Posts in Restaurants
Does Las Gidi Express Sound Like a Lebanese Restaurant?
 

NOSA: I stumbled on Las Gidi Express while grocery shopping at Goodies, I mean Winners the other day. Sidenote: Winners has quality meat if you’re into that kind of thing. 

FOLLY: It's 2018 and Nosa is still trying to get me to go to all these "restaurants" that I don't want to go to.

NOSA: Anyway, Las Gidi Express is still very new as far as Lagos restaurants go. By “new”, I mean some chairs are still unwrapped.

FOLLY: I mean, that's why I didn't want to go. I wasn't even sure that it was a real restaurant. 

NOSA: Or maybe those are fresh imports. Either way, it feels like a place that’s still finding its feet. Perhaps it’s not too late to change name.

FOLLY: Oh yes, it definitely struck both us of as odd that a Lebanese restaurant would be called Las Gidi Express. A Nigerian fast food yes? but a typical Nigerian-Lebanese restaurant with a paper brochure menu, nope.  

Las Gidi Express Special Hummus.jpg

NOSA: To start, we ordered the Special Hummus. Hummus is our typical go-to at Lebanese owned spots. That’s usually how I gauge if they sabi the work or not. Unfortunately, the hummus was a bit meh. It was decent enough, but not great. A bit lazy perhaps.

FOLLY: It seemed like the cook felt the key to good hummus was just lots of olive oil and chickpeas. The beef wasn't browned as much and so the flavour didn't quite develop, the hummus was also desperately in need of a dash of salt. 

NOSA: A bit of a random aside, isn’t it great how family friendly Persian food is? All the plates are designed with sharing in mind. Or am I making this up in my head.

FOLLY: You're not.

Mix Manakish Las Gidi Express.jpg

NOSA: Next, we got some Manakish. Half zataar and half cheese. And it smelt soooooo good. Makanish is like a Middle Eastern pizza and in Levant countries, it’s actually a breakfast staple. Pizza for breakfast sounds like something i did as a broke college student. Maybe pizza is an Italian manakish, who knows? 

FOLLY: Za'atar manakish is one of my favorite things about Middle Eastern food. The za'atar spices are a combination of thyme, oregano, sumac, and sesame seeds give or take.

In Lagos, you'd be hard pressed to find a Lebanese restaurant serve you something with dodgy cheese. This is because of the excellent supply chain management they exhibit by either owning the supermarket or having a friend or family member that does. 

Mixed Grill Las Gidi Express.jpg

NOSA: For our mains, we went with the Mixed Grill (half) and some Fattoush. The fattoush might have been a bad idea. Way too acidic for me, but that’s a personal thing and not on Las Gidi Express.

JdWt1meYQ%uAH7JDLzYSNw_thumb_2771.jpg

FOLLY: The Fattoush was also my mistake cause I meant to order Tabbouleh. I also agree with Nosa on how unneccesarily acidic it was. I've never had this experience at Syrian Club though, so I don't know if it's me or Las Gidi Express but there was something overly acidic about the dressing. 

NOSA: The Mixed Grill, however, was very lovely. The chicken was surprisingly flavorful.

FOLLY: The chicken wings were soooo good and honestly, I was surprised. This is because depending on where you go, the mixed grill is sometimes odd cuts of dry meat that are only bearable after dipping in the garlic sauce.

NOSA: As far as flavor is concerned, Lebanese food and Nigerian food are polar opposites. So more often than not, we (read: Nigerians) often get disappointed by their chicken. Not here though. The chicken in the mixed grill was the perfect middle ground. Both flavors coexisted in peace and harmony. 

PhvWw721T0iM9RNA6LjUbQ_thumb_2766.jpg

FOLLY: A solid mixed grill platter for a decent price. Considering that Nosa and I shared the small platter, I'm inclined to say this is great value for money. 

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: Las Gidi Express was pretty good, but Syrian Club is undefeated. I rarely ever crave Lebanese food but if I do I'd go back here. 

VERDICT

Like face.jpg

DAMAGE

Manakish - N700

Fattoush Salad - N2000

Hummus + Meat - N3000

Small Mixed Grill - N4500

 

 

PARKING

The entire Goodies parking lot is available. 

