A touch of Africa in the heart of Zagreb, more precisely on Ilica 73 in central Zagreb, as Okoli Kikelomo from Nigeria officially opens her new (well, sort of) African restaurant ”MamaVeek’s Kitchen”. ”We don’t have a pricelist, people who don’t have any money can come and eat for free,” stated the warm-hearted Okoli.
On the 6th of April, 2019, the African bistro ”MamaVeek’s Kitchen” which moved from Ilica 69 to Ilica 73, was initially opened six years ago by Okoli Kikelomo who came to Croatia from Nigeria in search of a better life than what she felt Nigeria could offer her.
The opening of her new-yet-old restaurant officially began at 16:00 and Okoli said that there is no price list in her restaurant, people are free to leave donations, and those who don’t have any money are more than welcome to come and eat for free, she also added that she would continue to serve only traditional African recipes in her kitchen.
Okoli arrived here in Croatia six years ago in search of a better life, and since then, she hasn’t stopped – she founded a humanitarian association, organises various art workshops, she volunteers, but in spite of all her many activities, this ”jack of all trades” is mostly devoted to cooking African food at ”MamaVeek’s Kitchen”.
Okoli is a talented cook, and she learned it all from her grandmother, and she made her very own first dish eight years ago. Her passion for African cuisine is so strong that her desire is to transfer it to her visitors through her hard work in her African restaurant. The food served there is mostly bought at the Zagreb’s Dolac market, but the exotic spices with which she enrich her traditional African dishes are sent to her from her mother who is back in Nigeria.
Despite her love of African cuisine, Okoli has taken on the task of learning to prepare and cook Croatian cuisine.
“In these past six years, I’ve learned how to prepare sarma and tripe in Croatia. I know how to make fish paprikaš too, but for my guests, especially for the opening, I’ll prepare an African soup with meat and a special fish dish,” Okoli noted.