Agou and La Part du Chef

We had heard about a restaurant that specialized in exotic meats in a village located about 25 km south of Kpalime in the small town of Agou at the foot of a mountain of the same name and decided it was a not-to-miss site.    We had no information about places to park and camp in Agou but our timing got us there early enough   in the afternoon so we went by just to confirm it would be open and place an order so we just asked them if they knew somewhere we might b e able to park and set up camp.   After some discussion the lovely women that welcomed us went to speak to the Chef, who came out and said we would be welcome to set up in his garden.

To set up we had to move some rocks and stacked lumber and backing the Defender through a narrow gate into a lane that ran through the middle of an extended family living space.   It worked, and the large extended family that called this ‘garden’ home were more than a little entertained by the rooftop tent which just fit under the mango tree.  Everyone took turns climbing up the ladder and peeking into the tent.

Jonathon and Chef Late in the yard
Visiting the tent

We also enjoyed a tour of the property, which is a small livestock operation, with pens for pigs, goats, lambs, chickens and of course guinea fowl.   The chickens are everywhere, fed in  the morning by the youngest son.  The agouti (bush rate) are caught in the wild and kept in cages awaiting slaughter when needed for a plate.

Late’s son feeds chickens while Laura reads

We opted for the Agouti and the Pintade, which translate roughly as bush rat and guinea fowl.    The agouti is the same creature as what is known in Ghana as grass cutter, which we never liked, but this was good.     Guinee fowl is a dry meat, but this one was meatier than most. We also enjoyed corn meal dumpling cooked in the corn meal jus.

This is what an Agouti looks like

There was no running water, but there was a toilet that flushed.  At night they put a big barrel of (very) hot water in the shower stall in the bathroom  for washing.  We were awoken early by all the animals and served a breakfast of guinea fowl eggs, bread and Nescafe.

We enjoyed learning about Le Chef, as in the name of the restaurant…”La Part du Chef”.   We had of course assumed it was all about the person who did the cooking, but that was not the case at all.   Rather, Mr. Late did not cook, but was a minor Ewe “Chief”, or Chef en francais.     He had earned his living as a primary school teacher  until he retired in 1995 and set up the restaurant to supplement his pension.   It was a popular place among people from Lome who would come up from the capitol  on the weekend.  He was also planning to set up a campground (campement)  among the trees bordering his property, but he had not yet set up the services and security arrangements, hence our spot in the garden.

It was a lovely evening, which we enjoyed very much.