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A Gourmet Revival of Sierra Leone’s Bold Flavours  

Traditional Senegalese cooking has largely been relegated to home kitchens, but a new restaurant aims to give it the star treatment. With the advent of The Cole Street Guest House, chef Miatta Marke aims to elevate Senegalese cuisine to the category of fine dining and to create an atmosphere that celebrates West African history and culture. It’s the country’s first gourmet restaurant to be dedicated entirely to the nation’s traditional dishes, celebrating the legacy of the country’s 16 ethnic groups (or tribes). But there’s also a special sort of magic at the Cole Street Guest House, where intricate family recipes passed down through generations of mothers and grandmothers are taking the spotlight.  The women in Marke’s family are part of this legacy. Cole Street’s mid-20th-Century building, with its outdoor courtyard and kitchen garden, originally belonged to Marke’s grandmother, Lati Hyde-Forster MBE, who was the first woman in Sierra Leone to graduate from university. She was hazed for being the only woman there but went on to become the first female African school principal in the country. Marke and her cousins were born and raised in their grandmother’s house, planting the sprawling java apple tree that now shades restaurant diners.