EDL Weekender: Kaldi House is Back in Ikoyi

Hey friends! Weekend is here so let’s get into it. Here’s your guide on what to eat, drink, and listen to this weekend.

Weekender!

EAT

Taste of Ethiopia

This weekend, Kaldi House is back popping up in Ikoyi. There are two seatings: lunch at 1pm and dinner at 7pm. To reserve and get address details, call 0802 393 4078

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EDL-approved BBQ in Alausa

We checked out Rhodes BBQ Smokehouse and it got the EDL stamp. Ribs are excellent and the chicken is oh so tender.

American-style BBQ in the Secretariat

NOSA: In a June 2009 TimeOut London review, Rhodes BBQ Smokehouse got described as spot with "...excellent meats and broad ambition". A little over nine years later, much hasn't changed beyond the location. The Wapping location has since shut up shop and Rhodes has reappeared in Ikeja. Even the relocation bears some similarities.

Pizza Friday at House Cafe

LAGOS

Tattoo Week @ BarBar

Have a great weekend, guys!

American-style BBQ in the Secretariat
 

NOSA: In a June 2009 TimeOut London review, Rhodes BBQ Smokehouse got described as spot with “…excellent meats and broad ambition”. A little over nine years later, much hasn’t changed beyond the location. The Wapping location has since shut up shop and Rhodes has reappeared in Ikeja. Even the relocation bears some similarities.  According to the the TimeOut review, “only the Wapping location might prevent it from reaching a wide and appreciative location” and that’s exactly what I thought when we struggled to find parking. 

FOLLY: Maybe the best things aren’t meant to be too main stream. You could also say the same could be said of BBQ & Cravings

NOSA: We visited with a couple of friends, including our official “face” of Eat.Drink.Lagos lol, so we went all out with the menu. Wicked Wings, Buffalo Drums, BBQ Pulled Pork and BBQ Chopped Beef sandwiches, a slab of the St. Louis Style Ribs and a BBQ Quarter Chicken. Yup, we went all the way out. The waitress had to double check on the order because it sounded like a lot of food.

FOLLY: She was trying to get us to order the platter but that was a hard pass from us because it’ll have meant a half portion of the ribs.

NOSA: “Sounded” because we still wanted more at the end of it all lol. 

FOLLY: I even tried to order dessert but they didn’t have my first choice

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NOSA: The wicked wings set the bar really high for the rest of the meal. Tender and flavorful, the thing damn near melts in your mouth. If this how all chicken tasted, I probably wouldn’t be having chicken fatigue right now. Tender chicken seemed to be the running theme at Rhodes because even the Buffalo drums were quality.

FOLLY: A shame that I didn’t try the wicked wings because I was saving myself for the tender drums and everyone said the wicked wings were better.

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NOSA: I probably should’ve passed on the chopped beef sandwich, but I saw “brisket” and I got distracted. For all the “bbq & grills” joints we have in Lagos, none of them have brisket on the menu. It’s not a Nigerian “thing”, which is fair, but it just explains why I wasted carbs on the chopped beef sandwich.

FOLLY: Barely eating carbs at Rhodes was likely the reason why we didn’t feel so stuffed at the end of the meal.

NOSA: The sandwich wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t worth the space in my stomach. If you visit Rhodes, don’t let the menu distract you. Stay focused. Order the meats. 

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NOSA: Speaking of Nigerian “things”, I have since accepted that Nigerian-style BBQ is a thing. Unfortunately, we don’t have culinary scholars that document these things. For all the shade I throw at “grills” joints, they offer what I have termed “Nigerian-style BBQ”. It often goes heavy on the pepper and eschews tenderness as a metric to assess quality. I have clear philosophical differences with it, but now as a proper grown up, I’ve come to accept it has its place and understand how it fits the local palette. What I philosophically agree with though are the ribs at Rhodes. 

FOLLY: I also philosophically agree with the sauce on the ribs at Rhodes. We were tearing the meat off the bones and using it to scrape the sauce of the plates.

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NOSA: St. Louis style ribs are more about the butcher cut than the actual grilling technique or flavor. Unlike other rib cuts, the brisket and rib tips are trimmed off and this leaves you with a shorter rib. If anything, it shares a slightly similar sweet tomato-based sauce with the Kansas City style, which makes sense because the two cities are like an hour apart. 

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NOSA: The ribs at Rhodes could’ve been a side more tender, but I was a fan nonetheless. Probably because of the sauce. We cleaned that plate with almost everything we could find, including the quarter chicken. The quarter chicken, itself, was a bit disappointing. It had none of the tenderness of the wings and the drums. It was bit tedious to get through, in fact. Without the sauce from the ribs, we’d have left that chicken behind.

