African flavors abound at Verdure Kitchen & Cocktails near Piedmont Park

The new 175-seat restaurant replaces Jai Ho on Dutch Valley Road

Inside Verdure

Courtesy of Nalege Photography

Verdure Kitchen & Cocktails (560 Dutch Valley Road Northeast) opened July 17 on the ground level of a Dutch Valley Road condo building near Piedmont Park. Replacing Jai Ho Indian, Verdure explores using African spices, ingredients, and cooking methods in dishes familiar to Atlantans.

“People should come with an open mind to embrace something they know, as well as something they’re not used to. They should be open to the possibilities of what’s being presented to them,” explains Jacon Isliker, a Ghana native and Verdure managing partner. “We want everything to have a hint of Africa in it.”

Courtesy of Nalege Photography

Crispy fried octopus

Courtesy of Vantablck Studios

The team hired chef Jean-Louis Sangare, formerly of Le Bilboquet, who brings historic knowledge from his Ivory Coast heritage to the restaurant. From grilled meats to vegetables, menu items will reflect a taste of Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Senegal.

Appetizers include roasted egusi hummus made with chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, tahini, herbs, and egusi; a smokey salmon salad; and summer roasted root burrata with carrots, beets, and parsnips. Dinner entrees include Zanzi peppercorn lamb rib chop with Zanzibar sauce, Senegalese chicken Yassa in a tangy mustard sauce, and Afriki grilled red snapper with spicy tomato concasse. Isliker recommends asking for the Chef’s Special Spicy Sauce, a red, hot sauce that “screams West Africa,” he says. “Traditionally, in West Africa, we like super spicy food.”

The beverage menu is divided into three sections for cocktails alone: Fizzy, Boozy, and Parfumerie. A creamy coconut hibiscus margarita and Kenyan Dawa cocktail (oft served as a remedy for the flu) fall into the latter category. Wines from South Africa, California, and France are available by the glass and the bottle. Beer offerings are standard.

The dining room

Courtesy of Nalege Photography

With a name that means “green” in French, Verdure is decorated with green plants. “A lot of things in Africa traditionally are wood, so we have wooden tables and furniture,” Isliker explains.

Located just off the BeltLine, Verdure is working on building a 60-seat patio with a retractable awning. The patio will likely open next year. Lunch service is planned for the future as well.

Smoked salmon appetizer

Courtesy of Vantablk Studios

Tap to enlarge the menu below.