Nigerian Pop-Up Chef Hits Culver City With Big West African Flavors

Nigerian-born chef Tolu Eros is leaning on his familiarity with Lagos and Greater Nigeria with Ile Bistro, which opens on Friday

A casual look at Nigerian pop-ups

Culver City’s stock continues to rise with the arrival of Ile Bistro, a casual take on the popular underground Nigerian pop-up that first earned her a reputation in LA. Chef Tolu “Eros” Erogbogbo is about to get a more approachable take on West African food (at least compared to his diner chain) with his new restaurant inside the Citizens Public Market, opening at noon on Friday, March 24.

include a protein like chicken or oyster mushrooms

For those unfamiliar, the Ilé Pop-Up is a Nigerian-tasting menu evening at a private residence in Hollywood, featuring some of West Africa’s most famous dishes, including jollof rice and pepper soup. At this new outpost in Culver City, Eros is leaning into those familiarities with rice bowls and soups served in a variety of ways, including proteins like roasted chicken or oyster mushrooms in addition to rotating sauces, toppings and sides. Diners will be able to pick and choose their preparation, and then watch it being prepared in front of them from a small corner space inside the food hall. The opening menus are below.

Outstanding in the Field Series

Alongside the pop-up original, Ile Bistro will offer some serious find ingredients and spices from Nigeria that Eros imports itself, including Umilo fruit and Gabafilo coconut plum seeds. The so-called Billionaire Chef, who is popping up at Coachella this year as part of the Outstanding in the Field series, has deep ties to the dining scene in Lagos, Nigeria, which also includes a number of restaurants.

Bistro Citizen Public Market

The up-and-coming Ile Bistro takes up residence in a former pizzette stand inside the Citizens Public Market. That space already included a wood-burning oven for Nancy Silverton’s small pizzas, so expect lots of fire and heat from Ile Bistro’s new menu. Other new tenants of the market include Liwei Liao’s Uichiba, which debuted on Wednesday, March 1 with hand rolls, chirashi bowls and sashimi using lots of dry-aged fish, and hand-pulled noodle specialist Bang Bang Noodles. Each adds to the new Culver City openings of late, including the recently finished Culver Steps development across the street, which also has its own hyper-trendy Erewhon grocery store. Other locations, like the new all-day French Jewel Box Juliette, are not far away.

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