South for Brunch
 

NOSA: We mentioned it in last week’s Weekender, but over the weekend, South launched their brunch menu. Brunch is easily my favorite meal of the day so I was more than excited to check it out. 

FOLLY: Likewise, I was also curious to see what the brunch cocktails would be cause I noticed that they had plans for that from the promo flyer. I ended up ordering an Aperol Spritz - I didn't like it so let's focus on the food. 

NOSA: We ordered the Egg & Sausage McLovin’, the South Pancakes, and the Mozzarella Parmesan Omelette. I really wanted The Cuban, but apparently it’s no more. 

FOLLY: Technically, the menu had a disclaimer that said "limited availability" so more accurately, "it wasn't available".

  Egg & Sausage McLovin’

Egg & Sausage McLovin’

NOSA: The Egg & Sausage McLovin is South’s take on the Egg McMuffin. Literally down to the name. “McLovin” is a hop and skip away from “McMuffin”.

FOLLY: The name was definitely inspired by the McMuffin and I think that's okay because they aren't intending to be deceptive but I'm not a lawyer. 

 South

South

 McDonald's

McDonald's

NOSA: It would be nice if it came with a side like hash browns or something like the McMuffin. On it’s own, it feels a bit incomplete. That wouldn’t be all bad until realize you’re paying effectively $10 on an Egg McMuffin that won’t fill you up.

FOLLY: That was my only grievance with the Egg & Sausage McLovin - the portion was pretty light so it definitely deserved a side. You know what would have been a nice accomplice? Home Fries.

South Cross section.jpg

NOSA: That aside, this is probably the best breakfast sandwich you’ll find in Lagos. I mean it’s not competing with much, but it’s still better than everyone else. The house sauce, in particular, was super yum. 

FOLLY: The hash brown crisp in this sandwich was quite interesting. If you were expecting a classic thick hash brown, you would have thought wrongly. It was a thin crispy hash brown, just about about one mm thick, and it added the most wonderful crunch in between bites. 

South Omelette Parmesan.jpg
Mozarella Parmesan Omelette.jpg

NOSA: The same quagmire that afflicts the McLovin also rears its ugly head with the omelette. Why won’t South let you order a side of toast or maybe some bacon strips? If you ask nicely, maybe you can get some but it’s not on the menu so it would be hack, which is terrible UX. 

FOLLY: Exactly, it doesn't say on the menu so one wouldn't even know if it was an option that is available. 

Side or no side, the parmesan and mozzarella omelette was pretty damn good. The mozarella added all the stringiness and thickness to the omelette, but the flavour was mostly from the sharpness of the parmesan.

NOSA: The pancake could’ve been better, but it was good enough. I’ve had better but I’ve also had a lot worse so maybe it’s down to personal preference. 

FOLLY: The pancake had the thickness of an American pancake but it wasn't fluffy. On the inside, it was chewy and sweet just like a crepe. The menu described the pancakes as fluffy so I think that's what they were going for but then it was so sweet and American pancakes aren't usually sweet so I'm still confused.

South Pancake.jpg

NOSA: It tastes like a crepe in some ways. Very “chewy”, for lack of a better word. This one will definitely fill you up. 

The syrup is heavy on the Jedi Jedi 

 

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: I complained a lot in this post, but it's still a very good brunch. Like, really good. 

FOLLY: I liked the brunch a great deal, Nosa just likes whining tbh.

VERDICT

Like.jpeg

DAMAGE

Sausage & Egg McLovin - N3500

South Pancakes - N3500

Mozarella Parmesan Omelette - N3500

 

PARKING

Ehh.

There's parking in front and the security men are helpful

Late Bus: The NOIR Terrace is Open
 

NOSA: I remember the first time I saw the NOIR logo and there was a thing underneath that said “Restaurant. Bar. Terrace”. I remember wondering where on earth a terrace was going to fit in. From the outside, it looked like La Pointe had been built out as far as it could go. Well, they found a way to make it work. 

