Carlitos – The review

Monday, 7.25 P.M,

Hey y’all

Every new year comes with new aspirations right? This year I have decided to change tactics. Remember how I would say I didn’t think it was appropriate to review new restaurants? I met someone recently who made me see reason why it is important to review them; it’s funny that even this blog’s demographics points towards that too. So hurray to those wanted that. So you see, I do listen.

This review was done at the relaunched Carlitos restaurant & lounge. It used to be in VGC  but it has recently moved to Victoria Island. The main dinning room itself isn’t particularly big but the space was well utilized. It will probably sit about 40 people on the inside and about 10 guests dinning alfresco. The decor in the dinning room was not wow but it was neat and  well put together.

Whilst we waited for Fregz (it was his birthday) to come, we ordered the virgin mojito(N1800-$8) and Prawn spring roll (N1,800-$8). We must have read the menu wrongly because we assumed that it was prawns and mayonnaise spring roll because when it came, it didn’t have mayonnaise. Instead, it was served with coleslawsliced lettuce, dinner rolls and sweet & sour sauce as a side dip. It was slightly different, in that the spring rolls were smaller sized. It tasted nice albeit a bit dry but then I can attribute that to the fact that we were accustomed to eating it with mayonnaise which moistens the inside. We tried it with the sweet and sour chilli sauce and it definitely tasted better. The cole slaw and dinner  rolls on the other hand were not particularly fresh but it was not off either…you just know these things. We also had a problem with the plating  of this dish- the plate was too small and there was too much going on with it.See picture below

 

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We got tired of waiting for the birthday boy so we just went ahead and ordered our mains. We ordered the 7- hour braised beef oxtail with pesto rice and grilled vegetables and The Chicago Style  BBQ Pork Ribs with French fries, cole slaw and corn salsa. Na hin we begin wait oh. The food took about 40 minutes to be served. Hiaan!

Finally, the food made an appearance by which time, the birthday boy had come too . Pheww! Did I hear someone say about time?  He ordered the Spanish Jumbo Prawns with  Gnocchi and Pesto oil. Thankfully, this didn’t take too long to come.

We decided to split all the meals. We started with Renee’s Chicago style barbeque pork ribs (N5,880- $28). The menu described it as “fall off the bone tender…” but it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it was not hard but it definitely was not fall off the bone tender. It was neatly seasoned  with the marinade and then grilled. We cleaned it out in no time with the fries, the coleslaw and the corn salsa on the hand were left  untouched because they didn’t taste fresh. Am I alone in believing that ribs are best enjoyed with your fingers? i.e the bone crushing  African way ?

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We moved on to my 7 hours braised beef oxtail served with grilled vegetables and pesto rice. (N7800-$36 ). Hmnnn. I doubt the veracity of how long  this was cooked for because if meat was cooked for that long and it doesn’t soak up all the seasoning and juices of the broth, then “na abami meat you cook oh” this was the case of the oxtail. It either was not properly seasoned or cooked long enough in the broth . In this case I reckon it was both. The oxtail could have tasted better if it was better seasoned and it was not soft for something that had  been cooked as long as they said it was cooked for. Eating it with fork and knife was “getting long” so we used our hands *covers face* . The pesto rice wasn’t any better even with salt added.The seasoned and grilled peppers and carrots on the other hand were  amazing. They were crisp and nicely seasoned.

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Then came  Fregz’s Jumbo Spanish Prawns (N7,800 – $36).  The visual appearance of this was appealing. It was by far the best looking dish of the night. I stopped for a second when it came. Three  jumbo prawns were opened up , seasoned and grilled. It sounds pretty simple right? If only I could cook it like that . The icing on this prawns was the charred  lime! Yup you heard it, the lime was charred. I knew lemon and seafood was a great combination but the grilled lime took it  on a whole new level of deliciousness. I don’t think the sweet and sour sauce on this was appropriate.

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This was my first time eating Gnocchi  as an accompaniment , i have always had it as an entree. Gnocchi is dumpling cooked in thick rich creamy sauce . This was a very good interpretation but I am not sure it worked with the prawns it was served with. It looked like 2 separate dishes. If I were the chef, I would serve the gnocchi on its own tossed with mid sized prawns… But then I am not. Hehehehe.

