Work your way up five flights of stairs to the sixth floor of Peckham Levels and you’ll be rewarded by more than just the step count on your phone’s fitness app. It’s up here where you can find Plantain Kitchen – a West African street food brand that serves up an array of suya lamb skewers, rice and beans, and oxtail alongside fudgy chunks of the joint’s vegetable namesake.
Plantain Kitchen was founded by Toby Oladokun and his mother, Sika back in 2019. Today, it's a busy hub where delivery drivers stream in and out of the premises with bags weighed with flavour and regulars come and order their "usual". Although Toby is typically the man on the ground most days of the week, he still uses all of his mother's recipes to make the dishes come to life. “She’s okay with me stealing them,” laughs Toby as he shows us how to get to make a perfect batch of crimson jollof.
Plantain Kitchen started as little more than a pipedream with Toby taking Deliveroo orders out of his kitchen at home. Toby eventually quit his job and dedicated his life to making Plantain Kitchen the hottest spot at every food market it appeared. Toby’s hard graft paid off. In November 2019, he was officially given the keys to Plantain Kitchen’s current home at Peckham Levels. Not content with merely feeding SE15 with bowls of his best-selling grilled chicken with jollof rice and fried plantain, Toby has his sights set on opening a new Finsbury Park premises soon.
“I’m trying to work on the operational side of things where I can be away from the place and it doesn’t fall apart,” explains Toby, “I’d like to spend more time working on the business and less time working in the business.” Being half-Ghanaian and half-Nigerian, Toby is in the enviable position of having equal jollof bragging rights. That mishmash of cultures is present in the drinks selection at Plantain Kitchen, too. You can settle down to a meal with a bottle of Star Lager (a popular Ghanaian beer) or an ice-cold bottle of Nigerian Coca-Cola which tastes approximately ten times better than any other cola you've ever had.