture, traditions, and shared a truly immersive experience that transcended mere dining.

An image of the intimate dining table.
ILÉ’s intimate setting fosters a sense of community.

Chef Eros: Mastermind & Storyteller

Each course began with a soothing African song, before Chef Eros took center stage. His infectious passion and enthusiasm were captivating as he wove a narrative around each dish, explaining its cultural significance and the inspiration behind its creation. This storytelling element added a beautiful layer of depth to the dining experience, allowing us to connect with the food on a deeper level.

A Feast for the Eyes & The Taste Buds

And then there was the food! Described by Chef Eros as “Authentic West African food with a modern twist,” we embarked on an explosion of flavors that tantalized our taste buds. We started with a welcome beverage and delicious Ikorodu Bread course of Smoked Agege, Ewa Hummus, and Agoyin Chutney. We then moved on to one of my favorite dishes, the zesty Benin City Salad course paired with a Calabar Soup made with Goat Meat, Yam, Efferin Oil, and Basil. Since I’m a pescatarian, I swapped out the Goat Meat for mouthwatering Mussels, which were outstanding.

An image of two items from ILÉ, the Benin City Salad on the left and Calabar Soup on the right.
We then moved on to one of my favorite dishes, the zesty Benin City Salad course paired with a Calabar Soup. (Photo Credit: Nkechi Ahaiwe)

The Ring Road Entrée #1 was next, and consisted of Snails with an array of veggies and fruits. The Traveler Entrée #2 with Smoked Fish and Roasted Plantains followed. This dish was packed with bold flavors and textures. And then it was time for the pièce de resistance, the main course, the Omo Ota. The star of the show was made with Jollof Rice, a favorite dish in the world of Nigerian food, with Plantain notes and paired with NY Steak and Japanese Wagyu (I swapped the meat for Fish). It was chocked-full of robust spices and seasonings, and was absolutely delicious!

An image of the Jollof Rice and steak on the left with the fish on the right, a a staple of West African food.
The star of the show was made with Jollof Rice, paired with NY Steak and Japanese Wagyu and Fish for me. (Photo Credit: Nkechi Ahaiwe)

But just when I thought this experience couldn’t get any better, it was time for dessert. And let me tell you, dessert elevated this experience to a new level. A tree with a bowl of creamy Iced Custard and Bread Pudding was placed in front of each person. A clear ball with Mixed Berries soaked in Hibiscus hung from a branch of each of our trees. After Chef Eros explained the meaning behind the course, we were instructed to grab our clear balls and pour the Mixed Berries on the Custard and Bread Pudding. All I can say is WOW. Dessert was simply out of this world.

An image of the West African food at ILÉ.
Dessert was simply out of this world. (Photo Credit: Nkechi Ahaiwe)

Ready to Book Your Culinary Journey?

ILÉ offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore a rich and vibrant culture through the delicious lens of West African food. Currently, they’re offering both six-course and three-course family-style dining experiences, allowing you to choose the adventure that best suits your appetite. So, ditch the ordinary and book your reservation for a culinary voyage to Africa! Sundays – Wednesdays (Available for private bookings), Thursdays and Saturdays (Available for family-style dinner), 6 and 8:30 pm seatings, and Fridays (Available for chef-tasting dinner), 5 and 8:30 pm; 1312 Cole Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

An image of the African artwork and decor at ILÉ, a private dining room serving West African food.
ILÉ offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore a rich and vibrant culture through the delicious lens of West African food.

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