Thursday, 29 September 2011

Ajani's Grill Restaurant and Jazz

Ajani's owner, chef, designer and main waiter is Patrick. Patrick's a brave man. A Nigerian who loves Miles Davis as much as Fela Kuti he opened a restaurant in a tough year (2010) and on a stretch of the Hornsey Road with more boarded up shops than thriving ones. Instead of going for restaurant bland he painted it red, put jazz legend posters up and a piano in the corner until it looked, as someone online said, like 'a jazz place - dark walls covered in photos and jazz paraphernalia - with a New Orleans or Left Bank feel'.

For the first few months it seemed like he'd been too brave. Ajani looked welcoming, intriguing, romantic; and was empty or nearly empty night after night. But Patrick can cook. I mean really cook. I must stop ordering the bruschetta and ribs every time because I know there are many other tasty things on the menu, but they're so good that I struggle.

He slashed his prices, so the place went from pretty good value to amazingly good value and started getting rave reviews on and a hat tip from the Islington Gazette.

And he kept on going, getting more and more live jazz acts in, hosting an exhibition, organising a wine tasting, making running a restaurant look like the most rewarding job in the world. It looks like he's doing okay nowadays and long may that last.

289 Hornsey Road


07533 658 641

0207 272 55 66

Open Monday to Friday: 5pm to 1am

Saturday: 12 noon to 1am

Sunday: bookings only.

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