Not Over the Moon for Vanilla Moon

 

NOSA: Remember Sakura (RIP, we hardly knew ye)? Vanilla Moon is in the same space and it appears it’s completely new ownership. I wonder what happened to Sakura, by the way. I really thought they’d here for a long time when they opened up. The Hibachi room was plenty fun.

Vanilla Moon is located in a leafy by-lane of Victoria Island, Lagos – we welcome you to come dine with us by creating a calm oasis with airy interiors, romantic full moon lights and the best service for all your needs.

FOLLY: The signs of trouble should have been evident when the owners combined their Double 4 brand with Sakura in 2016/2017.

NOSA: Pre-Flowershop, I probably would’ve been super impressed by the interior at Vanilla Moon because it’s pretty well done.

FOLLY: They have pretty lights above the tables.

NOSA: And I think they’re the first restaurant to send us a press release at launch. It actually put me in the right frame of mind when we visited.

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NOSA: To start, we got a couple things off the Crescent Tapas section of the menu: Paprika Allumetes, Tomates Arancini, Suya Popcorn Chicken and Gambas Pili Pili.

Check out the full menu HERE.

Unfortunately, things didn’t get off to a great start. Per the menu, the Paprika Allumetes is a simple tapas plate: shoe string fries with a trio of jam, mayo and ketchup. Nothing too fancy, but the kitchen sent ours out without the bacon jam.

Reason? “Some people don’t like it”

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At least give me a chance to choose, mate. Or better still, take it off the menu so I don’t order it. The funnest part of this whole thing is that the bacon jam is the only attraction here. Who wants to pay N2500 for fries and ketchup? I mean, it’s not even the shoestring fries they promised!

FOLLY: If shoestring fries are your thing, the only place you can get them in Lagos is at ZKitchen. Every other place that says shoe string fries on their menu is lying - we did this so you don’t have to.

NOSA: The Suya Popcorn Chicken wasn’t particularly better. They took it a bit too far with the “popcorn” thing. Each piece was sized like popcorn before it goes in the microwave.

FOLLY: Or like chin-chin cubes. I get that it’s called popcorn chicken but it’s not really supposed to be this small.

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The only agreeable starter was the Tomates Arancini but this was only taste wise. Aesthetic value was zero because they didn’t even try to make the arancini symmetrical or even coloured.

Our menu is curated with our favourite European dishes raging from a tapas menu that can take you to any outdoor Spanish market, fresh-house made pastas, steak room, sharing boards with Charcuterie, Sliders & Fondue!

NOSA: For our mains, we split the Seafood Paella, Beef Fettucine, Sicilian Salmon Steak and the Smokey BBQ Pork Ribs.

Of the lot, the Beef Fettucine was my favorite. The pasta tasted fresh and the portion was huge. You can definitely split this between two people if you come here on a date. If you should come here on a date, however, is a different question altogether.

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FOLLY: Even though the menu promised fresh pasta, after the events with the starters, I couldn’t be too trusting. Needless to say, I was impressed that they kept their word on that. The pasta was truly the best thing we had. I probably wouldn't elect to go back to Vanilla Moon because the overall experience wasn’t memorable but let’s say my friend decides on a birthday dinner at Vanilla Moon and I have to be there, this pasta is what I’m ordering.

The ambience is perfect for a sexy night out with friends, a date night or even a Sunday brunch with loved ones. The focus is on delivering an exceptional experience encompassing food, beverage, ambience and service.

NOSA: The salmon was utterly boring and while the ribs were slightly better, the BBQ marinade taste like it came out of bottle with a Vanilla Moon twist.

FOLLY: The addition of peppercorns to the barbecue sauce was definitely the Vanilla Moon twist. Another thing that was incredibly tiny like the popcorn chicken is the ashtray of broccoli that we received in exchange for N2000.

NOSA: Worst of all was the Paella. Our entire table of four gave up after a couple of spoons in. It just tasted like nothing and it was overcooked too. The prawns were spectacularly tasteless.

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FOLLY: When we posted this Paella picture on Instagram and Twitter, there were so many tired jokes that compared it to Native Rice of Jollof. Honestly, both Native and Jollof rice taste a million times better than this. This was simply orange colored rice that was devoid of flavor and seasoning. We know there is only one place in Lagos to get an authentic paella but we dived in head first and regretted everything. The mussel shells were also uncleaned too.

FOLLY: I take that back and my biggest regret of the afternoon was the Creme Brûlée. The less that is said on it the better, the caramelized sugar top was soft and it didn’t even crack. We sent it back and that was it on that.

NOSA: The Tiramisu was much much better than the Creme Brûlée. Like, almost night and day in the difference in quality. This might be a running theme at Vanilla Moon. On the rare occasion where they shine, they shine bright. But when they suck, they suck to the high heavens.


POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: Yeah, it’s not that good. Pasta’s decent though

FOLLY: The waiter really redeemed the experience with this positive attitude and can-do spirit.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Beef Fettucine - N7500

Seafood Paella - N12500

Tomate Arancini - N3500

Paprika Allumete - N2500

Sicilian Salmon Steak - N9000

Suya Popcorn Chicken - N3000

Sesame Smeared Broccoli - N2000

 

PARKING

There is sufficient on street parking.