On a cold Tuesday, my friend David and I headed out to try the newly-opened Village Restaurant at 100 Fountain Street in Providence, which features authentic Nigerian cuisine.
Toyin Wilcox founded the Village Restaurant more than 10 years ago in Pawtucket (200 Main St). She has now expanded to Providence, bringing her passion for sharing and cooking Nigerian meals to even more of the RI community. Village strives to serve delicious and flavorful food, while providing a unique and memorable experience for its diners, which I can happily report it succeeds in doing.
From the moment you enter the restaurant, the sense of family and warmth is apparent. As we arrived, Wilcox’s brother enthusiastically greeted us, his pride in his sister on full display. As we peered up at the menu, divided into Appetizers, Entrees, Stews, A Vegan/Vegetarian selection and Pastries, there were so many new things to choose from that we struggled to land on what we wanted. When Wilcox saw me and David unsure of where to start, she came to our rescue. She gave instructions to our friendly server, pointing to items from the buffet line and before we knew it, two bountiful containers (Maybe a more descriptive word — platters?) were ours. They included Dodo (sweet plantains), a savory meat pie, and Jollof Rice, served with boneless fish and topped with a beautiful, bright tomato and pepper sauce. Then there was Efo Riro (spinach stew) served with chicken legs, plantains and lyan. A highlight for me of the meal was tearing pieces of lyan, yam pounded to a kind of white stretchy taffy, and using it to sop up the flavorful sauces of both dishes.
We washed it down with Zobo, a Nigerian drink made from brewing dried Roselle (Hibiscus) plant flowers mixed with fruit juices and Chapman, a sweet non-alcoholic punch. Zobo has a spicy finish that we both preferred.
Prices for a starter or pastry are $4 or $5 dollars, and the Village meals/stews range from $12 to $15. No reservations are needed, and they use Grubhub and Postmates for delivery. Catering is available.
All of the food was flavorful and satisfying, and Wilcox and her brother could not have been more hospitable. The Village has a bright welcoming vibe, and as we left my friend said that it had felt like eating the food of a friend. What’s better than that?
The Village PVD, 100 Fountain Street, PVD, thevillagerestaurantri.com