FOLLY: I figured like the restaurant (Noir), the terrace was going to be "coming soon" for a while. We first got wind of the potential restaurant when the La Pointe coffee shop opened in 2016, the restaurant didn't open until 2 years later. 

NOSA: The interior is built like an old school gentlemen’s club. Think cigars, leather sofas, men in suits, and some jazz music. Yeah, that’s the vibe it gives out.

FOLLY: If that wasn't clear, that description was just to illustrate the comparison. There was no jazz music, cigars or men in suits here

NOIR Vietnamese Fresh Roll Zoomed.jpg

NOSA: Maybe we came on an odd day or most people don’t know about it yet, but it seems like the perfect spot for after work drinks. If Winehouse was your thing, this is definitely up your alley. 

To start, we got the Beef Yakitori and the Vietnamese Fresh Rolls. 

Four rolls of shrimp, fresh basil, carrots and lettuce wrapped in rice paper served with sweet Thai sauce
— Vietnamese Fresh Roll

The Fresh Rolls are essentially the Vietnamese spring rolls, which are like a healthier version of the spring roll we’re familiar with. In some climes, they’re called “Summer Rolls”.

FOLLY: I typically wouldn't have ordered this but I was feeling very... different. 

NOSA: Unlike our regular spring roll, the fresh roll ditches the flour skin for a translucent rice paper skin and as far as the internal content goes, the fresh roll might be a bit richer. 

FOLLY: And fresher. If you used stale cabbage or carrots in a fresh roll it'll be immediately obvious as there's be no crunch. I also liked that herbs were added to Noir's version, so that it wasn't totally bland sadly, it wasn't evenly distributed. 

NOIR Beef Yakitori.jpg

NOSA: Yakitori is a Japanese-style skewered chicken that’s marinated in a weird salty, but sweet, marinade and cooked over an open flame. Imagine all of that, but with beef and that’s what we had at NOIR. 

Marinated Asian skewered beed topped with sesame white seeds
— Beef Yakitori

FOLLY: If you're looking for a proper beef yakitori, go to a Japanese restaurant - I remember Sakura having a decent one.

I ordered this truly out of curiousity because I wanted a meat-y starter to contrast the Vietnamese fresh rolls. The beef was too tough and chewy; and the marinade was too acidic - needed to keep dipping it in the sauce which was slightly sweet to balance it out.

NOIR Beef Burger II.jpg

NOSA: For my main, I went with the NOIR Beef Burger - a very predictable Nosa order. The bun was soft, the cheese was melty, but the patty was meh. Can’t quite figure out if it was the beef itself or the addition of a pickle.

NOIR Beef Burger Up Close.jpg
NOIR Beef Burger.jpg
Beef burger with caramelized onion, emmental cheese, and sauteed mushrooms served with French fries
— NOIR Beef Burger
NOIR Beef Burger Inside.jpg

NOSA: The flavor of the beef just didn’t feel like it came through and caramelized onions were completely drowned out.

FOLLY: Unlike Nosa, I really did like the burger. There was something incredibly sweet and buttery about it - I think the combination of the bun, cheese. and sweet caramelized onions. 

NOSA: It’s a decent burger overall, but I think it could’ve been a lot better. I mean, all the elements are there, but it just didn’t do it for me. It tasted way too much like an authentic Lebanese shawarma for me to enjoy it.

FOLLY: That comparison is a disservice to the burger, I don't think there was anything about it that was similar to a Lebanese shawarma, but then again I only got one bite. 

NOSA: Maybe the problem is me. It’s one of my issues with burgers at higher end restaurants. They never quite justify the price and the approach just feels so hoity-toity.

FOLLY: Fair enough because at N7900 this was a ridiculously expensive burger but then look at all that cheese.

Three sticks of suya calamari served with French fries
— Suya Calamari

FOLLY: My main dish was the suya calamari - three chunky sticks and a side of fries. Heads up, unless you really like calamari don't order a whole plate full of the stuff - it's overwhelming.

NOSA: Thanks to some kitchen wahala, Folly got shorted on Suya. A stick less. If we didn’t complain, the waiter might not have fixed it too.

NOIR Calamari Suya Up Close.jpg

 FOLLY: Apparently the guy "who passed the plate" forgot it. Thankfully, our waiter went back and found it.

