Posts in Street Food
We Think We've Found the Best Shawarma in Lekki
 

NOSA: We haven’t been shawarma hunting in a really long while. Lucky for you guys, we ran through our budget for the month so cheap eats suddenly entered our radar.

FOLLY: Shawarma's in Lekki are plentiful so one has to be very sceptical. 

NOSA: Meat Up is one place I’ve been hearing about a lot. First, we got a DM telling us to check out the shawarma at Entourage Mall. These Lekki “malls” put me off so I wasn’t really enthused to give it a shot. I put it on our schedule, but like, wayyyy at the bottom.

FOLLY: I'd only heard about from one person. It was a random tweet I scrolled past. 

NOSA: Then, Jola mentioned it. As an OG friend of the blog, we really trust Jola’s taste. At this point, I might have bumped it a little bit on the schedule, but the thought of blowing our entire budget on Shiro dim sum seemed more appealing so Meat Up didn’t get bumped up THAT much.

FOLLY: For the most part Nosa has the food eating schedule down pat. I usually will go most places he says we should go except the odd time when I put my foot down and say "not happening".

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NOSA: Anyway, with our review budget looking real funny in the middle of the month, my coworker mentioned this “new shawarma place” that I just had to try. Turns out it was Meat Up again. I guess we had to check it out at this point.

We ordered a chicken shawarma, with no “hot dog” and little light on the pepper, and the grilled turkey.

FOLLY: But the attendant decided we couldn't have possibly known what we were doing and proceeded to put not one, but TWO sausages in the shawarma. 

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NOSA:  Now, I don’t have a problem with this, but Folly does and we were splitting the shawarma. If you, like Folly, are very averse to pepper, you might have to pull those dudes by the ear and make sure they get your order right.

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The shawarma, itself, was a delight. Absolutely loved it. Top 5 in Lagos, or maybe just Lekki, as far as I’m concerned. In fact, Top 2 and it’s not 2. That’s how good I think it is.

FOLLY: Personally, I felt the shawarma was alright. The sausage really threw me off because I've always prided myself on not being a Philistine so this was my first taste.

NOSA: Shawarma without sausage is joke stuff abeg.

Anyway, I must add that it lacks a bit of structural integrity so this is not the shawarma you want to order for date night. You need to devour this one in the privacy of your home.

Before i forget about it, the turkey was pretty good as well.

FOLLY: The turkey was too hard but take my opinion with a grain of salt cause I only had one bite.

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NOSA: It’s very hard to mess grilled turkey up and these guys didn’t. Actually no, it's easy to mess up turkey. I've had some terrible grilled turkeys in my lifetime now that I think about it.

 

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: I'll definitely get the shawarma again.

And again.

And again.

FOLLY: Just one again for me, for now. Let me re-evaluate without those nasty hot dogs.

 

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Shawarma - N1500

Turkey & Yam - N1600

 

PARKING

Like, 3 or 4 spots.

Eko Street Eats is a Triumph of Fun Over Tradition

NOSA: About a year ago, Imoteda and Ramon had this pretty genius idea of making Nigerian street food a lot more fun. That’s how Eko Street Eats was born. A couple of pop ups here and there, and it was gone. Gist has it that Ramon had to leave the country for a while and without the other half of the project, it couldn’t really go on.

FOLLY: Not really gist because it was part of his bio for the exhibition. 

NOSA: Until last Saturday, that is. Ramon has to go away again, but for one afternoon, we got it back.

FOLLY: He does? That's sad :( 

NOSA: The menu was pretty straight forward. Just six items only and in typical EDL fashion, Folly and I ordered everything.

FOLLY: Twice, but that's cause we were being greedy tbh. 

NOSA: My favorite of the lot was the Pyam (Lightly fried pounded yam balls). Probably the Bini in me coming out, but it was oh so delicious.

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FOLLY: That reference is lost on me. Is there a thing about people from Benin liking yam? Either way, it was my favorite too. I don't know how she (Chef Imoteda) did it but the pounded yam didn't have a single lump in it, smooth to perfection. 

NOSA: The Yaji Shrimp Tacos were great too, but they didn’t “get me” like the pyam did.

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FOLLY: Yeah, I would have appreciate more suya spice on this. I don't usually like a whole of heat but that's what I was expecting. Next up was the PB-J which is plantain cubes served with peanut butter paste and zobo jam. 

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NOSA: Also, I know a lot of you are thinking it, but the PB&J wasn’t bad. Bananas and peanut butter are a thing, so I don’t understand how everyone thinks it won’t work with plantain.

