afrobeat kitchen

Afrobeat Kitchen

Afrobeat Kitchen started off as a pop-up for Nigerian food in Bloordale and opened its first independent restaurant in Parkdale. 

Owner Victor Ugwueke got his start during the pandemic. He had worked at places like The Keg and Wayne Gretzky's Toronto and was ready to carve his own path as a chef. 

Ugwueke grew up in Lagos, Nigeria where he learned his skills in the kitchen from his mother who owned restaurants. He watched how his mother's food connected people and could envision himself cultivating that into his own business. 

afrobeat kitchen torontoUgwueke had been in Canada for over a decade when his brother-in-law opened Caravan Cafe and allowed him to operate as a pop-up through the business. He created a small menu of West African food, mainly Nigerian, along with a few brunch offerings. 

This is how Afrobeat Kitchen came into being. Ugwueke's dinner service operated five days a week at Caravan Cafe and would sell out by 7 p.m. 

afrobeat kitchen torontoWhen Caravan closed in 2021, Ugwueke knew it was time to expand. A year later, he would move into 1510 Queen Street West, the former location of Escape Goat, a neighbourhood craft beer pub. 

The space is cozy with intimate seating and double paddle doors to the kitchen which felt like I was attending a friend's dinner party. 

afrobeat kitchen torontoThe Sticky Suya Wings ($10 for 1/2 pound, $16 for 1) feature meat that's been marinated for 24 hours using suya spice. The latter is traditionally used in seasoning skewers in Nigerian street food. 

The wings are tossed in a dry rub made of a variety of other spices including ginger, onion, garlic, chilli, and more suya. The result is a crusty exterior that is rich in spice when you bite into the meat. 

afrobeat kitchen torontoA popular menu item is the Goat Pepper Soup ($9). It's known to be classic drinking food due to its hearty consistency. 

Goat meat is boiled in a bone broth that's seasoned with dried crayfish, red pepper spice, ginger, garlic, basil, and ehuru (African nutmeg). 

The fragrant soup has a heavy peppery flavour profile and full of tender goat meat. 

afrobeat kitchen torontoBuka Beef Stew ($18) starts off with a palm butter reduction that's then used to cook obe ata, a popular Nigerian tomato and red pepper-based sauce with a stew-like consistency. 

Pieces of slow-braised beef are incorporated into the stew and served with a hard-boiled egg, a bed of rice and fried plantain. 

The richness of the tomatoes in the stew takes centre stage in this dish which pairs nicely with the crispy plantain, tender egg and rice. 

afrobeat kitchen Egusi ($19) is a melon seed thickened soup made with an assortment of meat cooked in fish stock. Here, Ugwueke has substituted that for tofu skin and vegetable stock to make the dish vegan. He also adds in shitake and king mushrooms, plus gojuchang for extra flavouring.

Meant to be eaten with your hands, the egusi is traditionally served with pounded yam which you use to pick up portions of the stew-like dish to consume together. 

afrobeat kitchen torontoFisherman Market Rice ($18) is inspired by the city of Calabar, a rich seafood region in Nigeria. This dish is a homage to what a fisherman living there might throw together into a pot at the end of the day. 

A medley of shrimp, calamari, smoked crayfish, chicken and chopped plantain is stir-fried with rice. It's made with coconut oil to add a distinctive flavour to the seafood-based dish. 

afrobeat kitchen torontoLook for Afrobeat Kitchen's original logo; it's the same logo used at their pop-up in Caravan Cafe in Bloordale. 

Photos by

Fareen Karim

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