Posts in Taste Test
Taste Test: The Amala at NOK by Alara

Unlike Folly, Nosa is not the biggest fan of Amala. Actually, that sounds like he might tolerate it. Nosa HATES Amala. That's a true reflection of what we're dealing with. So you can see how a proper assessment of the Amala at NOK wouldn't work if one half of Eat.Drink.Lagos has an inherent bias. Lucky for us, two readers of the blog helped us out -  @Ruby_TNT and @Jollz


ONYEKA: NOK is well known for its gourmet take on traditional Nigerian and African food in general, so when I was chosen (yay, me!) by Eat.Drink.Lagos to try out its new Amala menu, I was pretty excited.

JOLA: Joining Folly, Nosa and Onyeka to try out Nok’s amala was the natural next step in what I consider a career in amala connoisseurship and I was honestly honoured. Many are called but Jollz was chosen and more importantly, Jollz delivered.  

ONYEKA: Not because it was free amala, I mean sure, who doesn’t like free food especially when it’s amala, but because I was kind of eager to see how NOK intended to gourmet-fy it.

It’s AMALA!

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ONYEKA: Anyway, no need to talk about how pretty NOK is and its amazing ambience…those who know, know. On to the food itself. Firstly, it came in a really pretty bowl. Not authentic clay, but it did look quite real and gave off that traditional food vibe-ish. 

Now, to dissect the food and cost.

Bearing in mind that the menu said "amala with ewedu, gbegiri and assorted meat" for N3500, I was expecting a lot of amala for that price. Iya Olaiya anyone?

JOLA: The best amala is Ibadan amala, closely followed by early morning “buka” amala (don’t ask me how I know this) and right behind that is wedding amala (but it’s advisable you have a cast iron stomach to be able to fully take advantage, if not you'll find yourself stuck in the bathroom for hours). 

ONYEKA: But one needs to remember that this is fancy amala and not the usual Iya Basira type food so I guess N3,500 is understandable…

...nahhhh, it’s not. N2000 or N2500 would have been more feasible.

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JOLA: Again, NOK is great at presentation. The bowls were super cute and the amala was appropriately drowned in a sea of ewedu, gbegiri and assorted meat (yuck) as is customary.

ONYEKA: The amala wasn’t much. At first glance, it looked quite plentiful until I realised that it was literally a circle. The space in the middle was meat and stew. Hmmm.

Anyway, there was a whole lot of stew but not enough ewedu. I should point out now that I refused the gbegiri because beans because ground beans because EWWWW. Moving on, ewedu makes the whole meal. As far as I’m concerned, my amala should be drenched in ewedu with just a little bit more than a splash of stew. Luckily, the stew was really nice, so I guess I can forgive the not-enough ewedu.

Somewhat. 

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ONYEKA: Then, the meat.

Assorted meat.

JOLA: I really, really dislike assorted meat but apparently you people die for it

ONYEKA: When I hear "assorted meat", I think of roundabout (intestine), shaki (tripe), fuku (heart), beef, kpomo…you know, the good good.

NOK’s assorted meat was…let’s call it posh.

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ONYEKA: A lot of beef, slivers of shaki and cow leg. Maybe other people got roundabout or kpomo, but not me. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of beef, and if my cowleg isn’t melt-in-the-mouth soft, then I stay far away. My beef was soft but there was too much, so I had a piece or 2. My cowleg was soft but not as soft as I would have liked so I cut a bit out of a piece and that was that. I had my 2 slivers of shaki and, to their credit, they were quite soft and nice. I’ll give them that.

But yahhh, that’s it.

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ONYEKA: The piece de resistance, aka the amala, was really really nice, however.

JOLA: The texture of the amala was perfect, it was neither congealed, hard or super black. Amala is meant to be supremely soft, which is why I maintain that the best amala is made by old women with church aunty arms and less than 11 teeth.

ONYEKA:  Hands down, one of the fluffiest amalas I’ve had outside my house. I lowkey wanted more amala (but with more ewedu in the stew – yes, I’m not letting this go) but that would have been an extra N3500 and it’s never ever that deep lol.

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JOLA: Taste wise it wasn’t bad at all; I actually really enjoyed it.

Now, let me confess, I have a bit of an attitude when it comes to “fancy places” doing amala. I need a little grime, a few healthcare violations, a lot of rude women, and an immense lack of customer service.  That guarantees great tasting amala… well most of the time (side eye White House). However, I must confess, Nok impressed me. The amala was really soft, stew had bit of a kick (and you know how yoruba women are about their pepper), and overall it tasted really good. The ewedu and gbegiri combo wasn't watery (trust me, it’s a thing) and the actual beef in the collection of assorted meat was soft and delicious (I didn't touch the rest because I deserve better).

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ONYEKA: All in all, it was pretty okay if deconstructed, but for that price and for everything in general, I don’t think I’d be going to NOK again for this particular meal. If I could have the amala on its own though, I definitely would go back for more and more.

JOLA: At N3500, it’s pricey for amala but if you’ve got it and want to impress a few bougie friends I guess you should go for it. From this amala connoisseur it gets a thumbs up, and trust me, I know what I’m talking about. 


