LA TAVERNA – THE REVIEW

Hello Ladies & Gentlemen,

It’s been a longggg time.  I have missed you guys oh. I don’t have many excuses for not blogging in almost two months. It’s just been one thing or the other! To the dear faithfuls that checked up on me one way or the other. Thank you!!! And even those of you who didn’t. ..I nor fexx.

I recently watched the movie The Chef and it opened my eyes to how I might be perceived by some establishments/chefs. If you have watched the movie, you would understand.  I would like to reiterate that I am not out to witch hunt or malign any food catering establishment. My posts are about my dining experiences. I once described it to someone as giving people informed choices about where to eat in Nigeria and I am sticking to that. I have never been paid a dime to review these places. I do it on my  free volition so why should I be biased? The movie has further hardened my resolve to believe that my wishes and aspirations will come to fruition  if I work hard towards them . Hard work & persistence does pay. Phew!! rant over (I need the sweaty emoticon here ).

I was out on a dinner date with Mr U to La Taverna– a Chilean/Spanish/Italian fusion restaurant.  It’s deeply tucked into one end of Balarabe Musa Crescent in Victoria Island. As always, we didn’t have a reservation but it didn’t seem to be a problem. The decor was basic. A bit rustic like a typical spanish trattoria. Nothing fancy with traditional chairs and tables with a wine “cellar” to one end . The other end had  arranged wine barrel tags from different wine manufacturers around the world. There is an area for alfresco dinning but it had some sort of private party going on there on the night we visited.

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The menu was quite extensive with fusion Chilean/Spanish/ Italian staples. This was my first experience with Chilean menu. I wasn’t sure what to order, so we agreed on ordering from the 3 countries.

Whilst we waited for the food, I ordered a glass of moscato which was delicious. I don’t remember the name though.The appetiser was Camarones a la parmesana. The mains were Prawns ravioli and Grilled salmon with mashed potatoes. And dessert was Tiramisu. (They had  desserts du jour written out on a board in the corner).

Next came a basket of bread with some tomato dip. I am not sure I can describe this properly but I was dazed by how lovely the combination was. I had to ask the chef what he put in. The bread was soooo darn good. It was a Chilean staple called Marquetta. It’s dense and sweet kinda like agege bread but far better- perhaps it’s agege bread’s posh cousin. They bake it fresh every morning. With the tomato dip? Heavenly. No it didn’t taste like bread and stew 🙂 . I did oliver twist , I asked for seconds and I still got take away. This appetizer  deserves an ace!!!

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Then came the starter- Camarones a la parmesana. This was prawns baked in cream and cheese. It was baked with a slight crust so it was slightly crispy on the outside and stringy like hot cheese on Pizza. It was served in a seashell. I thought that was quite original. In the looks department, it wasn’t grand but it tasted amazing.

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The mains came and they did not look too happy either…hahaha. To me, it seemed like they made them and just slapped them on the plate. Starting with the prawns ravioli, looking at it did not impress me one bit. It was basically ravioli pasta ,stuffed with prawns and cooked in tomato sauce. Here plating was non existent. It was just poured in  bowl, no garnish whatsoever.When I tasted it, I was quite surprised because the tomato sauce was good . The pasta on the other hand, had a bite to it, somewhat chewy.Like it had been frozen and not properly thawed. I am trying to convince myself that a restaurant that sells seafood pasta would make their own ravioli fresh. My conclusion was that it had been previously made and had just been hurriedly thawed before it was tossed in the tomato sauce…I could be wrong.

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The salmon.. Hmnn, I need to remember when next I go out to review that it don’t have to have  seafood.  The Salmon did not look interesting either. As always, I added black pepper to the mashed potatoes. The never judge “a book by its cover” rule applied here. The mashed potatoes was creamy, fluffy and no lumps! Yes, no lumps, that’s a breathe of fresh air in Lagos.   The menu stated that the salmon would be served with lemon sauce but when it came, there was no lemon sauce.. It came with some sort of creamy sauce but definitely not lemon sauce. I think it was a little overcooked but it still tasted alright. Yet again, it was slapped on the plate. So if per chance they happen to see this review, PLEASE your meals are too nicely made to be slapped on the plate! You can do better with your food presentation.

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For dessert, I had requested for Tiramisu, unfortunately, it had finished before we placed our order. I didn’t feel like I wanted anything else so we skipped it altogether. Sob….

I got a chance to speak with the chef- Cristian who was  friendly. I discovered that they offered cooking classes. That’s a date idea for those that send mails asking what they can do for date night, you can both learn to cook and then eat your creations afterwards. Win-win situation if you ask me.

We paid about N14,000 for 1 appetizer, 2 main entrees , a glass of wine and a bottle of water

P.S : I apologise about the quality of these pictures. I could not adjust my camera settings with the lighting.

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambiance / Aesthetics- 7

Quality of food- 8

Value for money- 8

Customer Service- 9

 

LA TAVERNA

48, Balarabe Musa Crescent

Victoria Island.

08051788782

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LA VERANDA ITALIAN RESTAURANT- THE REVIEW

Monday 10.40 A.M,

Hello people.

How have you all been doing? Thank you for all the feedback on the last post. I would like to point out that I have NEVER received any freebie to review any restaurant. Yes, there have been several offers but I usually turn them down.I turn them down because I need to remain as objective as possible when assessing the restaurant. You shouldn’t  look a gift horse in the teeth now, should you? When / If I start taking freebies? It will be clearly stated that the meal was unpaid for or sponsored. So now that we have cleared the air on that, we will move along swiftly.

