Akwasi Brenya-Mensa serves up a taste of home
The London-based Soho House member reveals the influences behind his Pan-African restaurant, Tatale
Tuesday 18 April 2023 By Soho House Directed by Aaron Christian
‘I grew up eating banquets on a Sunday, sitting around the table prepared by my mum and my aunts,’ says British-Ghanaian DJ-turned-restaurateur and Soho House member, Akwasi Brenya-Mensa. ‘I’ve also grown up around different influences and different inspirations.’ The food he cooks at his contemporary Pan-African restaurant, Tatale, he notes, ‘is a reflection of that’.
Tatale – named after the Ghanaian plantain pancake dish – opened in London’s Africa Centre in Southwark in the summer of 2022. Prior to that, Brenya-Mensa had steadily built a name for himself and his cooking through a host of pop-ups, supper clubs and private events. These included an exclusive dinner at Soho House last year as part of our One Night Only series, for which he devised a specially tailored menu to pair with event partner, Santa Teresa rum.
The self-described ‘concept restaurant’ reflects Brenya-Mensa’s commitment to ‘telling stories through food, art and heritage’. It’s also influenced by the West African chop bars – roadside eateries that serve up hearty food and hard and soft drinks to everyone – that Brenya-Mensa visited on his trips to Ghana.
Accordingly, the menu features his take on some classic chop bar dishes, such as Omo Tuo (‘essentially a mashed rice’) partnered with a deeply flavoured spicy groundnut soup – Nkate Nkwan – which the chef ‘loved’ growing up. ‘It’s eaten with your hands, which is something that’s really important to me because that’s how we eat back home,’ he says.
While he concedes that the expectations of most London restaurant diners means that cutlery comes as standard at Tatale, ‘You would not be allowed to use a spoon to eat this in my mum’s house,’ he adds with a laugh.
Watch Akwasi Brenya-Mensa in the Tatale kitchen here