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Akwasi Brenya-Mensa’s Tatale announces departure from Africa Centre a year after opening

Saying goodbye: Akwasi Brenya-Mensa’s Tatale  to depart the Africa Centre   (Photography: Natasha Pszenicki; Assistant: Monty Vann)
Saying goodbye: Akwasi Brenya-Mensa’s Tatale to depart the Africa Centre (Photography: Natasha Pszenicki; Assistant: Monty Vann)

South London African restaurant Tatale, headed by chef Akwasi Brenya-Mensa, is set to depart its space inside the Africa Centre this June, just one year on from opening.

At the time of publication, there is little information regarding what’s next in store for Tatale, or who will take over the space in the centre, though Tatale will close on June 18.

Writing on Instagram, Brenya-Mensa wrote: “Tatale was created to carry a contemporary Pan-African concept, that tells stories through food, art and heritage, born in Ghana and developed in London.

“What its success has demonstrated is that people within and outside of these communities craved to understand and savour dishes, ingredients and techniques the African continent has to offer, in an artistic, creative, and enriching way. And what it demonstrated to me is that it's possible to preserve the rich tapestry of African flavours and cooking traditions, within one of the most competitive spaces and cities.”

The restaurant was billed as a celebration of contemporary African cooking, and was a key member among a set of distinctive new restaurants that helped to raise the profile of creative African cooking in the UK.

Often mentioned in the same breath as Akoko, the two Michelin-starred Ikoyi, and Chirshuru, Tatale was considered to have captured the imagination of diners who were, until just a few years ago, largely ignorant about the diversity and the flavours of African cooking. At the time of opening, Brenya-Mensa told the Standard he hoped to “change people’s perception of African cooking”.

The Africa Centre first opened in 1964, but relocated to its current Southbank home in 2022, with a mission to “educate, connect, and advocate for Africa and its global diaspora, creating a home away from home for Africans in the UK”.

Tatale was a flagship draw inside the reopened centre, drawing both crowds and critical acclaim. The Standard’s chief restaurant critic Jimi Famurewa named the restaurant among his 12 favourites of 2022, and it was elsewhere widely praised, with Guardian columnist Grace Dent and Harden’s guide among those to celebrate its affordable pan-African tasting menu.

As of yet, Akwasi Brenya-Mensa has not confirmed the exact details of his next project, however in a comment to the Standard, he did note: “Having been raised in South London, I’ve always loved the idea of being creative in Brixton. And it won’t just be within the confines of food, my upcoming projects will see me venture more into art with installations and [other] interdisciplinary concepts.”