DAMAGE

Abula - N3500

Taste Test: Bottles Pizza
 

NOSA: In our Bottles review, we mentioned the addition of pizza to the menu. A restaurant specializing in Tex Mex fare suddenly adding pizza to its menu is probably one of the weirder things we’ve encountered in Lagos.  Not the weirdest though, that one belongs to the Tex Mex spot at Ikeja City Mall with Efo Riro on the menu. That one will never not be funny. 

FOLLY: Word is Bottles built a proper wood-fired oven to go with it too.

NOSA: Adding pizza to the menu is definitely weird, but I’m not going to lie and say Bottles hasn’t been thorough about it. The pizza selection isn’t boring, on paper, and they deliver too.  The Pesto Pizza, in particular, looks very interesting. 

NOSA: For our little experiment, we went with the Parma & Rocket Pizza. The rocket wasn’t really rocket. At my big age, I think I should know what rocket is. What’s on the pizza is actually a baby spinach. It looked and tasted like it. I know my vegetables, fam.

FOLLY: Nosa doesn't eat fruit but he makes up for it in vegetables. I guess that's a good thing. Anyway, yes he is right definitely spinach and not rocket. 

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NOSA: They did warn that everything on the menu was subject to availability of ingredients, but it would’ve been nice if we were warned ahead of them bringing the actual pizza. I mean, look at the rocket on Sabor’s Surf & Turf Flatbread and how they use real rocket. 

 SABOR

SABOR

 Bottles

Bottles

FOLLY: The parma ham was okay but cutting it up in squares would have been better than spreading uncut atop the slices and thus creating a logistical challenge . 

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NOSA: As you’ve probably gauged by now, Bottles leans towards the thin crust wood-fired style like Pizze-riah and La Taverna.

FOLLY: While we're comparing, the quantity of parma ham was a little bit less than you'd get on a pizza at either of the aforementioned places.

NOSA: Yeah, unlike the aforementioned two, our pizza wasn’t also particularly fresh. The limited “cheesiness” hinted at it, but the crust gave it away. 

FOLLY: I also wasn't particularly impressed by the quality and quantity of cheese on this pizza. The base tomato sauce was more prevalent than the cheese was.

NOSA: It tasted like it was made some hours earlier and just heated up before it was served to us. Thin crust pizzas don’t really “keep” well. If it’s not eaten fresh, it’ll expose many a pizza parlor. The crust quickly turns stiff. If you’ve eaten a day old baguette, you should be familiar with how it hardens. With a thin crust pizza, it’s like eating a biscuit.

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: It such a shame because Bottles has clearly put a lot into this pizza thing happen and such rookie errors should not occur. It’s an easy fix though and I do hope they fix it. 

FOLLY: Or maybe we caught them on a bad day? Or maybe they should just maintain their focus on Tex-Mex? If you've tried it can you let us know your experience?

Stout Wars: Guinness v Legend

FOLLY: A few weeks ago Nosa put out a joke about Legend being the drink of choice for armed robbers and Twitter NG got upset. 

NOSA: I said what I said. 

FOLLY: The responses ranged from the handler of this account needs to be fired, a brand can't come for another brand, and that we'd just lost ourselves an endorsement from Legend. The last one made me howl. 

NOSA: Look, if you’re a discerning drinker, it’s even a thing to be discussed. If you like your stouts, there’s no way you can like Legend. It’s way too light and is not as creamy as the old Legend ads suggested it would be. 

FOLLY: I really enjoy making our Taste Test videos so all the engagement gave me the idea for this one. It also gave us a chance to reshoot a stout video because we'd previously shot one last year but the footage was unusable due to sound issues. You might have noticed our video equipment has improved significantly since then. I disgress, 

We rounded a few friends of the blog who don't normally drink stout to get their novice opinion on the drink. We first asked them if they could tell the difference from looking or smelling, then they placed their guesses. Next, they tasted blind and then they re-confirmed their guesses. 

FOLLY: Oddly enough, most people like the supposed drink of choice for armed robbers. Will Nosa have to redact his tweet....

NOSA: Well, they’re wrong and I’m right.  Only the non-stout drinkers liked Legend and that’s because Legend tries it’s hardest to not be a decent stout.

Eat.Drink.Lagos x Wings N Sides Blazing Hot Challenge

A couple weekends ago we did something crazy. Inspired by Hot Ones, we invited three daring readers to try the Wings N Sides Blazing Hot Challenge for our "EDL TV". The challenge, which has been a thing since Wings N Sides opened their physical location in December, is to eat 12 super HOT chicken wings in 3 minutes without drink any water or milk.

If for some crazy reason, this video has motivated you to take the challenge. You can attempt it at Wings N Sides in Lekki any day they are open. 

And if you have attempted already, how did you do?

Eat.Drink.Lagos Taste Test: Champagne!

Contrary to what a lot of people think, there's a clear difference between cheap and expensive alcohol. Hennessy VSOP, for instance, is miles away from Hennessy XO. Expensive champagne, too, tastes very different when compared to cheap champagne (technically, cheap sparkling wine). The first tell sign is that it also looks very different when poured - that's probably the quality of the grapes and the aging process showing.

You might doubt it, but we ran a little experiment to test our hypothesis. A couple weekends ago, we got a few friends of the blog and EDL readers together for this very fun video. We wanted to see if people could tell the difference between cheap vs expensive champagne. 

They were mostly right in the sight test but some people got a bit confused during the tasting phase. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments!