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

 

cls

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 ?

CLX

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.

cl3

cl4

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.

cl6

cl5

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?

cl7

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.

 

 

Advertisements

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.

la taverna 5jpg

la taverna 6jpg

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!!!

la taverna 4jpg

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.

la taverna 3

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.

la taverna 1

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.

la taverna 2

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

.

 

BASILICO ITALIAN RESTAURANT- THE REVIEW

Tuesday, 5.15P.M

Hello Gorgeous,

How are you all?  The Nigerian circle on social media was agog this past week because Miss Kemi Adetiba, a renowned video producer was refused entry into Spice Route restaurant on Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island.  She was refused entry because she was not accompanied by a male . Yes! You read right. I know they have a right to who they admit and all..  but  biko , since when did we need to have male escorts to eat out  or even get soial? Only in Lagos. Absolute balderdash! What’s your take on this? Kemi, (if you happen to see this), even though you are always taunting me with food pictures and harassing my eyes, me thinks you should sue the pants off them for gender discrimination.   * straight faced*

I went out on a dinner date with my dear friend Fola  of the stylefash25 blog. We went to the newly opened Basilico Italian Restaurant on Musa  Yaradua street,Victoria Island.  There was just something warm about the restaurant that drew me in. I tried to figure it out before we  left the place, but I couldn’t . Probably  because I was too carried away with chatting with my dear friend.  I felt the room was a tad sterile with white walls and an odd painting here and there. They had traditional seats with  nicely laid out tables. The best word to describe this would be Warm and Comfortable. OK, I know that’s two words. : ).   There was also an outdoor eating area, this area would be my choice any day of the week if it the weather was fine. I have not uploaded any pictures of the interior of the restaurant  because, the manger came to us and requested that we didn’t take pictures  because management didn’t allow it.

basilico 256

For once in Lagos, an Italian restaurant is sticking to Italian foods only! No continental meals or a few Nigerian dishes to make the menu look “full”. They had straight up Italian foods. Even the wines and digestivos were Italian . The menu was loaded with Italian yumminess, from salads to soups, bruschetta,  cheeses, spaghetti,  risotto,  ravioli, lasagna  etc.

We ordered the Assorted starter – Basilico style, the artichoke  ravioli with shrimps and basil sauce, Ossobuco creole sauce and saffron rice and mousse al cafe as our dessert. We also ordered  2 glasses of red wine~( I dont remeber the names ) whilst we waited for our food to come.

The waiter came with the bottle of wine, and asked if we wanted to taste it first.  Hmmnn in Lagos?  She gave us tasters and we said we liked it, she filled our glasses. The wine  was served with complementary  fish balls and cherry tomatoes. Oh Lawd, please don’t let this free fish balls be IGG,- if you don’t know what IGG is, I cant help ya … The fish ball was OFF THE HOOK! I  don’t know what kind of fish  was used but it was very well seasoned and it was piping hot! I kinda thought it would have been nicer with some sort of sauce with it, maybe a sweet chilli sauce , but then that’s hardly Italian right? With or without the sauce , it was all forms of amazing.

Basilico 1

The Assorted Starter-Basilico way (N1500-$9) was a combination of Grana cheese cuts, Smoked ham, seasoned yellow bell peppers with cheese and a mini serving of  chicken salad. Move over Dr Dolls, this chef is my new besto….yes I agree that i am a friend for food.  This chef sure knew a way to my belly. I wish  there was a picture of me savouring this starter, that would be some picture though.  The yellow bell peppers was tossed in olive oil,  shaved cheese and some black pepper and  probably some secret seasoning, . the chicken salad was not a salad per se , it was well marinated chicken tossed with carrots. it was my first time having Grana cheese , i liked it . All these “elements” put together was one fantastic combination.

Basilico 2

When we were placing our order for our entree , we requested that the entrees were to be brought together , uncle waiter brought the Artichoke Ravioli with the starter so we sent it back.  On hindsight, we shouldn’t have, we should  just  have enjoyed it whilst it was still hot because by the time he brought it back, it was warm. The Artichoke Ravioli( N3,500-$20) was freshly made ravioli pasta that was stuffed with artichoke and shrimps, . it was served with  basil sauce and some grilled tomatoes. I liked the plating of this dish. The chef added colour to it with the sauce stained plate, the tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. For me, this meal was an ACE! I  had no complaints .

basilico 3

The Ossobuco creole sauce with Saffron rice (N3,500-$20) – this was browned and braised veal that was  cooked sooo tender that it came off the fork without any hassles. The creole sauce was a first for me so I didn’t know what to expect. Alas! It was  brown spiced  gravy. I liked it. It worked well with the veal. I however did not like the Saffron rice. First it was cold and secondly, it was bland. Even salt and black pepper didn’t make it better. It was risotto-ish. I am not a fan of risotto so maybe that is why I didn’t fancy it. To me, risotto is soggy rice, unless I have never had it good. If i am wrong, can someone recommend  a good place to get fab risotto in Lagos?

basilico 4

We called for the desserts menu and I was disappointed. There was no Tiramisu on the list. An Italian restaurant without Tiramisu? What a shame. They had about 3 or 4 items on the desserts menu, ice cream, creme brulee and Mousse al cafe. We opted for Mousse al cafe (N900-$5). I didn’t like the way it was presented but it was delicious. it was a chocolate mousse  with a layer of what I suspected to be condensed milk , it was finished off with a dusting of cocoa powder. The contrast of the unsweetened cocoa powder to the sweetness of the mousse created a perfect balance to this dish. I would still have wanted my Tiramisu but this sufficed in this instance.

basilico 296

After all the food indulgence , I decided to visit the restroom. Hmnnnnn. I wasn’t impressed one bit. The restroom smelled musky, it was a full sized bathroom with a standard sized bath tub in it. Chai chai.…, this people fall my hand no be small! To make matters worse, when you finish doing your business in there, you would have to use the same towel that probably 10 others before you have used .Not a good way to end such foodie goodness. I hope their management will come across this post and do something pronto.

At a little corner in the restaurant, sat a delicatessen, where they had Italian goodies from savoiardi biscuits, virgin olive oil, espresso , all sorts of pastas. Well, since Tiramisu wasn’t available in the restaurant, I bought espresso and Savioradi to make my own Tiramisu at home.

We paid N 11,650-$67  for 1 starter, 2 entrees, 1 dessert, 2 glasses of wine,and a bottle of water. All taxes were inclusive. Be sure to have cash , as their POS machine wasn’t working on the day we visited.

Would i go back? ASSOLUTAMENTE!!! ( Thank God for google translation)

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambiance / Aesthetics- 7

Quality of food-  9

Value for money- 9

Customer Service- 8.

 

BASILICO ITALIAN RESTAURANT

15, Musa  Yaradua street,

Victoria Island

08068447246

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.

 

 

 

355 RESTAURANT & LOUNGE – THE REVIEW

Thursday, 10. 06P.M,

Hey People,

How have you been? I know I went AWOL yet again. I apologize, its been rather hectic at work . The life of an entrepreneur in this town is not for the lily- livered . May God bless the hustle.

I don’t particularly fancy reviewing  new restaurants but quite a number of people have spoken to me about this restaurant so I finally caved in. I chose to go during the week because restaurants are generally calmer then, unlike weekends when the chefs have to work under so much pressure.

I asked my friends who recommended 355 Restaurant what they liked most about it  and they unanimously said it was the theme.  The decor is New- York themed- places, landmarks etc . The furniture and lighting were contemporary, with a slight twist with stone wall tiles. They had street name tags adorning the walls. At the reception, there was a large framed picture of the Brooklyn bridge with a backdrop of the New York skyline. The menu cards were done like New York subway map. This was quite ingenious in my opinion. I really fancied the fact that it was a No Smoking restaurant. Phewww! Good bye to the smell of stale dinning rooms. This is quite a small restaurant, but the space was well utilized.  I felt it was kinda tight …. a little bit

355 Restaurant 3

355 Restaurant 8

355 restaurant 2We were met by a smiling waiter who introduced herself and showed us to a table, we sat for a couple of minutes and decided to change tables. We realized we were sat near the rest rooms. while it didn’t smell foul, it was quite odorous with a strong disinfectant smell emanating from there .

355 Restaurant 7

We were handed the drinks  and  food menu. The menu was quite extensive… hopefully they had everything they advertised. They  had some Mexican , Italian and American staples. Breakfast was available all day too! Will it still be called breakfast though? hahaha. Anyway, I ordered a bottle of coke ( I had been craving this BADLY) with some corn chips and salsa. My date wanted nuts but they didn’t have any, so he opted to share  the corn chips. For the meals, we ordered the Chicken salad, Prawns Aoili, smoked Salmon with mashed potatoes.