NOIR Calamari Suya.jpg

A decent amount of people don't know this but legit yaji has nuts in it so people with peanut allergies cannot have suya. All this is to say that Noir's yaji was very nutty - more than the typically but perhaps it was done intentionally to add some dimension to the calamari. It worked but after one stick, I was still done and Nosa got the leftovers to throw into a salad the next day. 

 

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: Perfect for a laid back Friday evening. You want to do something after work, but you have no interest in staying out late enough to catch the club.

FOLLY: Don't listen to what Nosa said the burger is really good but it's too expensive.

VERDICT

Like.jpeg

DAMAGE

Beef Yakitori - N3500

Vietnamese Fresh Roll - N4000

NOIR Beef Burger - N7900

Suya Calamari - N4800

 

PARKING

Not a lot, and also very tight. 

Gypsy's Champions Portion Sizes in Ilupeju
 

NOSA: The biggest knock on dining out in the Lagos mainland isn’t the lack of options per se. They exist, bountiful even. 

FOLLY: The mainland doesn't have many fancy restaurants (outside of hotels) but they do have a lot of 'just there' establishments.

NOSA:The real struggle is the options fall short when it comes to quality and when they don’t, they lean heavily on the buka side. Bukas are great, but they have their place.

This brings us to Gypsy's, a cute little hard-to-find Indian/Chinese restaurant in Ilupeju. When you walk in, it feels like you’ve accidentally stumbled on a restaurant that has been intentionally hidden. Bar the waitstaff, we were probably the only Nigerians (read: black people) in there.

 Vegetable Samosa

Vegetable Samosa

FOLLY: Ilupeju has a huge Indian population so that kind of explains a lot of that. Why the huge population exists in Ilupeju? That, I don't quite know. Maybe it's the proximity to the industrial area and factories? 

NOSA: It was very reminiscent of our first visit to My Coffee being the only Nigerians in a space. It’s interesting how a restaurant unknown to the larger population could be so popping.

FOLLY: They were probably wondering how we found it.

NOSA: There’s probably something to be said about niche markets and enclaves, but I’m not too smart to make the connection. 

FOLLY: If you know the explanation for the Indian population in Ilupeju, please explain to us. For now, we'll focus on the food. 

DSC01972.JPG

NOSA: A fancier person might say the menu at Gypsy's is Pan-Asian. I’m usually wary of restaurants with menus span a couple specific regions so I stuck with Indian side of things. I mean, if the Chinese was that great, it wouldn’t have so many Indian people and no Chinese people in there. There’s a method to do the madness. 

FOLLY: And I naturally decided to wander into the Chinese section because a lot of Indian food is made with dairy and I'm lactose intolerant.

NOSA: I started with the Vegetable Samosa and finished off with the Chicken Tikka Masala and a side of Garlic Naan

FOLLY: The garlic naan was fabulous. I'm the type of person that doesn't really care about garlic breath and I absolutely love the bold flavour it adds to food. I loved how the naan also had bits of roasted garlic. With roasting, the flavours become a bit milder which also makes it more accessible to more people who don't really like the punch that it packs.

 Garlic Naan

Garlic Naan

NOSA: Chicken Tikka Masala is probably the most basic of all the Indian dishes one can try. It’s like ordering a California Roll when getting sushi or Jollof Rice when getting Nigerian food. You could even argue that it’s not even authentic Indian food because you rarely find it in an Indian household like General Tso’s in a Chinese one. But the heart what the heart wants, Tikka Masala is comfort food abeg. Shoutout to the Southeast Asian brother in England that invented it. 

 Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

FOLLY: Butter Chicken > Tikka Masala in terms of comfort food levels though

NOSA: The Chicken Tikka at Gypsy's is incredibly delicious. I haven’t had it in a while in Lagos so maybe this has affected my perspective, but I can’t remember having any better in this city. A shame they had no cheese naan but the garlic naan did a good enough job. One observation that I kept making with each plate was that Gypsy's had ridiculously large portions for the price. Folly and I could’ve easily split my order without being dissatisfied. 

FOLLY: I can't believe the waiter didn't warn us and let us order all that food. 

