Travel & Tourism

Enish Restaurant and Lounge: Taking Nigerian food culture to global audience

The name Enish Restaurant and Lounge may not strike a familiar cord with Nigerians living in Nigerians but not so with the outside world in such places as the United Kingdom and United States of America where in about one decade the outfit has established its presence as ‘the Nigerian restaurant’ where you get wholly Nigerian foods served fresh and hot with all the pomp that comes with its presentation. It is the delight of foodies from across the world and Nigerians who grave for the best of Nigerian food culture.

With the restaurant established as a household name in America and Europe, It is now the turn of Asia to have a feel of the authentic Nigerian food culture, with Enish Restaurant and Lounge currently making waves in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). With six outfits in such locations as Lewisham, London, which was the first to be established on October 4, 2013; Finchley, London; Brixton; Camberwell, London; Ilford Essex; and Croydon, Surrey, all in the United Kingdom and with one location in the US – Kapri Ultra Lounge, Houston, Texas and now making inroads to the UAE with one location, which was opened on February 28 at H Hotel Shek Zakyed Road while the second location is billed for later in the year at Pointe Palm, Jumeirah, Dubai, certainly Enish Restaurant and Lounge is truly a success.

Its Media and Communications manager, Ifeanyi Enedozien, was at the recently held Abuja Jabamah 2021 where he regaled the gathering of tourism business personnel with the success story of the restaurant. The audience was taken in by such a feat and applauded the business acumen and patriotic zeal of the promoters of the restaurant. For Enedozien, a 2017 graduate of Biological Science but who has taken to the food industry because of his love for food, Enish Restaurant and Lounge, is blazing the trail and weathering the challenges that come with it.

‘‘You hardly see many Nigerian restaurants overseas due to the challenge of export and import,’’ he said, however, ‘‘over time Enish Restaurant and Lounge has established branches in the UK, US and now Dubai,’’ he disclosed with pride. Adding that: ‘‘It also seeks to expand to other places, promoting the major pride that we have as Nigerians, which is our culture. You can’t talk about Nigerian culture without the food. The food is the most important part of our brand. There is a popular cuisine which Nigeria is known for and this is Nigerian jollof and many people all over the world would want to savour it.’’ According to him, ‘‘we hope to establish in Abuja in no time’’ While declaring that the restaurant has been an instant success:

‘‘The reactions have been overwhelming. It served as a gateway for every Nigeri- a n who touches down in the UK, US and now Dubai and the first thing for them is to discover where African dishes are served and then we happen to be the go to restaurant for that. ‘‘We have a lot of celebrities who have embraced the restaurants in the UK, US and Dubai. The foreigners love the taste of Nigerian foods, so a lot of them come into the restaurant and want to experience what the Nigerian food tastes like and it has been overwhelming. I must say.’’ Top of the list of Nigerian dishes in demand, according to him, ‘‘I would say the Nigerian jollof and swallow; fufu are major selling points.’’

Enedozien also spoke of the challenges that come with such terrain: ‘‘It is challenging and you know doing business in a foreign land where you are not from come with many challenges. One of them is acceptance and of course, it requires huge capital.

So it takes a lot to be able to establish a Nigerian restaurant outside Nigeria. ‘‘Brining in our ingredients from Nigeria comes with its own challenges too. Some of the raw materials are grown abroad and we have line of distributors who deliver to us fresh items,’’ adding that:

‘‘It is difficult in terms of human resources.’’ For him, ‘‘Enish Restaurant and Lounge is the place to be in terms of calmness, the energy, the vibes and colours, as well as in terms of homily feeling as it is home away from home and if you want to have a feel of where you are from, Enish is the place to be. It is a top notch restaurant and we serve nothing but the best.’’

Background The restaurant was established by a Nigerian couple, Olushola and Eniola Medupin, with Olushola fusing his reputation as an acclaimed international chef with the vast experience of his wife, Eniola, in the financial world, to curate a truly bespoke and authentic Nigerian food business for foodies who crave authentic African cuisines in a foreign land. ‘‘We are Nigerian concept that delivers 100% authentic Nigerian-African inspired dishes. Our vision is to bring our authentic quality food merged with modern African fusion of fine dining to the world and become a household name in our industry,’’ he said. He further disclosed that: ‘‘Our mission is to be the best authentic Nigerian restaurant in the world with the best African food, quality and music served in the state-of-the-art restaurants that promote modern Africa.’’ In addition, he said it is dedicated to serving a true taste of Nigerian cuisine and beverages with a fine dining experience, delivering authenticity to your plate.

Their various outlets exude class and luxury, fused with African motif where guests come for cocktail, dining or party experience. ‘‘We are pivoting into event services and here is what we are proposing to your business; A one – stop event solution,’’ he added. Olushola Medupin is the co-founder and managing partner as well as the executive chef and in charge of restaurant operations while Eniola Medupin, also a co-founder and managing partner, oversees operations, finance and business development.

She holds a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A & M University, bachelor degree in Engineering Mechatronics from King’s College University London and certification in Project Management, Occupational Health and Safety.

As a co-owner, she is responsible for overall direction and operational management, she also takes responsibility for strategic planning and growth and business development and lead for public relations and investor management. While her husband holds a first degree in Economics and Masters Degree in Investment Banking and Securities and is an accomplished chef dating back from Nigeria where he managed full serviced restaurants with an annual revenue of £500, 000 to running the logistical, negotiations, start up, financial control, operational and launch management of Enish Restaurants.

He is also African restaurant consultant and combines his qualifications, skills and acquired experience to lead the restaurant’s operations, staff recruitment, menu definition and training initiatives. Over the years, the outfit has won a number of awards and earned recognition across board for its services. The endless list include: African Pride Awards 2017; and Best Authentic Craft Bar – Dubai Most Outstanding Restaurant in Dubai.

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