Our drinks , Corn chips and Salsa ( N700- $4) came together. I loved the corn chips, the salsa was a No-No, it was way too watery and it tasted off . I can’t explain it. I told the waitress who promptly took it away and replaced it with another bowl, this time less watery but just as off and bland. I had my corn chips plain.

355 restaurant 1

The food took a bit to come. I was taken a little bit aback when the salad  I ordered as a starter came together with the main course. we had to keep the salad aside to go for the mains otherwise they would both cake up. We decided to share both meals so that we could have a fair assessment of the meals

We started with the Prawns Aoili  (N3000-$17), I didn’t particularly enjoy the pasta in this dish.  It was cooked right but it wasn’t memorable . For starters, it was almost cold. I  had to ask for salt and black pepper because it was bland. Could the chef have forgotten to add seasoning? The pasta was served with chili sauce. I don’t fancy spicy food per se but I decided to try some of this. It then dawned on me that maybe the  chili sauce was meant to be mixed in. I added some to the pasta and it tasted much better. So what happens to people that don’t eat spicy food? Will they be forced to eat this too? I felt like I was eating pasta and stew with Prawns. Talking about the Prawns, I don’t know what the chef did to it, but it was delicious!

355 restaurant 6

355 restaurant 4

We promptly moved to the baked Salmon and mashed potatoes (N5500-$31) . When I was ordering this,  I don’t remember the sauce she said it would come with it, but  I know she asked me to choose. When the meal was served, it was without any sauce or gravy (see picture below). Was I supposed to chow down the mash and salmon like that?  so I asked her. She came  with the same spicy chilli sauce. My date asked me  if the sauce was  generic to all their meals.  I didn’t have an answer oh. As always, I added black pepper to my mash. First bite- cold mashed potatoes with lumps in it! o ga oh, ( its possible that the mashed potatoes got cold because we did the pasta first) but then how long  did it take to eat the Pasta? The mash was cold and lumpy but it tasted alright. The Salmon was BEAUTIFULLY done, moist on the inside and the outside  was slightly crisp. I could live on this for days, I decided to try it with the spicy sauce. It was even better. I must have downed a  50 cl bottle of water just to water down the sting of the sauce. It was way too spicy for me but it tasted darned good.

355 restaurant 5

After all that water and spice, my tummy could take no more , I didn’t touch the salad. I requested  for it to be packed as take away. I had over done it. I didn’t bother looking at the dessert menu.

All that food ,water and spice had driven me to lazy mode. ( covers face in shame). I did not check the restrooms out but if I could smell the disinfectant from outside, I wonder what it smelled like inside.

Are you wondering why I didn’t write about the salad?  Well, I was so high on water and spicy sauce that I forgot to take the packed salad. I remembered when I was miles away. I called the restaurant to ask why it wasn’t given to me. The gentleman I spoke to apologized and was nice enough to offer me another salad whenever I was in the neighborhood.

There is an outdoor lounge / smoking area. Right by the parking area. (I forgot to take a picture)

Would I go back there? For that Salmon, oh yes!

For 2 bottles of coke, 1 bottle of water, 1 starter, 2 mains and 1 appetizer, we paid N14,580. All taxes inclusive.

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambiance / Aesthetics- 7

Quality of food-  7

Value for money- 6

Customer Service- 8.5

355 RESTAURANT & LOUNGE 

9A,Oko- Awo close

Victoria Island

Lagos

08079213638

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.

GINGER TAPAS N GRILLS

Sunday, 11.45 P.M

Hello My Lovelies,

SWEEPSTAKES

I promised to do another sweepstake and here it is. Another opportunity to review  a restaurant with me.

In 50 words or less, tell me your best or worst  dinning  experience f0r 2013.

To Enter:

1.Please send me an email with the subject title   – MY BEST OR WORST  DINNING EXPERIENCE OF 2013  to thecriticng@gmail.com

2.You must be 18 0r older.

3. Since this is for theservicecriticng.com  faithfuls, you must follow @pejuu on twitter, subscribe for the newsletter on this site  OR  follow thepejuu on Instagram.

This sweepstake ends by midnight on the 26th January,2014. The winner will be announced shortly after .

You are probably tired of all the “Happy New Year song” so I wont add to the headache of the broadcast. I wish you an “awesometastic” year ahead. The word  “awesometatsic”  was borrowed  from Toke Makinwa by the way.