NOSA: Folly went all Chinese with her order: starting with the Sesame Rolls and ending with the Fried Vermicelli in Singapore Style and Chopped Ribs with Black Bean Sauce on Hot Plate as her main. 

 Sesame Pockets

Sesame Pockets

DSC01980.JPG

FOLLY: The Sesame Rolls on the inside are a very thin layered flatbread. It's served warm so when you break it open, the trapped steam greets you lovingly. I'm convinced everyone loves warm bread.

NOSA: I expected the sesame pockets to be a lot smaller portion-wise. They definitely surprised me. We went with the chicken option for our sesame pockets, aka Shaobing. 

FOLLY: You're expected to scoop the chicken into the sesame pocket and excuse me for being pedestrian here, and make a "chinese shawarma". I was perfectly fine with the sesame pockets on its own and a lot of the chicken filling went un eaten as a result.

NOSA: Sesame pockets aside, I thought the Chinese side of the menu was pretty weak. The short ribs, in particular, were waaaay too salty. 

FOLLY: Bruh, the salt in this even seemed to 'develop' more overnight because the leftovers were unbearable. However, if you're able to make it past the salt, you get all the normal trappings of Chinese cuisine: ginger, sweet peppers, garlic, and onion. 

DSC01993.JPG
 Singapore Noodles

Singapore Noodles

NOSA: The Singapore noodles were a tad better.

FOLLY: Although still salty though. 

NOSA: Those short ribs were unforgivable. I get so giddy when I find really good restaurants in Lagos, especially when they’re on the mainland. Gypsy's is perfect for post-church lunch. 

FOLLY: I was pretty disappointed that I didn't get the try the Nutella Spring Rolls they had on their dessert menu as we were pretty full from just two courses. This simply means I have to go back.

 

POSTSCRPT

NOSA: I really liked Gypsy's despite my complaints about the Chinese. The sesame pockets are a must.

FOLLY: It's an excellent hidden gem in the heart of Ilupeju. More people need to know about it. 

VERDICT

1437951359350.jpg

DAMAGE

Garlic Naan - N500

Sesame Pocket - N3500

Vegetable Samosa - N1900

Chicken Tikka Masala - N2700

Fried Vermicelli in Singapore Style - N4000

Chopped Ribs with Black Bean Sauce on Hot Plate - N4000

 

 

PARKING

The parking was more than I'd expected with proper off street parking for 6 - 8 cars.

Sushiholic, Lekki’s First “Japanese Restaurant”, is FINALLY Open
 

NOSA: After “months” of Instagram teasing, Sushiholic finally opened shop. They really made a lot of noise about being the first sushi bar in Lekki so we’ve had them on our to-do for a minute now. When the initial launch date got moved forward, I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect much from the place - blame that on my Lagos restaurant paranoia.

FOLLY: I was seriously convinced that maybe their chef didn't get visa so they had to postpone the opening. 

NOSA: Sushiholic is a bit different from your typical sushi experience in Lagos. It’s no Izanagi, or even Fusion. It’s very… fast food. Think Tantalizers, but for sushi.

FOLLY: Haba! Tantalizer is a bit too far down now. It's not like Tantalizers AT ALL.

NOSA: I’m not referring to the food here, but the atmosphere. When you walk into a NOK or an RSVP, those spaces give off a significantly different vibe than when you walk into a Tantalizers. Industry people call them Quick Service Restaurants (QSR). Sushiholic is a “Sushi QSR”. Lagos’ very own YO! Sushi.

FOLLY: That I can co-sign definitely, a sushi QSR, but definitely not Tantalizers but for sushi.

NOSA: The first person you see when you walk into Sushiholic is the Asian chef. Authenticity, I guess. He might even comfort you a bit. You would be forgiven for thinking the chef is Japanese, but he’s actually Filipino. If you do go to Sushiholic, you should definitely sit by the sushi bar with Chef Jun. Watching him make your roll is definitely something you want get on your snapchat. The guy is masterful at it.

FOLLY: He did everything so casually and was also quite anal about cleanliness. Or was it eye-service but he made a concerted effort to clean and wipe everything as he went along. 

