Orchid House: From Apapa to Victoria Island
FOLLY: Orchid House Apapa has been my favorite Thai food experience in Lagos. We've recommended it to a lot of readers but many people decided against it considering its unfortunate Apapa location. The VI branch has been open since the second half of last year and admittedly this isn't our first visit, we just didn't think it was necessary to review it since we had already checked out the Apapa location.
However, since a couple of people have recently asked for Thai specific recommendations, I suggested to Nosa that we check out their VI branch to see if Orchid House still has the range.
NOSA: After Bangkok and Pattaya shut down, Victoria Island was left with no Thai options. Soi13 came along, but that place is really a club house. So yeah...Orchid House in VI was NEEDED.
FOLLY: On another day, we'd have delved into the more traditionally Thai starters but to be very honest, I was feeling a bit sick and craving spring rolls with that pepper dip so I went straight for the Vegetable Spring Rolls.
NOSA: The Spring Rolls were short, stubby, and spring roll-y. Yeah, I know that's not really descriptive but spring rolls are super boring and I don't know why Folly was craving them.
FOLLY: Well, Thai Spring Rolls are special because they use glass noodles as one of the fillings.
NOSA: These didn't even use the rice paper. Anyway, what we need to talk about is how vegetable spring rolls are better than every other type of spring roll. Adding chicken or shrimp is just overkill and is gluttony personified.
NOSA: For our other starter, we got the King Butterfly Prawn.
FOLLY: Seems basic but I always need to acknowledge when prawns are properly cooked and the flesh is still white and soft. This could have been improved the herb butter was also served as an accompanying dip because It was just the top bit that had any of that flavoring.
NOSA: How is this thing even a starter? It's absolutely YUUUUGE. Wasn't expecting it and I mean that in a good way. I agree with Folly on the herb butter thing. It just feels "dumped" on there like the chef was having a bad day.
FOLLY: As an aside but still totally relevant, the plate used in serving this was totally wrong. The plating could have been improved with a rectangular plate.
For our mains, we went with the the koa op subparod Goong (pineapple fried rice), Pad See-Ew (Noodles), Gaeng Phed Goong (red curry) and the Pla Pad Prik Thai Dum (fish stir fry).
Now, pineapple fried rice isn't something I'd have expected Nosa to ordinarily order, because the man hates fruit, but he did for some reason.
NOSA: I saw it on Tumblr some years ago and I've always wanted try it.
FOLLY: He does like raisins in salad as well as oatmeal and raisin cookies so as you can see he is not consistent.
NOSA: Pineapple + Rice is not as disgusting as Pineapple + Pizza, btw.
FOLLY: According to the menu, the rice in this was baked but honestly I don't know that I can specifically tell the different from boiled rice but what I do know is that this was definitely quite firm to the taste.
NOSA: It looks great in the picture, but it tasted even better.
FOLLY: I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this. Especially together with the curry - it was a nice balance of sweet and savoury (#swalty).
NOSA: Yeah, that "swalty" thing is a big plus. Like chicken and waffles, the combination of sweet and savoury absolutely kill it in this.
FOLLY: Now the curry wasn't Nosa's fave although he single handedly ordered it. And he also strong armed me into leaving with the left overs while he kept the noodles and the fish.
NOSA: I wasn't a fan of this at all. I'd have preferred something thicker, but that's my fault for not reading the fine print in the description. Most Thai curries use a curry paste which brings out a lot of the fragrant flavors associated with the region. Like a philistine, I expected an Indian-style curry, which is made with curry powder.
FOLLY: This curry had a more broth like consistency than other Thai curries and the use of coconut milk was a lot less liberal. In fact, very minimal.
NOSA: Also, not getting the curry with white rice was a really dumb idea.
FOLLY: In a bid for variety, I strayed away from my typical Pad Thai and opted for another noodle dish - Pad Se-Ew.
The flavour profile was a lot different than the Pad Thai - the menu described it as a sweet brown sauce but I found it much too salty and found myself craving the strong, powerful, and spicy punch that the Pad Thai packs.
NOSA: This was actually my favorite dish on the day. This tasted a lot more like Chinese noodles than pad thai, which makes sense because Pad se-Ew is pretty much a Thai take on Chinese noodles.
NOSA: Post-Nairobi, I've been eating lots of fish so the fish stir-fry stood out when I saw the menu.
FOLLY: Although it reminded me of a battered and fried Chinese sizzling plate, I still enjoyed the Pla Pad Prik Thai Dum.
NOSA: With all that soy sauce, this wouldn't be out of place at a Chinese restaurant. Like the Pad se-Ew, I suspect this is influenced greatly by Chinese food. Thailand and China have a pretty interesting history so I suspect a lot the Chinese influence in Thai food is as a result of this cultural cross-pollination.
FOLLY: Now the menu had said this will black pepper sauce, they must have run out of black pepper because this was a bubbling and near caramelized thick brown sauce
FOLLY: Yes, the VI location has the hands but I honestly think because the Apapa location is the OG - maybe they have the original Thai chef.
Pad See-Ew - N4200
Gaeng Phed Goong - N4800
Pla Pad Prik Thai Dum - N5800
King Butterfly Prawns - N3500
koa op subparod Goong - N4900
Vegetable Spring Rolls (2 pc) - N550
They have about 10 dedicated spots but it is a quiet and wide street so there's sufficient availability.