Sakura- The Review

Monday 5.15 P.M

Hey Beautiful people,

Now that elections are over, we can all go back to our regular routines. Congratulations to the newly elected public officers. Hopefully, we would not have cause to kick your behinds in 4 years time.

In my two years of writing food reviews, it has never taken me this long to write a review . This has taken me almost a month to write . #sayNOtowritingonelineaday. Am I losing interest or my mojo? H-E-L-P!!!!

My review this week is on Sakura Restaurant in Victoria Island. Sakura is a Thai / Japanese and Chinese restaurant. I don’t remember seeing any Chinese staples on the menu though but the menu was quite  extensive with different kinds of Sushi, Sashimi, Teriyaki , Teppanyaki  and their likes.

The  restaurant was quite sizable. It would probably sit about 70 or 80 guests. The interior wasn’t quiite as “grand” as I expected it to be. It also didn’t have that oriental feel synonymous with Asian restaurants. I expected a whole lot more as per the decor.  There isn’t much to write about the decor to be honest. I however loved the fact that you can dine alfresco.

I was handed the menu by this “interesting ” waitress. I ordered a mocktail which was promptly served. I ordered “foreplay on the beach “ or something like that. It was nice. No complaints about it at all, that’s  a first in a very longggg time. Well I described the waitress as interesting because when she came the waft of air around me went sour. She had body odor. I almost died when she raised her arm to point something out on the menu. Arrgghhh. Is it that people don’t know when they smell bad or what? Thankfully she was not the one that brought the drink.

For our starter, we ordered the Naked Spicy volcano (sushi) and Chicken Gyoza (dumplings). For mains, we had the Lobster Teppan, Shrimp Teriyaki, Chicken Teriyaki, garlic& beef fried rice, shrimp fried rice.

My Spicy Volcano Sushi (N2700-$14) was first up. Atop my Meshi (rice) sat a combination of  minced salmon, avocado and cucumber.The rice cube itself had some  julienned crabmeat and cucumber inside it. It was served  with pickled ginger. I don’t fancy wasabi so I requested that it wasn’t served with mine. It was so good that I had eaten it half way before I realized i hadn’t taken a picture!! Hence my picture of a half eaten plate . Yes before you abuse me I am a gulu.

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Next up was the Chicken Gyoza (dumplings 2500- $13).We had the option to either have this steamed or fried but we chose fried. I would say you can liken the fried Gyoza to Samosas. In this particular case the chicken and vegetables filling was  beautifully seasoned and folded into pleated filopastry and fried. It was juicy on the inside crispy on the outside. The best part of this dumpling for me was the sauce it was served it. I am used to eating steamed dumpling with soy sauce but this was served with a different sauce . I asked the waitress what the sauce was called but she didn’t know. It perfectly complemented the Gyoza.

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The first main entrée was the Shrimp Teriyaki(4500-$23). This gave me instant food envy. I looked at it and I was like I shoulda ordered that.This was 2 large teriyaki sauce glazed jumbo shrimp that was grilled and served with cabbage,lemon slices ,tomatoes and cucumbers. It came with the same sauce that was served with the Gyoza. As this wasnt my meal, my tasting was minimal. It tasted even better than it looked. I give it to this chef with the seasoning of his proteins. There were no complaints from anyone as per this dish.

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The Chicken Teriyaki was next, personally I am tired of chicken so when Mrs O ordered chicken teriyaki  , I just rolled my eyes at her. Una no dey tire to dey order the same thing?! Hiannn! To be honest , there was no difference between the Shrimp & Chicken Teriyaki…well except the sesame seeds the chicken was garnished with.They were both marinaded in teriyaki sauce and grilled. It had the same side salad and “that sauce “.   Why use the same dip /dressing for everything? I am of the opinion that proteins should be treated according to how delicate each is.

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I have spoken to my sub conscious not to order seafood when next I go out to review a restaurant... Is something wrong with me? 95% of the time when I go out to eat, I order seafood. Well this was no different,  I ordered the Lobster Teppan( N5900- $30).The plating was quite clever. The cooked lobster meat was neatly arranged under the shell of the lobster so it looked like it was cooked whole. It was served on a bed of sautéed vegetables and thankfully the generic sauce didn’t accompany it. It tasted great but I found it a bit over cooked because it was chewy. The Oliver Twist in me, did bebeto and went a -digging for more lobster meat in the head. There was lobster meat quite alright but it was raw which made me question the cooking method. If you look carefully at the picture you ll notice the raw looking purplish part of the head. Why would anyone plate cooked and uncooked seafood together?  This put a damper on the goodness of the dish .

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We had a side order of garlic and beef fried rice and shrimp fried rice. The rice did not blow me away but it wasn’t bad either. I preferred the garlic and beef fried rice though because it had more flavour.

We didn’t bother with desserts because we super stuffed and also because the  menu didn’t look too interesting, I don’t remember what they had on it. It would be nice to go to a  speciality  restaurant  and they ll have desserts accordingly . Even if it’s ice cream you have for dessert , surely there has to be a certain way it is served. Abi am I asking for too much?

I went to the restroom to do an assessment, whilst it was not unclean but  it was not spotless either. There was water on the floor and it smelled a musky.

As a diner, my advice to this establishment is to school their waiters on the meals they serve.They kept going back to ask another waiter or the chef what the dish was about.  It is imperative to tell them the importance of good hygiene. I don’t want someone leaning over or opening their mouth to describe something and I almost pass out from the  smell. That’s not too much to ask for is it?

Would I go back there?….Yes

We paid (N27,800- $143) for 2 entrees, 3 main dishes, 3 mocktails and a bottle of water

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambiance / Aesthetics- 6.5

Quality of food- 7.5

Value for money- 8

Customer Service- 6.5

SAKURA RESTAURANT

 2A,Saka Jojo street off Idejo street,

Victoria Island

Lagos

090990409363

Thank you for always reading.

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

 

 

SPICE ROUTE- THE REVIEW

Wednesday, 10. 04p.m

Hey everyone,

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).

spice bar 04spice bar 08spice bar 10When 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.

spice bar 01Whilst 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.

spice bar 02We 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.

spice bar 03spice bar 12For 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.

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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.

spice bar 07spice bar 09spice bar 11We paid (N 28,290-$171) for 2 appetizers, 2 main entrees, 2 sides, 9 drinks. (I  am wondering why we had to pay for rice or naan bread as  side orders , shouldn’t a side dish be served with a sauce?)

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

SPICE ROUTE

36, Adeola  Odeku street

Victoria Island

08080208080, 01-7615555