 Royal Set

Royal Set

NOSA: I may be speaking from limited “sitting by sushi bar” experience, but I’ve made sushi before. Tried making a couple of rolls during an International student thing in college and it was hard as hell. Watching this guy knock out our large order in 5 minutes absolutely blew my mind. 

FOLLY: I wouldn't normally order any of these platters at a sushi restaurant, I prefer to be a bit more involved in the selection process but I was pretty exhausted and hungry so I managed to convince Nosa into ordering a platter. He kept asking if I was sure and I could tell he wasn't that into the idea.

NOSA: We ordered The Royal Set. 6 different rolls of 4 pieces each: 

  • Sesame California Roll
  • Tobiko California Roll
  • Tobiko Naked Salmon Roll
  • Tobiko Crazy
  • Crazy Crispy
  • Crispy Crazy Salmon

FOLLY: I wasn't even very detail oriented in the selection of the platter, I just wanted one that had at least one tobiko roll and salmon roll. 

DSC01958.JPG

NOSA: Sushi might be a Japanese thing, but “crazy rolls” are of American origin. Only one country is capable of producing such gratuitous mayo laden rolls of deliciousness. Ordering a crazy roll is probably ultimate faux pas to sushi purists, but Eat.Drink.Lagos has never been about purists or the establishment.

FOLLY: Nosa doesn't even like real sushi, maki rolls all the way.

NOSA: Crazy rolls are delicious and I’ll be damned if anyone takes them away from me. The crazy rolls at Sushiholic are no different. Utterly delicious. What didn’t whelm me enough was the California rolls. I normally wouldn’t order a California roll because even I think I’m better than that but it came with set and you can’t switch it out.

FOLLY: Neither would I, but the sesame california roll was oddly enough my favourite. The entire exterior was totally covered with sesame seeds and I loved the texture it added to the roll.

NOSA: I’d complain about the lack of structural integrity, but I dunked it in soy sauce so it’s my fault it completely disintegrated.

FOLLY: I think what actually happened was that you accidentally dropped it splattered.

NOSA: On the bright side, the rice didn’t taste like soap, which is something I’ve experience with sushi in Lagos. 

 Salmon Dragon

Salmon Dragon

Next up, we ordered the Salmon Dragon. For the price we paid, it wasn’t worth it. Dragon rolls are the sushi bar version of the upsell, they’ll almost always disappoint you.

FOLLY: Like it did me. I was most disappointed because the tempura shrimp on the inside tasted like imitation shrimp which is unusual for tempura as imitation crab/shrimp is more common in plain maki rolls and not tempura.

DSC01955.jpg

NOSA: They look shiny on the menu to reel you in. Don’t fall for it. 

Moving on, my favorite maki roll on the day was our final one - the Lekki Peninsula. 

 Lekki Peninsula Roll

Lekki Peninsula Roll

Smoked Salmon. Cream Cheese. Avocado. Lemon.

FOLLY: I googled it and found out that this roll exists in quite a few variations. I was so surpised with how generous the chef was with the smoked salmon. He first put a big chunk and I was like wow, and then he cut off another piece of comparable size and added to it. Then he wrapped it in smoked salmon (at least the top half)

NOSA: If you love smoked salmon, you should definitely order this. It generally doesn’t sound like much, but it was so so delicious. I also didn’t expect to like a roll with lemon in it, but here I am singing its praises. 

FOLLY: The rolls itself tastes very different dependent on whether you dip it in soy sauce or not. You totally lose the tartness of the lemon if you do, and the cream cheese also "disappears" tastewise. I preferred it plain, if you do go, you should try it both ways.

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: By virtue of having no competition, Sushiholic is the best sushi spot in Lagos lol. Jokes aside, I’d definitely go again. It’s no Izanagi but it’s firmly on the same level as Fusion

FOLLY: I live in Lekki, it's totally convenient to pick up on my home.

NOSA: Oh, they deliver too!

VERDICT

1437951359350.jpg

DAMAGE

Royal Set - N15000

Salmon Dragon - N8000

Lekki Peninsula - N3500

 

PARKING

Decent. Can take 5/6 cars.