FOLLY: Yeah, the chicken stayed perched on the plate till we ran out of ribs and needed another meat with which to clean the sauce of the plate.

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NOSA: What definitely didn’t disappoint me were the sides.

FOLLY: The portion did disappoint me but I assume (and hope) that was because it was the complimentary side portion.

NOSA: Between the BBQ beans and the potato salad, I don’t think I’ve tasted a more delicious side this year. Many have tried, but not have come close. The BBQ Beans were particularly excellent and on another day, I might have asked for seconds. 


POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: It’s a drive away, but it’s worth the trip. It’s not a trip I’d make often, but it’s a trip you must make once. That is, if you live on the island. If you live in the Ikeja area, you should be there every Sunday.

FOLLY: Honorable mention to the iced tea at Rhodes BBQ. Don’t expect it to be sweet sha, it’s not that type of iced tea.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Wicked Wings - N2600

Buffalo Drums - N2800

BBQ Chopped Beef Sandwich - N2600

St. Louis Stye Ribs (Slab) - N6900

BBQ Quarter Chicken - N2400

 

PARKING

Very limited 

EDL Weekender: Trivia Night, NOK Chef's Table and South Socials

Hey friends! Weekend is here so let’s get into it. Here’s your guide on what to eat, drink, and listen to this weekend.

Weekender!

EAT

Chef’s Table at NOK

We interviewed the Chef behind it all a couple days ago. If you’ve ever been curious about non-Nigerian African cuisine, there’s your chance.

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DRINK

South Socials

South Socials is back this Friday!!! As always there will be unique and amazing cocktails mixed with great food, great people and the best vibes. To spice up the night more, South will be having a Guest bartender Alexis Brown from Chicago. It’s going to be lit as always!
— Lala of Eko Cocktail Club
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LAGOS

Eat.Drink.Lagos Trivia Night

Trivia Night tomorrow. Get your teams and book your tables. We have our questions set and there’ll complimentary drinks so lets have some fun!

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Have a great weekend, guys!

From Benin to Lagos: Chef Yacynthe's Road to Nok

This weekend, Nok is taking guests on a culinary journey to the Republic of Benin. Sous Chef, Yacynthe Aho, is sharing his favorite childhood dishes. To get a better understanding of Nok’s head honcho and what to expect this Saturday, we short chat with him at the restaurant. He talks about his journey so far in Lagos and his vision for the future of food


Tell us a bit about your self. What’s your background?

Well, my name is Chef Yacynthe and I’m from Benin Republic. Before I started cooking, I went to school and I have my two certificates. They are French certificates and correspond with the National Diploma in Nigeria. So, it’s a National Diploma in Hotel Management. When I completed that, I came to Nigeria and I’ve been in Nigeria for 15 years now. 

You’ve been here for 15 years?

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“What is me is African food. What can I do to show African food to the whole world?”

Yes, I’ve been working here for 15 years.

What brought you to Nigeria?

I have a passion for cooking and I wanted to discover other countries. I wanted to discover both what they were doing in other countries and discover the spices they use. The first country that came to me in my dream was Nigeria and that’s why I’m here. 

Since you’ve been here, is there any spice in particular that you like?

Yeah, but it’s not only one. There are many spices I like in Nigeria. For example, the four corner spice (Ed note: Also known as Aridan). It has a nice flavor and the scent is perfect. They use it for a lot of dishes, you understand? There is another spice that they call Oso. It’s like beans. There’s a seed inside. Very black. When you use it to cook, it’s very nice. I’ve discovered a lot of spices in Nigeria.

What was your first job in the industry?

You know when you take a risk to leave your country and go to another country to express yourself, it’s not easy. My first job [in Nigeria] was with Protea Hotel and my first post at Protea was chef de partie. After two years, I left them and got another job at the Abibiz Restaurant in the international airport. I worked there as a chef de cuisine. I worked there for two years because if there is something I want, it is to meet people and discover their recipes and ingredients. That’s what inspired me to move from one restaurant to another. After I worked there, I got another offer at Morningside Suites Hotel. I was the Executive Chef there and I worked there for two years. 

It is after that, because I was working very hard, I was looking to work with people with the same vision as me. I was doing the continental dishes then, but one day, I said to myself: “That is not me, what is me is African food. What can I do to show African food to the whole world?”. 

To show people that, in Africa, we have something to offer. Because today, all of us are following other countries’ dishes and flavours but what about our own? That’s how I heard about Nok Restaurant. I came here and I met Chef Pierre. We had a discussion like I’m having a discussion with you and when I told him my vision, he said “Yacynthe, you’re the one to work with me at Nok”. 