FOLLY: Nosa is lying, this was a big fat NO from me and he knows it. Peanut butter has no place on or served with plantain so this was a bit of a sacrilege if you ask me. And yes you're asking me because you're on my blog. 

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NOSA: The corn on the cob didn’t really work for me. It was ambitious and I saw the vision, but the execution just fell short. That one might need to go back to the drawing board.

FOLLY: I ate around the wara because for some reason I just wasn't interested in it. For the uninitiated, wara is local cheese curd. Ultimately, my favorite thing was the puff-puff funnel cake. I love puff, dessert, and funnel cake so naturally this was magic to me. The mango sauce was also a perfect accompaniment.

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NOSA: At the end of day, however, this goes beyond what works and what doesn’t. The true achievement of ESE isn’t the food. I mean, the food matters, but what really matters here is how open the chefs are to experimenting. ESE is proof of concept on how versatile and exciting typical Nigerian food can be. The diversity of our flavours shouldn’t be restricted to “traditional” items. Nigerian food should be fun. Now, we just need Ramon to come back so we can get another popup going.

FOLLY: So again, this was a pop-up so there's no address and phone number. We have no idea when next they'll be having another one but you can check out their Instagram page here for updates. 

Eat.Drink.Travel: Neighbourgoods Market (Johannesburg)

After our first Eat.Drink.Festival, Folly and I looked up a couple of different festivals around the world to get a proper understanding of what we were trying to do.

That’s when I stumbled on Neighbourgoods Market and it has been on my bucket list ever since.

Well, South Africa, in general, has been on my bucket list to be fair. The food scene is so vibrant.

Begun with a vision of reviving the community market as a social institution, The Neighbourgoods Market was held for the first time in September of 2006.

Housed in the historic sky-lit warehouse of The Old Biscuit Mill, the market quickly established itself as a catalyst for - and celebration of - the urban renaissance that has seen the once dilapidated neighbourhood of Woodstock become the thriving heart of the city’s creative industries.

Every Saturday from 9 AM - 3 PM, Jozi locals are in there like swimwear. For something so frequent, I couldn’t believe the turnout.  If we tried this in Lagos, everyone would get fed up after a month.

The area is a little bit dodgy, so it's best you take an Uber. My Uber driver told me a guy got shot some blocks down about a week ago. On the bright side, that's a testament to the authenticity of the neighborhood.

Last thing, do NOT take your kids.

The Best Pizza You Didn't Know Existed

Pizza Marella

Nars Plaza. Plot 1673, Karimu Kotun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos

FOLLY: I didn't believe that this place existed when Nosa mentioned it. In my mind, he had "come again" with all this food adventure P. I just wanted to get a Toastie and go to Hans & Rene but my dear friend here was up for adventure and reviews, needless to say, he won. 

 NOSA: Well, I found out about this place from Twitter. Part of my morning routine involves searching for mentions of "eat drink lagos" to feel what the streets are saying and  a nice lady wanted to know what EDL thought about Pizza Marella. 

TL;DR - Bat signal went off. 

FOLLY: FYI, this place isn't a restaurant. It's a shawarma spot in the driveway of a shopping complex that also sells pizza.

NOSA: The lowkey-est of spots. 

FOLLY: For what it is, Pizza Marella has decent customer service.

The waitress carried a table for us into the shade when we arrived because like I said, it's in the driveway of a shopping plaza they can't have any tables in the way cause cars need to drive out. Secondly, the Lebanese man that we think is the owner went looking for a carton to put against the bars in the fence to create even more shade for us cause the sun was pretty harsh.

NOSA: He IS the owner and he might be the most pleasant man ever. 

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FOLLY: We ordered the Pizza Marella. It has chicken, sausage, pepperoni, and tomato. 

NOSA: It's named after the spot so it has to be good, right?

Fun fact: Our favorite pizza at La Taverna is Pizza Taverna so it's no surprise that we went for the eponymous pizza. 

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FOLLY: I appreciated the freshness of the tomato - the redness really jumped out at you on the pizza. The sausage wasn't what I was expecting, I was expecting sausage meat in dollops and the pepperoni was of decent quality. 

NOSA: The dough wasn't all the way "ready" in the sense that it wasn't quite done. It wasn't a problem on first bite, but on subsequent bites it hit me and I realized pizza shouldn't be so chewy.

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FOLLY: I did enjoy the stringiness of the cheese, you don't always get that with La Taverna's pizza but as Nosa mentioned there was that chewiness to the dough that we didn't like.

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: The dough issue was a bit of a problem for me because "medium rare" pizza is definitely NOT a thing.