GINGER TAPAS N GRILLS

I recently discovered  a tapas restaurant in Lagos – Ginger Tapas N Grill. For those that don’t know what a tapas is, tapas are Spanish appetizers or mini Spanish cuisines. The idea is to order  different  tapas to make a full meal. The decor and layout were quite nicely done in bright colours and  contemporary furnishing.  To one side sits a semi open kitchen ( you can see the chefs making the meals but not the meal itself .  next to this, is a cozy lounge with soft lighting and comfy sofas adding  a homely touch to it. On the opposite side of the lounge  is the main dinning room. The main dinning room will sit about 40 people. I would like to describe this restaurant as a laid back place you can have a decent meal and a nice conversation.Ginger's Tapas & Grill. 8 JPG*I apologise for this grainy picture*

I don’t particularly remember what drinks menu had but it was not exactly extensive . I ordered the White sangria – N1800 ($10) and Miss diva ordered Chapman N1000-($6).Whilst we waited for the drinks, the food menu was handed to us. The food menu was more of  Spanish staples with a Nigerian twist to it.  They had cold and hot tapas ,desserts and some continental dishes.The drinks came promptly and we ordered our meals. My white sangria was nice, my only complain was that it was not chilled. We ordered Guacamole and Chips, Empanadas,  Cinnatains,  Smoked salmon salad, Molten brownie with ice cream.. yeah I know it seems like a lot for two chics to eat but remember they are tapas!Ginger's Tapas & Grill 2

First up was the Guacamole and chips-N2200($13). Guacamole is basically an avocado dip/sauce usually served with chips or fries.  I didn’t read the smaller prints  properly to see that this  Guacamole was served with tortilla not like there was anything wrong with it. I was just more conversant with it being served with nachos. I didn’t knock it off though, when it came, It looked quite nice and it was not just slapped on the plate. We tried it and both loved it. We gobbled it all in no time and almost asked for seconds, but then I realized that there was no point . we had other dishes coming. We did order a second helping of the tortilla though because we had some Guacamole left. Well worth it.Ginger's Tapas & Grill 1

Next up was the Empanadas-2300 ($13). You can liken Empanadas to samosas or meatpie. i.e stuffed dough, baked or fried. We had the option of minced meat or chicken. We opted for minced meat served with a salsa dip. There were 2 large pieces cut down into 4. It was quite nicely made.The salsa was amazing. I know they are tapas, hence the portion, but the money paid, was not commensurate to what was served. I have decided to overlook this because it was very well executed. Still…

Ginger's Tapas & Grill 3

The smoked salmon salad- N6000- ($35)  was served next and I was impressed with the presentation. At this point, I had to send my compliments to the chef. The ” smoking salmon salad” as the menu called it was  grilled chunky salmon  served on a bed of beets, greens, aubergine , carrots and tomatoes. It was garnished with breadsticks.  I am no lover of beets but this was different, I absolutely loved it in this salad. I found the grilled salmon a  little oily but it didn’t take anything away from the deliciousness of the salad. I could eat this all day, everyday- well if it was free of course. At 6K a pop?  all day , everyday will probably be twice a year. Maybe Ginger TapaS n Grill is for Lagos bigz boyz and gehlz. Dont judge this girl please.

Ginger's Tapas & Grill.4JPGThe Cinnatains N600($3.5) as you may have guessed, is fried plantains dusted with cinnamon syrup or sauce. I wasn’t particularly keen on this . I guess its because I have gotten used to eating my plaintain seasoned with salt. It could also be because the plantain was not cooked through. It did not werk for me.

Ginger's Tapas & Grill. 5 JPG

I almost always have room for desserts….dessert time is my happy time. For dessserts we ordered the molten brownie with ice cream. N1,800-($11) .Hmmnn, when this came, My dear restauranteur letter came to mind. I was pained, for me to have complimented the chef on his presentation  earlier and then he serves me dry cake (mini cupcake) as brownie and then serves it with runny grainy vanilla ice cream is a slap on my face, I almost sent it back but Miss Diva said we should leave it. Plus we paid premium for it! Who pays N1,800 for brownies and ice cream? well in Lagos we do! Common guys, you have good stuff going on here! why mess it up with the dessert?  … and the price too. Get a pastry chef or send them off to be trained properly. This put such a damper on everything for us. My diva of a friend  decided to eat the cinnatains with the ice cream, what normal person does that anyway? Hmmnn… silence is golden. She said she imagined it to be her favourite dessert, banana fosters. ishhh.

Ginger's Tapas & Grill. 6 JPGWhilst we were waiting for the bill, the owner came round to ask how our meals went ,  she introduced herself to us. I found her amiable and savvy about being a restauranteur. We shared our opinions with her and  she wrote them down. Hopefully they’ll look into some of our complaints we laid. We inspected the restrooms and it was sparkling clean.