That’s how I found myself at Nok today.

So what was like working with Chef Thiam?

 Chef Yacynthe in his kitchen

Chef Yacynthe in his kitchen

Well, it was a very great time for me and I’ll say I’m very lucky to work with Chef Pierre because he’s my senior in the industry. He has the experience and he’s doing a lot of things with African food. So it was an opportunity to work with him to improve and today, to God’s glory, I’m doing better.

A lot of people like Nok. I’m sure you know this, but what do you think makes Nok special?

People like Nok because our standards are totally different. Our dishes are different. The spices we use are also different. We study those spices. We test them, test their flavors. We do the recipe tests again and again. When you want to be better, you need to do one thing again, again and again. At the end of the day, you get what you want. That’s what makes us different. And when you look for all these kinds of dishes in Africa today, it’s only at Nok you can get them. 

How do you keep things fresh and creative every time?

As I said before, we work very hard. We don’t sleep. Every second for us is an opportunity for us to have something new to offer to our customers. We do a lot of research. We go to many places: both to the local markets and international markets. We go there to discover all the spices so our customers can have different experiences. Not that you come today and you eat one thing, then you come the next day and eat the same thing. We study a lot and that’s how we come up with different dishes that make our guests happy. 

What do you love the most about being a chef and being in the industry?

For me, the reason I am a chef is that I can make other people happy with my dishes. The chef I am is not about the uniform or the name, but by what I present on the plate to my guests. That’s what makes me a chef. And when the guest eats and is happy, I’m happy too. It’s a passion. I feel like I’m in another world anytime I see myself in front of a guest or I present my food to a guest and he eats it with joy.

Ok, for the opposite. What would you say you hate?

As a human being, you must like something and you must hate something. What I hate most is that when i present a food to a guest and that plate comes back to the kitchen with the food, it makes me angry. It makes me want to discover what made the guest not like the food. 

You’re hosting a Chef’s Table this weekend. Tell us a bit about it. 

This Chef’s Table we’re about to do is something special. Special because when many people hear Benin Republic, they see it as a small country. They don’t know that even if it is small, something good can come from it. One particular thing that makes me happy to present dishes from Benin is that in Benin we have some unique spices. These spices are from the ancient days. Those that our grandparents were using to cook. Today, for spices people prefer to go the supermarket. It makes me to realize that I need to value what I have from my country. 

This is the country that made me who I am today so i want to value my country. All the things my country has, I want to make it available for people to experience. That’s how we came up with the different dishes [for the Chef’s Table]. But it’s not about the dishes alone, it’s about the spices. Without spices, the dish doesn’t have any value. It’s the spice that makes a dish. 

 NOK Dakouin

NOK Dakouin

What’s your favorite dish from your country?

[laughs] I didn’t expect that question but I’m very happy for that question because if I call the name of that dish and explain to you, it’s funny but it’s my culture. 

We call it Dakouin. Dakouin is a fisherman’s dish in my place. The fisherman goes to the river and gets all the fish and when he comes back, the first thing he does is to remove the biggest fish and give it to his wife to cook. 

So how do you cook it? It’s a very simple dish. You just do a very light stew, then you remove the fish from the stew and then use the remaining stew to make the garri. You Nigerians call it eba, but we [Beninoise] call it garri dakouin

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Dakouin means “you cook and you turn it” because when you cook it, it doesn’t remain inside the pot. The fisherman has worked very hard so he needs to enjoy what he worked for. This is the first dish we offer every visitor in our village. Any program - birthday, marriage or funeral - if you don’t cook it, your party doesn’t have any meaning.

So it’s like jollof rice?

Yes, it’s like jollof rice in Nigeria.

Will it be on the menu this weekend?

Yes, that’s my signature. It’s going to be celebrated. 

You mentioned earlier that everyone just goes to supermarkets for spices. Do you have any challenges sourcing spices in Lagos?

No. No. One thing I like about Nigeria, it’s unless you don’t know the direction. When you know the direction, you know the particular person that can help you. When you meet those kind of people, you get what you want. It’s a very wide country. [laughs]

[laughs] …a very wide country.

We also source ingredients from all around Africa; even though it’s hard and expensive, it’s very important to us that we research and expose our own flavours

Thank you so much for sitting with us. We’re looking forward to the Chef’s Table. 

You’re invited! 


Join Chef Yacynthe this Saturday, October 13, at Nok as he explores the memories of Akodéha in a very personal Chef’s Table.

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