Before the birthday boy came, we had requested that the chef made the dessert extra special for him. For desserts, we ordered their Apple pie (N2400-$11) nsogbu! N2400 for Apple pie in Lagos! When I saw this price I asked if it was the whole apple tree that would be put in it. The dessert was served by a singing waitress, boy!! She could singgggg. For that voice?, I will pay 2500 sef. We had to make her do it a second time and it was just as good!  Well the apple pie itself didn’t do it for any of us. I am not a fan of serving it cold or lukewarm, I like apple pie hot. This was served almost cold. Hmnnn, i didn’t like the presentation either- a large chunk of apple pie on a plate and then there were 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream on another plate. I didn’t understand the logic behind serving the ice cream in a different plate.  The apple pie didn’t werk for me at all. It’s not value for money and it didn’t taste great. Why are desserts so pricey at these restaurants?

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I did a round of the restroom and it was sparkling .

Would I go back there? Yes

We paid (N30,960- $144) for 2 entrees, 3 mains , 1 dessert, 2 bottles of water and 2 non alcoholic cocktails. Whilst writing this post , I realized we over paid by N1,200. The menu advertised the Prawns spring roll as N1,800 but our bill had N2,400 per portion. Oya make una do refund shaparly!

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambiance / Aesthetics- 7.5

Quality of food- 7

Value for money- 7.5

Customer Service- 8.5

 

CARLITOS RESTAURANT

 Oju olobun street,

Victoria Island

Lagos

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.

 

 

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R.S.V.P – THE REVIEW

Sunday,  7.35 p.m

Happy New year!!!

How are you all doing? I have been very lazy to blog about food and other things i love doing. To those that have asked if I have lost the passion for food blogging , it’s an absolute No…I have just been caught up with all sorts. I will endeavour to do better this year… 1 post at a time, so help me Lord.  🙂

I am always skeptical about reviewing new restaurants but I didn’t have a choice in this case. My dear friend “uncle J”  goaded me into it.  We reviewed R.S.V.P restaurant . It has only been opened for about seven weeks or thereabouts.

R.S.V.P restaurant is a mid sized  fusion restaurant that sits about 40 people. The decor had this minimalist monochrome feel to it…you know that barely there , no fuss but elegant feel to a room? That is it! The dinning area had several long line tufted sofas with individual tables that were neatly laid out with personalised napkins and well polished cutlery . To a corner, sat a mini bar and a cashier’s desk.

A waiter introduced himself and handed us the menus. The dishes listed on the menu were a breathe of fresh air. It was somewhat tilted  towards the middle eastern cuisine. It didn’t have the fancy exaggeration of a typical restaurant menu in Lagos. Straight to the point , no fuss descriptions. I do not remember what the drinks menu listed but we sha ordered something.

For our drinks, we ordered the Pina colada and the Naija spritz. For food, we asked the waiter for recommendations and he told us everything was delicious. To me , he sounded like he was not conversant with the dishes on the menu. Uncle J took laws into his hands  and almost shut down the kitchen with all the food he ordered. Our starters were the Salt & pepper cauliflower, the Quinoa crunch salad and the fish machos. For mains, we ordered the fish fillet & chicken tajeen. For dessert, we had the chocolate almond tart a la mode. Hmnnn, all these for 2 people?

I don’t know why I bother ordering mocktails in restaurants. They always fail to impress me. My Pina colada (N1,900-$10) was too watered down to make sense to me, it had more ice than the drink mix itself. I was told the Naija spritz (N2,200) was watered down too. So there’s nothing to review here. Why do these guys charge premium for drinks and still can’t get it right?

When the starters came, I was confused for a second. The three came together. The question was which to start with. We went with the fish machos. The fish machos (1900-$10) was flaked sauteed fish mixed with cream or mayo, spring onions and thinly sliced red peppers . It was served on crisp plantain tacos. It was finished off with delicious sun dried tomatoes. The combination worked so well. I found the plantain crisp a tad oily.

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The second starter was the Quinoa crunch salad (N3,400- $17). Before this review, I had been anti – quinoa… just because it’s usurping my beloved rice’ s place, all in the name of fit fam and this healthy eating fad. I am not anti healthy eating but biko leave my rice. Anyway before I digressed, this quinoa crunch salad is the best thing I have eaten in a while. It seemed rather simply done but it had the right balance of everything. The cooked quinoa was tossed with juicy tomatoes, apples, olive oil, watercress and spring onions. Sesame seeds were supposed to make an appearance somewhere in the mix but I didn’t see it. This dish is not something I would have ordered on a regular day but I am glad I did. We both decided it deserved an ace!