When we were leaving, we discovered there was a gazebo outside for the grills and alfresco dining. I loved it. I know that’s where I would definitely stay the next time I visit.Ginger's Tapas & Grill. 7 JPG

For four tapas ,1 dessert, 2 drinks and a bottle of water, we paid N 16,650- ($98). What saith thou?  Pricey I would say.

Would I  go back there?  Most definitely.

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambience / Aesthetics- 8

Quality of food-  7

Value for money- 7

Customer Service- 8

GINGER TAPAS N GRILLS

The Cosmopolitan

6A, Ologun Agbaje  street

Victoria Island.

0706969097, 08187813511

PRIMI PIATTI ITALIAN FUSION RESTAURANT-THE REVIEW

Monday 12.00P.M

Salut Gourmandes,

How have you all been? Thanks to all those who sent me  names of places  to add to the list. This girl went on an eating out spree this past week. I probably weigh a million tonnes right now, its time to hit the gym…..I soo need motivation because I have become  lazy ( well not to eat sha).

I have heard mixed reviews from  friends who have visited  Primi Piatti. Nowadays, before I go to any restaurants to dine, I check online just to be have an idea of the menu and what the restaurant is all about. The site described it as an “Italian fusion fine dining  restaurant  with international celebrity chef, Chef Reme Calvin Obaseki”. Sounds good right?

I went to critique this restaurant with a lover of all things luxurious,  Miss Luxury herself … Omu. I knew I was in for a good time. When we drove into the complex, I was shocked. Did I read the description wrongly?  The compound wasn’t much to write about! It had all sorts littering everywhere, from generators to mechanical parts and all. I didn’t know what to think, if Miss Luxury Event Planner had been here and she was willing to come back then, there’s hope yet.

pp8

pp2pp3I felt a little better  when  I got inside.  It was not luxurious by any means but the  tables were  quite nicely laid out. The décor wasn’t  particularly grand infact it was rather casual…(not the tables) In my opinion it was a casual dining restaurant. The most outstanding thing about Primi Piatti was the view, the open deck overlooks the Lagos lagoon, it should be fabulous for alfresco dining. If you are dining alfresco, you should look out for loungers on a tiny island very close by…Big boy levels thinz.

After  briefly chatting with Chef Reme, the waiter handed us the food menu.  I was not particularly impressed.  Yes, it was Italian fusion restaurant but there were Italian staples missing. I didn’t see any ravioli or risotto or even veal! For our starter we ordered Chicken Parma, for main entrée, we ordered Chicken Campaniola and the Seafood Platter. We were informed when we ordered that there was no calamari available for the seafood platter. Whilst we waited, we were served  warm rosemary and garlic bread. I almost begged for the recipe for the bread, it was  so good: soft and delicious….. and yes it was fresh!  It was so good that it was when we finished eating it that I realized I didnt take any pictures of it. I don’t remember being offered the wine list.

First up was our starter, Chicken Parma (N4200- $26) choi, some of these description of meals can make you drool to the heavens . The menu described this starter as grilled tenderized chicken breast infused with fresh avocado and pepperdews  with Madagascan black pepper and lemon aioli (to the best of my knowledge aioli is aioli, what is lemon aioli again?! Lagos and feferity ) Issokkay.  Well , it was worth that fancy description. The combination of the avocado and black pepper with well seasoned chicken in cream and cheese was very nice.  I found it a little salty , Omu didn’t think it was. This brings me to one question, what do you do with garnishing your food is served with…ie  chopped rosemary ,parsley etc used to garnish your plate? I don’t always mix it in.

pp4

The main entrees came,first up was my Chicken Campaniola( N5,200-$32). The menu described this as tenderized chicken breasts, pan fried and simmered in mustard, parmesan cheese, rosemary and a dash of amarula and mushrooms. Hmnnnm, ina su beekee, my interpretation of this meal was creamy pasta served with smoked chicken…. small portion of smoked chicken at that. We all know that chicken portions are generally large but this meal didn’t make the cut in that regard. Yet again, I found this meal a little salty. To be honest I was  not wowed. I love my pasta but this was ordinary…not what I was expecting to eat at a “fine dining restaurant”.

