Wednesday, 10. 04p.m
Writing food reviews has brought me in contact with many fabulous people I never imagined I’d be friends with. I really can’t believe how far I have come, from the girl that rambles on and on about food, to the food writer that I have become today. I couldn’t have done this without you all. Thank you for all your kind words, encouragement, criticism and even threats sef. It has all made Peju strive to be better.
Recently, I met up with my friends for dinner. These are fab chefs that churn out the good stuff- Chef Fregz, Chef Renee and Chef Bemigho. Ollll’ boy, I knew it was going to be a blast. You can imagine how this review went. Savvy foodies meeting up to review food. Dinner was at Spice Route, It is located on Adeola Odeku, the same building with a popular pizza place. The menu here consists of Eastern and Southern Asian cuisines.
I was shown to the elevator by a polite waiter. Oh wow…..It was totally different from the typical naija restaurant decor. It had a theme that they followed to a tee! I felt like I was in a totally different place.The decor here was amazing, right from the fabulous stairway (I felt like a princess walking down a magnificent flight of stairs to meet my prince charming) to the terracotta guards protecting the imposing image of Buddha to the spice tables and the bangle art wall.The lighting here depicts the atmosphere of a laid back lounge where you could have a nice tete-a-tete, kinda romantic. This could have been because I went at night. We dined alfresco overlooking the main road. The main dinning room was “Moscow” (too cold).
When we called for the menu, the waiter came with 1 copy of the menu, hmmmn, there were four of us, why one menu? We asked for extras, he brought just 1 extra. Until we actually spelt it out to him that there were 4 of us. He grudgingly brought the extras. Was it that they didn’t have enough menu cards? Taking about the menu, it was quite well put together in terms of aesthetics.
Renee and I had had our fair share of alcohol for the week and we decided to be good girls. We ordered iced tea, after about 10 minutes, broda waiter came with our drinks. Errrr iced tea kwa? The bros brought us Long Island iced tea. Surely you would expect a waiter to know the difference, of course we sent it back. He came back minutes later with iced tea only this time it was room temperature and it came without ice! Hmmn room temperature iced tea? Only in gidi town, iced tea without ice not to talk of sugar rim? Issokay. Before the guy would clear the back of his throat in my drink, I jejely collected it and requested for ice. Chef Renee flatly refused and sent it back yet again, this chic had liver fa. Well, this time the bartender came himself and asked what the issue was. We explained to him that we didn’t want warm iced tea and explained how we would like the tea served. He explained to us that it was room temperature because it was freshly brewed tea. Akiko. He finally took it and brought back a perfect glass of iced tea. Persistence does pay off. The final product was nice. Phewww...all this energy for just tea.
Whilst we waited , we were served stuffed poppadum(sp) , jalapeno peppers. with some sort of mint dip with onions. Hmnn, lets just say it didn’t werk at all because none of us could eat it. We asked the waiter for the name of the dip ; he didn’t know but we knew the base was yoghurt and it had mint and coriander. The rest was lost on us, possibly a mint chutney i’d say.
We finally placed our orders. For our appetizer we ordered the Dawat-E- Shahjahan( N 5,500-$33) and Tandoori Jhenga ( N 5,500-$33). Make una go learn Hindi oh. Well, in simple english, the Dawat-E- Shahjahan was mixed meat platter of chicken, lamb and seafood kebabs. The Tandoori Jhenga was spicy prawns made with select indian herbs and spices. I don’t remember the waiter asking how spicy we wanted it. When it came, I wasn’t impressed. The dishes were just slapped on the plate with a heap of onions. Infact, the Dawat-E-Shahjahan looked like overcooked vegetable soup…quite unappealing looking. The Jhenga was a line of prawns that had a heap of onions on the side. Whoever came up with the adage” never judge a book by its cover” didn’t veer far from the truth . I had a piece of the lamb and I was surprised it tasted that good considering the way it looked. The calamari was even better , crunchy and nicely spiced. I didn’t particularly like the chicken cos it was somewhat dry. The prawns didn’t impress me either; in my opinion, the chef overdid it with the herbs and spices. Perhaps the Tandoori Jhenga is supposed to be an acquired taste. The spices were too over powering to enjoy the prawns. It had a bit of a bitter aftertaste because it got charred on the grill I guess.
For the mains, we ordered the Goan Fish Curry (N 2,500-$15) with the cheese naan bread, the second entree was the Bhuna Ghosht (N2,400-$14) with steamed white rice (N800-$4). When it came, Chef Fregz said it looked like ata dindin, Chef Renee said it was ofada sauce. I couldn’t stop laughing. Yet again, presentation came into play. The food was just slapped down on the plate, i am not sure they remembered to clean the plates after serving because the sides were messy. That’s a huge turn off. I didn’t complain because we had bugged the waiter enough. The cheese naan (Kulcha) was delicious, there was something different about it and it was served hot. The Goan fish curry was very good. The menu described it as fish cooked in roasted coconut, fresh mango, poppy seeds and Indian herbs. Whether it was cooked in all of that, I don’t know but it tasted so dang good. We unanimously awarded it the best meal of the night. It really is a must try with that cheese naan bread.The
ata din din Bhuna Ghosht was like eating white rice and fried stew. That’s definitely not something I would want to eat in a restaurant…at Iya Mayowa’s bukka for a fraction of the price? Yes I ‘d indulge, the lamb was tender and well seasoned.
Worthy of mention here is the customer service, despite the fact that we were not the nicest of customers with our complaints and all, they were still polite and they paid attention to us. When we paid, the waiter came back with the change… shall we safely assume that things are getting better or did they get served with the Dear Restauranteur letter? They need to pay attention to the plating of their dishes. It is unappealing being served food like that.
Would i go back there? Most likely.
MY SCORE CARD
Layout / Ambience / Aesthetics- 10
Quality of food- 7
Value for money- 8
Customer Service- 8
36, Adeola Odeku street