Abuja Connection, SE19 2AN
The information below is retained for historical purposes.
Note: As of September 2018, Abuja Connection is closed and there's building work going on inside. We aren't sure if this is a temporary or permanent closure.
It's pretty small, seating only about a dozen people on the ground floor and the same on the first floor. The first floor is smaller and cosier than the ground floor, with exposed brickwork walls, old-fashioned sash windows, and very dim lighting. As of July 2014 they accept cash only.
We started with shared orders of moin moin (savoury steamed blackeye bean cake; £3) photo, chicken wings (£6) photo, and Abuja salad (£8) photo. (NB: photos show two portions each.) The moin moin had a good, even texture; softer than Kake has had elsewhere, which worked quite well. The chicken wings were fine; sweet rather than spicy, but not overly so.
The Abuja salad arrived without the advertised feta cheese, but we didn't miss this as there was plenty of perfectly ripe avocado included. The salad was crisp and tasty, with plenty of textural contrast, and the lack of dressing was a feature rather than a bug. A portion of fried plantain came with our starters; we weren't sure which of the starters this was meant to accompany, but it was sticky, delicious, and well-fried but not burnt.
For mains, most of us chose from the "Traditional African Dishes" section of the menu, which offered various types of stew (egusi, okra, afang, etc) with a choice of protein element and a choice of carbohydrate on the side (pounded yam, amala, or eba). Protein choices on the menu were limited to mixed meat (cow skin, tripe, beef, and oxtail) or fish; but it turned out that chicken was also available (and probably other options too, such as pure beef).
Okra stew with mixed meat and pounded yam (£12) photo turned out to be somewhat deconstructed, with the glutinous finely-chopped okra stew served in a small bowl alongside the mixed meat in a tomato and palm oil sauce. The honeycomb tripe in this was good-quality tripe, with well-defined ridges, but unfortunately a little undercooked, making it very difficult (though not impossible) to eat.
Afang stew with chicken and eba (£12) photo was great; the okazi leaves were nicely softened, there was just the right amount of oil, and the chicken had good texture and flavour. The eba was slightly sour, in a good way.
Fruit juices (£2.50) came in pint servings, with ice. We also had a couple of bottles of Nigerian stout (£5/600ml).
Service was very friendly and welcoming, and they were really happy to see our group of non-Nigerian customers trying Nigerian food. They gave us advice on what would and wouldn't go together, and were happy to pack up our leftovers for takeaway. Our final bill photo was beautifully handwritten, and came to £27/head including drinks and a 10% service charge (noted on the menu as compulsory, but not auto-included on the bill).
Accessibility: Toilets are on the first floor, up a steep staircase with a not-too-sturdy handrail on one side only part of the way up.