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The third starter was the Salt and pepper cauliflower(N2200-$11.5). If you have read enough of my post, you would know I don’t fancy breaded foods. I didn’t have a problem with this because the menu said the batter was light. If you are doing fit fam ,“don’t tink it oh”..Yes it’s vegetables,  but fried vegetables with batter on it equals a milli calories. Or you can be like me, you eat it and pay the penance later. This was cauliflower seasoned with salt and black Pepper, lightly battered and fried. It was crunchy and fresh. I found this a little oily as well. It was served with chili tahini dip. I had not heard of this dip before but I didn’t like it because it had a somewhat bitter after taste. It looked and tasted kinda like hummus but it didn’t work for either of us so we left it.It was nice even without the tahini dip.

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The mains were brought and we started with the fish fillet (N6200-$33) served with steamed rice. The plating was a problem here, see picture below. The rice was in a small cast iron skillet, the sauce in a bowl and the fish fillet on the plate. The plate looked stark. I don’t know what they could have done better but this plating didn’t werk for me. The concept behind the dish was nice but it was bland. This dish was two breaded fish fillets, sandwiched with a spicy filling in the middle and then baked. It didn’t have salt and it was overcooked . The sauce that accompanied this was not properly seasoned and it was not reduced enough so it was too light for the fish. This did not work for me. I also felt this was overpriced.IMG-20150123-WA0004

The menu described the chicken tajeen (N4500-$24)  as pomegranate chicken served with couscous and Moroccan spices.This was  iffy for me. The sugar/sweetener in the sauce used to marinate this chicken was over the top. I didn’t fancy this at all. The chicken was tender but the sauce  was poured over it so we didn’t eat it. We could have sent it back but we decided to let it slide.

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The dessert menu was not particularly interesting so we settled for chocolate tart a la mode (N3000-$15). When you order dessert a la mode it means that it is served with an accompaniment i.e ice cream or sorbet. The waiter brought our tart and it was not a la mode, I asked him why, he said that was the way their a la mode was served. I asked him to go back to the chef to ask . He came back to retrieve the plate. He came back with the tart served with vanilla ice cream. This is one of the best desserts I have had in a restaurant in Lagos!!! The chocolate filling was rich, smooth and not too sweet. If you have trained palette for chocolate, you will know premium chocolate was used. The tart shell was crisp and nice. The ice cream was smooth and creamy. We thought it was a known store bought brand but the waiter said it was made on site. Who were we to argue? Errr, I had a problem with the pricing. I wasn’t expecting a whole tart or anything of that sort but this dessert for N3,000 was pricey!

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I took a trip to the restroom and it was spotless..

Would I go back there? For that quinoa crunch salad and chocolate tart? Oh yes!!

We paid N24,650-$130 for 3 starters, 2 mains , 1 dessert and 2 mocktails

 

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambiance / Aesthetics- 9

Quality of food- 7

Value for money- 6

Customer Service- 8

 

R.S.V.P RESTAURANT

9, Eletu Ogabi  street,

Victoria Island

Lagos

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.

SKY RESTAURANT

Hello good people,

I can’t believe it’s August  already. We were screaming happy new year like 2 minutes ago. I hope you are doing well. An article I recently read got me thinking –  Is it right for premium restaurant or restaurants generally  to run a No-Kids policy? This particular restaurant’s reason was that some customers complained that noisy kids distracted them from enjoying their meals and/or just generally ruined the ambience of their outing. What saith thou? Kids or No Kids?

It was our wedding anniversary last week, so Mr U and I went to Sky Restaurant for dinner. Sky Restaurant is probably the highest restaurant in Lagos. It is housed at  the penthouse of Eko Hotel and Suites with views to die for. Depending on where you are seated, your view could either be the Atlantic Ocean or the city view. On entry, to the right is the lounge whilst to the left is the  formal dinning room.

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I can’t particularly put a theme to the decor but it seemed kinda dated for what the restaurant was touted to be.There were the sequined see – through curtains acting as wall divider. The dining room had traditional dinning chairs and tables which were nicely laid. It was not out of sync but it was not particularly grand. I am of firm opinion that decor in Lagos restaurants has evolved beyond this.  I later found out from the waiter that the restaurant  would be closed for about a month for renovations and redecoration so  I am guessing that they know too.

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We arrived at about 5.30P.M, to be told that dinner service was not until 6P.M. We decided to have aperitifs , errr not exactly aperitifs  because we ended up with a mocktail. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t pay attention to the name so I can’t tell you what I ordered. I didn’t like the way it looked and even the presentation was not  great ( mismatched straws and boring old glass) but it tasted really nice…. I left it for a bit  because I got carried away with loloxing  and  the drink became layered. You could see the cream layer and whatever else was added to it had its own separate layer as well, not a pleasant sight.  I asked for nuts to “hold belle” and the “oncle” brought me some dodgy looking peanuts with the skin on. Issshh, I cant shout abeg. The next thing will be garri, ice cubes and bowl. This is a premium restaurant for pete’s sake!