FOLLY: The pizza was good but the surroundings give Pizza Marella a zero for ambiance. I can get pizza that's equally as good and possibly better in a nice environment at Pizza-riah or La Taverna so based on that I'd probably not visit Pizza Marella again. 

NOSA: It's better as a take-out thing to be fair. If you're a pizza "purist", you'll definitely go with this over Debonairs or Dominos.

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Pizza Marella (Large) - N3500

 

PARKING

Street parking.

Papa's Grill is a Needed Addition to Lekki's Evolving Restaurant Landscape

Papa's Grill

Plot 1 Adewale Oshin Street, Off Fola Osibo, Lekki One, Lagos

0806 037 6491

FOLLY: I understand that Nigeria is a very religious society but why don't more businesses open on Sundays?

NOSA: My boss usually talks about how businesses shape customer behavior. GTBank, for instance, tries to push their customers to online channels by offering limited service in branches. In the same way, Nigerian businesses probably want you to go to church by not opening early on Sundays or not opening at all.

FOLLY: I get that everybody needs days of rest but that's exactly the point why restaurants tend to take Monday off. 

NOSA: Or maybe the owners are churchgoers.

FOLLY: I have no data to back this up but for N250,000 on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, I'd definitely answer that restaurants make highest sales on weekend days as opposed to weekdays. If that is true, it would then make little to no sense not to open on a Sunday. Except, of course, you're a deeply religious business owner like Chick Fil-A.

The purpose of this mini rant was to obviously let you know that the first time we tried to visit Papa's Grill on a Sunday we discovered that they were not open. 

NOSA: Predicatably, this was deeply upsetting.

FOLLY: I did the ordering and I was pretty disappointed by the lack of options. On the day, Papa's Grill was more a chicken wing shop than a grill place because almost all beef options were unavailable. 

NOSA: A nice looking wing shop, to be fair. I really really loved the set up at Papa's Grill. It's like food truck, but in a building. It doesn't look like a truck, don't get me wrong, but it has this food truck vibe. You'll understand when you pay a visit.

FOLLY: I ordered Chicken Bites, Sweet and Tangy Wings, Orijin BBQ Wings, Fried Plantain, and Papa's Gizdo. For the most part I was largely underwhelmed by Papa’s Grill and nothing really stood out on my taste buds. 

NOSA: Folly didn't get a picture of it, but the Crispy Bites are the closest thing you'll find to chicken nuggets in Lagos.

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FOLLY: The plantain in the Gizdo was pretty firm and the gizzard was tender. It tasted okay but not memorable, and so in one word: basic.

NOSA: I'm not the biggest gizdo fan in the world so my opinion shouldn't count for much. I'll go as far as saying plantain is a bit overrated.

Fried Yam > Fried Plantain.

What we really need is YamDo, but we'll get into that on another day.

FOLLY: YamDo sounds awful.

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FOLLY: Of the two wing styles, I preferred the sweet and tangy. The chicken wings weren't hard chicken but it could have been a little bit more tender. I didn’t notice it on the flats, but the drumettes were exhausting to eat and often times I gave up. 

NOSA: I preferred the Orijin BBQ wings. They had a more interesting flavor, if you ask me, and the whole idea of it is pretty genius. At a party some time ago, the guy working the grill made beer can chicken, but with Orijin. It's probably one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten in my life.

FOLLY: Yeah, that chicken was absolutely amazing. The Orijin BBQ at Papa's Grill, unfortunately, tasted nothing like that instance. 

NOSA: The Orijin BBQ wings brought back those fond memories. You might argue that they truly didn't have a more interesting flavor and I'm judging based on nostalgia. You might be right too, but either way, order these when you swing by Papa's Grill.

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FOLLY: The other times I’ve ordered plantain as a side they were cut in strips similar to yam fries and weren't oily.

NOSA: Error.

FOLLY: These were like plantains that you’d eat with jollof rice and two meat, and so a bit out of place if you’d ask me. 

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NOSA: On the whole, Papa's Grill is the grill version of Denzel Washington. Denzel s not going to give you any performances out of the ordinary, but within his range, he gets the job done.

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: Overall, Papa’s Grill was good enough but it didn’t leave me with any strong feelings for or against it.

NOSA: Given the context of Lagos, this is a "LIKE". Sure, you might not leave with any strong feelings towards it, but you have to commend how "solid" it is. They don't get too adventurous with it, but they are adventurous enough. Folly is trippin'

FOLLY: FYI, it's a shack so it's a grab and go place for the most part. 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Crispy Bites - N1000

Papa's Gizdo - N1500

Orijin BBQ Chicken Wings - N1500

Papa's 90 Sweet & Tangy - N2000

 

PARKING

Street Parking