pp5

Omu’s meal was the Seafood Platter(N 8,250-$51)… I am not sure I know anyone who loves seafood more than this chic. Without looking at the menu, she ordered the seafood platter sans calamari. So i guess its safe to say it  was jumbo prawns with fish … are snails seafood?The seafood platter said it was, I dont  know oh, Please enlgihten me .  It was served with pasta garnished with green and red  peppers.  I apologize for the quality picture, I couldn’t get a better shot. I felt the sauce on it was a bit much so I couldnt get a clear picture of the orisirisi I had some of the prawns with the sauce  and it was nicely done….  well seasoned and cooked to perfection. I asked Omu how she liked the fish and she said it was very nice. The pasta that came with the seafood platter  looked quite nice…. Miss Luxury liked it too.

pp6

pp7There’s a growing trend I have noticed these days when I dine out. When you go through the menu , it states one thing and does another.For example, the menu describes your meal as  grilled chicken and turkey breast stuffed with parmesan cheese wrapped in ham served with  mixed salad and all what not. When  the food  is served, you get FRIED chicken stuffed with cheese and coated in BREAD CRUMBS served with the mixed vegetables. Common restauranteur, if your menu says grilled, it should be grilled not pan fried.., unless specifically requested by the diner. The menu said the seafood platter consisted of  snail, calamari , prawns  and fish. Only two of these were served in the seafood platter. Yet we got charged the same amount, I was not expecting a discount but throw something else in.

I love the fact that  I can watch the chef whilst he’s cooking my meal, but please if you are going to have an open kitchen (Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen style), I would like to suggest that you  have a kitchen nice enough to look at.  I had a problem with the way this kitchen looked and that “grocery store window” didn’t werk for me at all.  I know some of this is a norm, re -the ingredients display window but if you call yourself a fine dinning restaurant and some of these are on display you will need to reconsider. See the picture below to understand this better.

pp1

When the chef came back, we told him how we loved the bread. He gave us a loaf on the house. So, thank you for the nice gesture.

We checked the restrooms and it was well kept.

We paid N36,000 for 2 starters, and 4 entrees ( we ordered some take out) – i think it was the Spicy Cajun PrawnsPirates of the Carribean ( a starter) and T- Bone Steak.

Would I go back there? Possibly

If you like fancy and luxurious things like Omu , you should visit her website,  its  www.omuobilor.com

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambience / Aesthetics- 6

Quality of food- 6

Value for money- 6

Customer Service- 7

PRIMI PIATTI

1C Admiralty road, off Admiralty way,

Lekki Phase 1.

08128888886

LA COUR RESTAURANT, IKOYI – THE REVIEW

Sunday  11.02 p.m,

Hello Everyone.

Recently I came  across an article posted on  nytimes.com . It weighed the odds of tipping against service charge. Find the article here .  I am almost  sure these rules don’t apply to Lagos but it  kinda evoked a thought in me…to tip or not to tip? Has it occurred to you that in Lagos we pay premium for dining at casual restaurants, we pay service charge. consumption tax, VAT and then we are expected to tip again?…yet we get crappy service from some of these “restauraneurs“.  Please fill the poll link  attached to this post. It would be good to know your thoughts on this… Thank you in advance.

la cour 01la cour 02

Una see me see trouble? My phone finally packed up and “the new listsef don go with am! Now I am lost, please  help this grubbido here.  Send me places to review ( places I have not done yet please) .

Last weekend, we went to La Cour Restaurant for dinner . La Cour restaurant is part of La Cour Hotel ( I did not know it was a hotel initially). We were shown the restaurant by a sully looking receptionist.  Just after the entrance, there was a sign that read ” For hotel guests only” I was taken a little bit aback. I had to ask if it was alright to go in. If they were opened to the public, why was the notice there in the first place? The restaurant proper is rather small, it  probably sits about  thirty diners. I was drawn in by well laid out tables. There is  not much to say about the decor…..its just blah but the lighting  and soft lounge music playing in the background gave off a somewhat romantic ambience. I liked it.  I would like to categorize this as a romantic spot. I am of the opinion that the decor can be done better than it is presently.

la cour 07

We were handed the wine and cocktails lists.  I badly wanted a glass of wine but Mr U did not want , so I ordered a bottle of water. So thumbs down to Mr U for being a parry pooper this week. The wine list was not so extensive but I liked the fact that there were recommendations on which wine to pair with what dish. Did they have a sommelier in-house?  The menu was not vast, they had soups, salads, steak , chicken and seafood. pizza , pasta and an almost non-existent desserts list. I liked the fact that there were no fancy names . For our  appetizer,we  ordered the goddess salad with yogurt  dressing.  I can just imagine  the look on my mum’s face If I told her I went to a restaurant and I ordered  the goddess salad, LOL . Why  the name goddess salad though?

