An Arabian Barbie House
FOLLY: I ran across this restaurant a couple weeks back while combing through Lost in Lagos listings for a new restaurant to visit. We eventually decided against it because we thought it was in the Chocolat Royal family and we don't like their food.
NOSA: One of the guests at the ICF Dessert Party told us it wasn't part of the Chocolat Royale family AND that the food is pretty legit so obviously we had to check it out.
FOLLY: My first impression on arriving at the restaurant was the beautiful outdoor area, however it felt like it was 40 degrees out so dining al fresco was NOT an option.
NOSA: I bet this is a great spot to drink at night. As soon as God stops punishing Lagos with this heat, I'm going to give it a shot.
FOLLY: The inside of the restaurant is like a Barbie House for the MENA market. I mean there's so much purple and pink but it still manages to have an Arabian flair. We couldn't get any pictures of just the space but you may be able to get an idea from the background of the food pictures.
We had lots to eat so stick with us here as this might be a long review. The table was always full but the service was so good here that literally as soon as Nosa or I took the last piece from a plate, a waiter was at the table to take the empty plate in seconds.
FOLLY: We got the regular Hommous to start but if we had known they'd send us this complimentary platter with a variety of dips to start we probably wouldn't have bothered.
NOSA: I thought this contraption was sooooo cool. You see the black/grey ball? It has coals in it so you put your little piece of pita bread on it to warm it up. Sure, they can just bring you warm pita bread like they did with our hummous, but why do that when you can have this heater ball thing?
FOLLY: The hommous was really good, way better than that at Pat's Bar, but not as good as that at Syrian Club. The consistency of this hommous was incredibly smooth, not a single chunky bit in sight.
NOSA: I was a bit disappointed they didn't have the hummous with the beef in it. That's slowly become the only way I can enjoy hummous fully these days.
FOLLY: Next, we got the Falafel.
NOSA: I've probably told this story before, but I'll tell it again.
FOLLY: Yes, you have several times actually.
NOSA: One time in New York, I got really drunk and my girlfriend at the time thought food would be an amazing idea. So we, with a group of her friends, hit up this food truck and get a whole bunch of falafel. Now, that was the first time I ever had falafel and it tasted so DIVINE. I've been chasing for that taste ever since and nothing ever comes close. Perhaps, being drunk heightened things a bit. You know, like Marrocaine shawarma.
FOLLY: Now see I, unlike Nosa, have no idea what falafel is supposed to taste like and I've only had it twice - once at Syrian Club and the second time here at Arabesque.
Personally, I found it quite bland but I guess that's what the garlic dip is for. I do weird things so I occasionally dipped my falafel in hoummous for double the dose of chickpeas.
The drink I originally wanted wasn't available. The waiter explained that earlier in the day a NEPA surge had blown the fuse in ALL their blenders. I settled for a Pink Punk Cosmo on our waiter's recommendation, while Nosa had the Ultimate Mojito.
My drink was really strong, so I can't imagine how strong the one that had 3 or so liquors in it would have been. I can't believe the waiter was suggesting your girl drink a Long Island at like 3 in the afternoon
NOSA: My mojito was pretty much excellent (because it came in a huge mug and therefore contained lots of alcohol)
FOLLY: Oh, Nosa's mojito was awesome because it wasn't too sweet like most mojitos are, and the fresh lemons added just the right amount of tart.
NOSA: Our mains were the Arayes Arabesque and the Mixed Grill.
FOLLY: Ordering the mixed grill at a Lebanese restaurant is definitely like getting chickwizz at Chicken Republic. You just have to get it to see if the people really know what they are doing.
FOLLY: In order of preference for me was the minced lamb, the minced chicken, then the regular lamb and finally the regular chicken.
NOSA: I really liked the grilled chicken, but I wasn't a fan of the minced chicken. That one was a bit bland for me.
FOLLY: The chicken wasn't bad but I didn't like it or maybe I was full at this point because I barely touched it.
NOSA: The lamb was tender like real lamb, but I really wished it had a kick to it. This is probably my inner Nigerian speaking, but I just wanted to dip it in pepper.
FOLLY: Yup, I was disappointed that they had taken the garlic dip cause your body is just itching to dip it in something. The lamb lost points from me for being chewy and bland.
NOSA: The Arayes Arabesque was like a Lebanese quesadilla, but with halloumi in it, i.e. very delicious.
FOLLY: This arayes at Arabesque > the arayes at Scarlett Lodge. I wish they hadn't taken our pita warming contraption when this arrived because the arayes pitas got cold as it sat out on the table and it was best eaten warm.
NOSA: It's a lot pricier than Syrian Club despite not having better food. It does have alcohol, however. That kinda changes things. So yeah, I'll be back here.
FOLLY: They also have an indoor seating area unlike Syrian Club so you don't have to fight with flies. Most importantly, Arabesque has waiters that ARE checking for you, which in Lagos is PRICELESS.
Hommous - N1700
Falafel - N2600
Arayes Arabesque - N3100
Mixed Grill - N5000
Pink Punk Cosmo - N2000
Ultimate Mojito - N1800