It was my friend’s birthday recently and we decided to meet up for lunch at La Veranda- an Italian restaurant In Victoria Island. Hmnnn, how does one do healthy eating  with all these eating out sef? If you have a winning formula, please help a sister out. Please don’t say I should order salad or limit eating out  to my cheat days. For now, I will stick to portion control.

La Veranda is housed at the back of Blowfish Hotel in Victoria Island.To get to the restaurant, you would need to go through the hotel reception and then through the pool side. You can choose to dine alfresco or stay in the main dinning room. The dinning room overlooks the swimming pool.The decor was pretty basic with pink, white and blue furnishing. it will probably sit about 25 or 30 diners. In one corner sits a masonry oven and the end had the cashier’s till. There really isn’t much to say about the decor. I would classify this as warm and comfortable.

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A polite waiter showed us to our seats and handed us the menu. I wanted a glass of white wine badly but i had to restrain myself so I ordered water and jazzed it up with lemon and cucumber. The girls settled for Chapman. Did you know that Chapman is a Nigerian mocktail?

The menu had loads of Italian staples- Soups, Pastas, Pizzas,Salads and Sandwiches. We asked the waiter what he would recommend and he reeled out a list of things but eventually, we all decided on Pasta- Tagliatelle and Linguine. For our starter, we ordered Gamberoni Pil-Pil and Salmone Affumicato. For mains, we ordered Tagliatelle con pollo, Tagliatellie al salmone and Linguine del mare. No one wanted desserts so I  secretly ordered Tiramisu for the birthday girl.

Quite surprisingly, the meals did not take too long to come, first up were the antipasti. We started with Gamberoni Pil-Pil (N3,800- $20).This was prawns sauteed with probably olive oil and capers served with some sort of spicy brothy sauce. It served with sliced baguette. It had the right amount of spice and seasoning. Delicious. One question I had to ask though? Was it value for money at N3,800? Absolutely Not!!

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Next came the Salmone Affumicato,(N3,800-$20). Sliced smoked salmon served with toast quarters with capers, sour cream, lemon wedge and a sliver of lettuce. Hmnnn, there isn’t much to write about this. There was no actual cooking done by the restaurant. It was all just plated. At least that’s what I think.  For N3,800? yet again, I say this isn’t value for money.

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When the pasta dishes came, it smelled delicious. You know that feeling of just get in my belle already? Everyone claimed theirs was the nicest. My girls  opted for the spicy version of what they were having. Well, mine was Linguine del mare-(N4,200-$23). The waiter described this as seafood and pasta in pink sauce. Hmmnn, when it came, there was nothing pink about it. It was not like the colour  mattered much but  I still wonder why it was called pink sauce .It was very well put together. It had the right amount of the “pink sauce” and pasta cooked right  with the mussels, prawns and calamari  nicely seasoned. The portion was quite generous too. I couldn’t indulge as I would have wanted to because I am doing portion control** double eye roll*. so I ate a quarter and had the remaining packed as take away. On the second day, It tasted even nicer to me. I would have given this an ace if it was better plated. In as much as this wasn’t just slapped on the plate, it wasn’t high on presentation either. A pop of colour would have made a difference.

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I had bites of the Tagliatelle con pollo (N3600-$19.5) and Tagliatelle al Salmon (N4,100-$22). It’s so difficult to say which tasted better. They were both really nice.The Tagliatelle con pollo was tagliatelle tossed in white creamy sauce, with sauteed chicken and mushrooms.Well, this was a bit varied from what they normally serve because  my friends wanted it spicy. You could actually see the pepper flecks in it. It was too spicy for me to indulge in but the owners loved it. The salmon was pretty much the same- just substitute the chicken for the salmon and leave out the mushrooms. The portions were reasonable but I still had a problem with the plating of these dishes.

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la veranda 06When it was time for desserts, everyone chickened out. I would have been miserable if we didn’t order that Tiramisu oh. We had the perfect excuse, it was Seun’s birthday!!! and we had to sing her the bee-day song surely there had to be some semblance of a cake abi?. Oh well, I had told the manager beforehand that the birthday girl was with us . So when the Tiramisu(N,2400- $13) was being served it came with a cake sparkler and the birthday song was playing. Her expression when she saw it? Priceless, hahaha. So after the whole birthday song shebang, we decided to split a portion of Tiramisu 4 ways. It was sooo worth the extra calories, a tad sweeter than I would normally like it but it was still the rich creamy mascarpone with layers of ladyfinger biscuits and coffee. When I saw the price, fear caught me sha. Yes mascarpone cheese is imported, yes but the portions and the prices aren’t just at par. Most restaurants in Lagos are guilty of serving over priced desserts and food. Hian 

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I did an inspection of the restroom and it was sparkling clean.

We paid N30,280 ($164) for 2 Appetizers, 4 entrees, 1 dessert, 3 drinks,and a bottle of water.

Would I go back there? Absolutely

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambiance / Aesthetics- 7

Quality of food- 8.5

Value for money- 7

Customer Service- 9

LA VERANDA

BLOWFISH HOTEL

17,OJU OLOBUN STREET

VICTORIA ISLAND

08121111222

Thank you for always reading.

DISCLAIMER: These reviews are my opinion of my dining experiences at these places. They are not sponsored by any establishment unless otherwise stated.