For the main entrée, we ordered the Chicken Pasta and The Seafood Platter.  For desserts, We requested the  Chocolate mousse. Whilst we waited, we were served peanuts and bread rolls with sesame seeds and butter.  What is it with Lagos restaurants and  almost stale microwaved bread? This is like the third time in a row!  As a paafun connossieur , I know  what I am talking about.  We sha ate it.. gulu –incorporated. ( covers face).  When  the goddess salad ( N 1200-$7) came , I did not see what was goddessy about it.  All  I saw was sliced  eggs and tomatoes….. till I dug in. The salad was fresh and crunchy but the sautéed shrimps and  croutons with the yogurt dressing were outstanding. I did not understand why it was served in this kind of  bowl though. It did not do much for presentation.

la cour 03

We waited for about twenty minutes for the entrees to come.  When it came, there was a mix up! I ordered 2 entrees, the waiter came with 3. Yes I love good food but where was all  these food  supposed to go? After going  back and forth, his supervisor asked which of the dishes we wanted to take  and we chose the 2 we ordered . case closed.  How could  a mix up happen when he wrote it down?  We started off with the creamy chicken pasta  (N 2,300-$14).  As always, I added black pepper to it.  It had just the right amount of everything, lots of chicken chunks, cream and the pasta cooked to perfection . It tasted like home food. we gave it a  right swoosh!

la cour 04

When the Seafood platter (N 6,500-$40) came , I  could not wait to dig in, it looked like something  from a  food feast. It was  fried rice with different kinds of seafood garnished with vegetables and  pepper sauce. I don’t fancy spicy food….I decided to try a little of it with the rice,  big mistake…. I quickly cleared that bit with the sauce away. I took some of the rice and It put a damper on the nice pasta. It was bland, even my black pepper and salt could not remedy it. Then i  took a bite of my grilled prawns  and I  was in heaven. It was delicious… beautifully seasoned and grilled, I tried to bargain with  Mr U to let me have all the grilled prawns and he could have all the fish but he  did not agree, meanie!!!. Then I had the Calamari  OMG . It was soooo good…. crunchy and soft …ooh!  I think this chef’s strength is his grilled seafood. The  grilled fish was unbelievable. Am I rambling?.. errrrrr,… the food caused confusion ….in a good way. The seafood was excellent. That  rice robbed it of an ace.

la cour 05

Then came the Chocolate mousse (N 800-$5)…hmmnn , lets just say he failed…woefully. I took a spoonful and I was almost forced to swallow it  with a sip of water….Mr U said it was like  he had to swallow a pill. It was a grainy  gloopy mix coloured a  nasty dose of cocoa powder, topped with a grape.  Why cant restaurants whose chefs are not desserts  savvy  just outsource it to people who are able to do it?  or train the  chefs. This was a waste of money. It  was such a damper on the seafood and pasta. I sent it back and the waiter asked me why I did not eat it, I said it was not nice and he apologized and the next thing  he said threw me off ..” he said “you know we are still going to charge you for this” …yeah, welcome to Lagos!

La cour 06

We  paid 12,960-$75 for a salad, 2 entrees,  and 1 dessert.

I did the rest room check and it was sparkling.

Would I go back there ? …Yes.

MY SCORE CARD

Layout/ Ambience  / aesthetics -6

Quality of food-7

Value for money  8

Customer Service – 6

 

LA COUR RESTAURANT

33, Glover Road, Ikoyi,

Lagos.

08064735224 ,

CORAL BLUE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT- THE REVIEW

Monday, 12.30p.m

Hey people,

The second half of year 2013 is upon us. I am grateful for days gone past and looking forward to the coming ones. How have you all been? Anything interesting happening with you? My sisters and I had been planning a lunch date for like forever and it just did not happen till “the law” (my youngest sister), decided she had found the place. she got us a deal for Sunday buffet at Coral Blue Seafood Restaurant.

coral1

coral2Coral Blue seafood restaurant is a  casual dinning seafood restaurant . The ambience created  here is  synonymous  with the seaside  seafood restaurant. It is  simple and  nicely laid out with traditional white and blue seats and tables.Ornate mirrors and  sea themed wall art, adorn the white painted walls.  There is also a nice outdoor eating area. Meals here are served  buffet style and a la carte.

