Sidewalk Is Proof "Joints" Are an Undefeated Business Model

 

NOSA: As far as restaurant concepts in Lagos go, there aren't a lot of sure bets. An Italian spot might do well in Victoria Island and absolutely fail in Oworo. But there’s one thing that’s as sure as anything: a “joint”.

By “joint”, I’m talking open-air space. Point & kill fish. Live music.

Without fail, it always works.

FOLLY: Across the city, these are somewhat guaranteed to be successful in its many iterations. Like joint-joint or posh-joint.

NOSA: Even the owner of the place gets the logic,

The VI outlet is a place mainly for the big boys and babes, a place for respectable people to unwind. Its an outdoor bar with an inside lounge and a restaurant during the day. We want to cater for the Middle Class and Upper Middle Class. We want to cater for the working class women. The men can come there and hangout after work, to beat the traffic, hangout. Like they say, there is nothing like atmosphere. We work with nature. People having been in the AC all day, need a place that is natural to relax and refreshen in our gardens have a fresh air, good pepper soup, good food, both continental and local, are available there and we have our grills also
— Kunle Adegbite (MD/CEO of Sidewalk)

NOSA: Add pepper soup and some cold Nigerian beer, then you’re in business. I don’t know why Lagos money launderers go for fancier restaurant concepts when it’s clear how well joints work in Lagos. Maybe it’s a class thing or some sort of push for legitimacy. Anyway, let me not digress too much. I’m sure a smarter person out there can make a better argument.

FOLLY: It could also be an avenue to charge more for mediocre meals because with joints there's a bit of a price ceiling. At the same time, joints attract attention in the way that a seldom visited Portuguese restaurant in Lekki wouldn't.

NOSA: The space feels like the “inside” is outside. If you’ve ever seen Night at the Roxbury, this will make a whole lot of sense. I really like the space, to be honest. For all the alté vibes it gives off, Sidewalk is joint  like a Giwa Barracks you aren’t ashamed of patronizing. At one point, I had someone selling me their mixtape so yeah…

FOLLY: There was also a smoothie vendor who was selling on a different agenda on the premises. To be completely honest, we didn't set out to review this place. We were looking for a place to meet up with friends and Nosa suggested this place so that we could go somewhere EDL hadn't reviewed before. There were six of us and so the executive platter seemed like a great idea.

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NOSA: The platter isn’t bad, but it’s guilty of the typical Lagos restaurant move of prioritizing quantity over quality with the hope that you can mask core weaknesses. At 13k, it’s a waste of money to me. I can see the appeal, but anyone with discerning taste would be put off. My complaints aside, the Asun+Dodo was fantastic.

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FOLLY: It was the only memorable in the platter. Without pulling up my notes of what I thought about the meal, I cannot remember anything else that was on that platter. I heard the chicken was good but I didn't get to try it. The snail was unbelievably hard.

NOSA: The fish was their strongest play on the night. It’s certainly not as good the fish from The Fish Lady, but it’s certainly good enough albeit ridiculously spicy.

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FOLLY: I literally mentally compared to the Fish Lady's all while eating this thinking this is not good enough. 

NOSA: Regardless of what this review says, this place will be packed every Friday night. The vibe is perfect and it has all the ingredients to succeed. The food, however, isn’t that good. If you’re actually looking out for food, Sidewalk might not be the one. 

FOLLY: It's not a place I'd actually, in my normal life, go to. 

NOSA: Lowkey, this shouldn't even be a review. It should just be a "Hey! This exists"

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: It's the Bay Lounge of Victoria Island, style-wise but Bay Lounge has significantly better food. 

NOSA: It's not for me, but it's definitely for a lot of other people.

VERDICT

Meh.jpeg

DAMAGE

Grilled Croaker - N3500

Executive Platter - N13700

 

PARKING

Struggle Sanusi Fafunwa parking like usual. Touts will also harass you