Cactus Got a Complete Revamp
NOSA: That was me in the postscript of our Cactus review last year. Since then, they’ve undergone a massive revamp and bear little to no resemblance to the place it once was. Almost like the they read that “…for what it is” and simply had enough. For the last twenty or so years, Cactus had been run the exact same way despite being passed down a generation in that period. The story isn’t confirmed, but what we heard is that this revamp is the brainchild of the wife in the partnership. This wasn’t a simple renovation by any means. Everything about Cactus has changed. From the branding to the menu and decor, everything feels fresh.
FOLLY: I especially like the new logo and the entire space; it’s an Instagrammers dream.
NOSA: Some things from the old Cactus remain, however. The Club Sandwich was going nowhere. Oh, and the kids too. Cactus is still a little rascal’s paradise.
FOLLY: The parrot, dessert window, and the smokers section too.
NOSA: To start, we got a pair of appetizers - Shrimp & Crab Cake and Sliders. Served on a bed of arugula with the Cactus special sauce, the shrimp + crab cakes looked like they’d disappoint. I mean, just look at them…
FOLLY: But on the taste test, they didn’t. They were perfectly made fr the NIgerian palette and weren’t your average crab cake - these had “pepe”.
NOSA: Sure, they were a bit “over fried” and I’m definitely not getting likes on instagram with these. But, and a big BUT, these were very delicious. Also, a tad spicy per the description and the Cactus signature sauce was excellent. The sauce was so good that we used it on our sliders.
NOSA: After eating over a century of burgers for this blog, I feel like I can eyeball a good burger in Lagos. Or slider, same thing applies. Too much bun? Chi Foods patty? Thick cut tomatoes? They can filter it all they want on instagram but these restaurants can’t hide their trash burgers from me.
NOSA: The sliders at Cactus are guilty of using too much bun. In some ways, it’s like a mini Mr. Biggs burger.
Ok, I exaggerate a bit.
FOLLY: I had to get into it with Nosa after hearing his complaint about these burgers.
NOSA: The beef and chorizo thing works, but there’s just too much bun. TOO MUCH. It’s harder to gauge these things in sliders so perhaps its forgivable, but on the other hand, they bake these things in house.
FOLLY: I felt Nosa was doing the most with his complaint and I still think he is.
NOSA: The biggest change, for me, to Cactus is in the menu. For the longest time, you could group Cactus with Crust & Cream for their safe and consistent menus. It wasn’t particularly exciting like the newer restaurants, but it would never disappoint you. The new Cactus desperately wants to shed that label. Sure, they’d like to be consistent but definitely not safe.
Folly went with one of the menu’s new items - the Beef Tenderloin Salad.
NOSA: Beef tenderloin strips. Sun-dried tomatoes. Goat cheese. Sounds like a party, to be honest.
FOLLY: I find it hard to review salads because each person’s salad is for the most part an amalgamation of things they like. This was a perfect salad to me because of everything Nosa listed above plus mushrooms - that’s a party to me. The whole thing was super fresh - no wilting lettuce or shriveling cherry tomatoes especially.
NOSA: Oh yeah, wilting lettuce is definitely a main component in most salads in Lagos. At this point, I’m convinced it’s a feature and not a bug.
For my main, I went with the Tortellini Truffle Bake.
I know I’m prone to the odd exaggeration when I really like something, but this is not one of those times. Or maybe it is. Either way, this might be the best thing I’ve eaten in Lagos this year. I’d say anywhere in the world but that pulled pork burger I had in Nairobi is still undefeated.
FOLLY: He’s exaggerating. Z Kitchen was your best experience a month ago, so I find you, Mr. Nosa, a little too flip floppy.
NOSA: Okay, so maybe I’m a little fickle and you might disagree with me on this, but still, I stand by my position on the tortellini bake. You better be prepared to fight me because you’re telling lies. This thing was very good. Absolutely order if you love mushrooms or truffle oil.
NOSA: Our friend, Kewa, didn’t have the best experience with the pasta at Cactus so I had the mind not to order this but the tortellini prevailed. I have a good personal story about tortellini but I can’t tell it because “they” will say Nosa always talks about experiences outside Nigeria. “They” don’t want you to hear my funny stories, not me.
FOLLY: That’s a little unnecessary and I’ve heard the story - it’s not that funny so no one cares.
NOSA: A prophet isn’t loved on his own blog smh. Anyway, a little heads up, there’s no “meat” in this so you should definitely not order this if vegetarian options aren’t a thing you’ll consider. To be honest, adding chicken or some other mystery meat would take away from it. It’s perfect as is.
NOSA: It’s all new, but still very good. Would recommend.
FOLLY: I would definitely recommend because people email us all the time for Instagram friendly locations with good food . Cactus is THAT place.
Shrimp & Crab Cakes - N5000
Sliders - N4900
Beef Tenderloin Salad - N5900
Tortellini Truffle Bake - N6200
For Lagos, very very good.