We were shown to our tables by a warm waiter who handed us the  drinks menu. I am a cocktail kind of girl but  I have had a lot more misses than hits so I am not very keen on them these days. I could not stop laughing after going through the drinks menu,the names were rib cracking.  We settled for “screaming nipples” and the “blue lagoon”. 

blue lagoon

coral4There is just something overwhelming with buffet ,there is always so much to eat yet I always get confused.So here I decided  to take my time. I started with the salad bar. The presentation of the salad bar was beautiful and they had quite a variety of fresh looking yummy salads, dressings and breads. I decided to take bits and pieces  of each. I had the Russian salad, Prawns and Mango salad , Tropical salad and the Greek salad.  I  did not have any dressing with the salads. My favorite here was the Russian salad, it was a mix of diced potatoes and carrots tossed in mayonnaise ….as simple as it sounds it tasted nice.I also liked the Prawn and Mango Salad, the combination of  mango and prawns was quite outstanding…..the prawn was however overcooked.

coral5

coral 7(a). Russian Salad   ( b). Prawn and Mango Salad.

I  normally would do soup for buffet but I am not a fan of fish pepper soup … I will skip  the reasons. ( TMI)  I jejely moved on. A  friend once told me the best way to enjoy buffet is to go round ,survey and then decide on what to have. So I did and I was quite  surprised at how much variety they had. They had crabs , fish, shrimps, mussels, and calamari. They also had spare ribs and chicken wings…..in a seafood restaurant?  Well… I asked the chef on duty about the ribs  and chicken wings and he explained that sometimes  families came with  non seafood loving people hence the need to cater to everyone’s needs…it made perfect sense to me. I decided on  steamed vegetables, the seafood paella, the grilled seabass  in mango salsa and the chargrilled fish fillet.  I loved the grilled seabass served with mango salsa- it was finely grilled seabass  served with mango salsa….it  was a little bit spicy but the mango salsa complemented it perfectly. The  vegetables were nicely seasoned and steamed. The least preferred meal here was the paella…. to me this was no paella..it was more of concoction rice…a badly made one at that. It was bland….that is the easiest way to put it. Paella without meats or seafood and greens? Mba……na concoction biko. Even the addition of mussels in creamy sauce could not remedy this.

coral6

(a). Paella with mussels in creamy sauce. (b).  steamed vegetables. (c). seabass in mango salsa. (d).chargrilled fish fillet.

It occurred to me that screaming nipples and blue lagoon had still not surfaced after almost an hour. So we called one of the waitresses and asked..she somehow got lost in the crowd . Fortunately, the manager was doing the rounds, he asked if everything was alright so we told him about the drinks and less than  5 minutes after, screaming nipples and blue Lagoon came. Was it worth the wait?  Hmnn , “the law” thought the blue lagoon tasted like soap, the screaming nipples had no magic to it, at least it did not make me scream.

Round two! I tried the spare ribs and the the mussels in creamy sauce. Both were nicely done, the spare ribs cooked tender and beautifully seasoned…. chai and the mouth waters again. The mussels were nicely done too but the creamy sauce had gone cold. I liked it nonetheless.  I knew I had to save space for desserts.

The desserts table were well laid out. and they had quite a  variety. They had chocolate fudge opera, brownies, cheesecake, chocolate swiss roll, vanilla swiss roll ,  carrot cake, cream caramel and the fruit platter. I had  Chocolate fudge opera,  the chocolate swiss roll the cheesecake and brownies…..yes I know it is screaming calories but I could not help it . The chocolate fudge opera was  delicious moist layered cake filled with fudge sauce. The cheesecake was just alright…it lacked the richness i liked in my cheesecake. I liked the brownie but it had a slighty bitter aftertaste…too much cocoa powder?

fudge

coral 9

coral 10coral 8The service manager came by the table to ask how we enjoyed the meal and noticed the  almost untouched drinks, he asked why the glasses were almost full and we said we did not fancy them quite much…..he was nice enough to offer replacements on the house but we declined because we had had  more than enough to eat.

For the meal we paid N3,500($22)  per adult because we bought a deal….. Original price for Sunday buffet is N6500 ($40). The cocktail was N1,500 ($10) each.

Would I go back there? Yes.

It is quite commendable that food dishes were quickly refilled as soon as it started to thin out.

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambience/ Aesthetics – 8

Quality of food-8

Customer Service-7

Value for money-8.5

Thank you for reading.

Coral Blue Seafood Restaurant

1, Adeyemo Alakija street off Sanusi Fafunwa str

Victoria Island.

+234(0)7056793388