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At 6P.M prompt, a smartly dressed waitress introduced herself and showed us to our table. We opted for city view. Did I mention how gorgeous it was? Pardon me for repeating it but I felt like I was floating in the sky (exaggeration). The menu was a fusion menu. It had Italian, Asian, French and American dishes. Well, having a wide variety on your menu is one thing, availability is another.

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We ordered the assorted seafood tempura as a starter, Grilled Salmon with stuffed vegetables with dill beure blanc ( ina su oyinbo), Roasted lamb rack, oven grilled eggplant  with mozzarella and  rosemary juice.  We added a side order of Hong Kong rice. For dessert, we ordered the Brooklyn choco mousse cake with pistachio  ice cream and chocolate sauce. Those are really long names I know but no be my fault oh, na so dem write am.

After about 10 minutes, sisi waitress said there was no seafood tempura so we ordered  sushi instead. We ordered the sweet sixteen roll sushi and whilst we waited, she brought a basket of assorted dinner rolls with butter. How predictable! Why does it always have to be dinner rolls?

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Eventually, the sushi came and it was nicely plated. Sweet sixteen roll sushi ( N3700-$22) had  smoked salmon, avocado, cream cheese, shredded cucumber and shrimps rolled into the rice. It was served with wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce. The rice had the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness and it didn’t smell fishy at all. (If you order sushi and it smells fishy, it means it’s not top grade sushi even if it has fish – no be me talk am oh, na my Japanese chef friend talk am). If you can not tolerate pepper (spicy food) please steer clear of wasabi.I learnt the hard way years ago.

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Our main courses with the Hong Kong rice came at the same time. We decided to start with the Grilled Salmon  with dill beure blanc and stuffed vegetables (N7200-$44). I don’t know if I can  say it was well plated or it was neatly arranged. I will leave you to be the judge (see picture attached).  Whilst I can’t make up on my mind on the plating, there were no doubts about how beautifully done this entree was.The outside of the Salmon was crisp and the pink insides was moist and nicely seasoned. The addition of the creamy dill beurre blanc (butter reduction sauce) was a perfect accompaniment to the fish. Even the vegetables was nicely seasoned and steamed but it was not stuffed like the menu described it to be. We cleaned out the plate in minutes! This dish deserved an ace but I am being stingy because I had to pay for a side dish. The Hong  Kong rice (N2,400-$14.5) was not great, I found the rice to be a tad oily and over cooked. 

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The second entree was the Roasted lamb rack served with oven grilled egg plant, mozzarella and rosemary juice (N6,800-$41). I requested not to have the grilled egg plant because I don’t particularly fancy it. Yet again, plating was an issue for me. Or was I the one expecting too much? The picture always tells the story, have a look. I have repented from ordering overcooked meat  so  when the waiter asked how cooked I wanted it, I ordered medium- well.  I had no idea what rosemary juice  was whilst ordering but it was sooo good with the lamb. It was probably reduced broth spiced with rosemary….my guess.  It was a perfect  match with the tender chops which incidentally was not as fatty as I knew it to be. It was nicely seasoned too. We had this with Hong Kong rice.

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For desserts, we had ordered the Brooklyn Choco mousse cake with pistachio ice cream (N2950-$18) but we had to change the order because it was not available or something like that- I really don’t remember. So, we opted for the Chocolate Bavarois (N2,950-$18) which was not  listed on the menu,it was recommended by the waitress. We were mistakened  for another couple who had made a reservation for their anniversary on that day as well. We told the waiter who asked  we had not made any reservations but it was our anniversary as well. So when the Bavarois came, it was with the waiters singing with candles on our Bavarois. They actually put in an effort with the whole presentation. The plating came into play yet again. The Bavarois was just there, it didn’t leave me wanting more. For one, it would have tasted better with less gelatine. The chocolate was not top notch either or maybe it was that,it was not properly tempered because it was grainy.

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The restrooms were well apportioned and kept sparkling.

We paid  about N26,000 ($157) for 1 starter, 2 entrees, 1 dessert, 1mocktail and a bottle of water.

Would I go back there? Oh Yes

NOTE: This is more pricey than your average Lagos restaurant , so be well prepared if you don’t want to wash plates o. #justsaying

 MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambiance / Aesthetics- 8

Quality of food- 9

Value for money- 7

Customer Service- 9

SKY RESTAURANT

Eko Hotels & Suites

Victoria Island

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.

 

 

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.