Black Olive and Criminally Soft Pasta
FOLLY: Welcome to 2019!
It’s our first review for the year and it’s coming on January 7 because we took a break after #EatDrinkFestival5. This was my favourite festival to date after the first one in 2014. The first one will always be my favourite because I was completely blown away that we pulled it off and then we were on CNN African Voices for it the month after. Horn tooting aside, we have a lot planned for content this year and we look forward to making some big announcement towards the end of the week but until then let’s explore the pasta-abilities of Black Olive.
NOSA: Do Nigerians like their spaghetti cooked past al dente?
Like, noodle soft?
FOLLY: They do. The spaghetti was so overcooked that some strings split and appeared flat - almost like linguini. I think most people also prefer their rice to err on the side of soft and fluffy as opposed to firm. I ordered the Spaghetti & Meatballs at Black Olive and the pasta was “baby food soft”.
NOSA: After looking through the restaurant’s Instagram account, it looks a bit intentional. Something similar happened during our initial visit to BL Restaurant on Sinari Daranijo. When we sent the plate back to the kitchen, the chef insisted that most of the customers liked their spaghetti on the “soft” side. There was no returning of plates at Black Olive, just a perplexed waiter for us. The chef did come out to apologize so I guess that’s fair.
FOLLY: The waiter was very perceptive because when I requested he remove my plate even though it was less than half eaten and still had a meat ball (I only ate one and Nosa had the second), he asked what I didn’t like because I’d barely touched it. He probably relayed my complaints to the chef who then came out to apologise. No do over of the over cooked pasta though.
NOSA: The Creamy Penne was a bit better. Not soft enough to offend, but enough for the penne to split in multiple pieces. Again, maybe it’s a Nigerian thing and I’m the one with the problem here.
The pasta sauce was a positive, however. Very rich and creamy with a heavy helping of pepper. There’s definitely a clientele that this menu is built for.
FOLLY: Nosa’s order was infinitely better than mine but I could only taste it because of the heavy cream and my allergies. Mushroom also makes everything infinitely better, but obviously on a lower scale when you use canned mushrooms. I forgive canned mushrooms on pasta because the sauce coats the mushroom and you can almost forgive the mushroom’s rubbery texture, but I don’t forgive canned mushrooms on pizza.
NOSA: Our favorite thing on the day was the starter - Tempura Shrimp.
FOLLY: The tempura was great for the simplest of reasons, clean oil and fried at the perfect temperature so it didn’t become soggy or dirty. The batter wasn’t too heavy on the shrimp so we got just the right amount of crisp and crunch.
NOSA: I only wished the portion was larger because I loved it so much. Probably a foreshadowing of what was to come. I don’t mean to take us back, but why was the spaghetti so soft? Just look at it..
NOSA: Lol, I just can’t get over it. I’m sorry. Anyway, on to positive things - the service was excellent. The restaurant wasn’t packed. Actually, it was just us, but the attention received was commendable. The waiter was patient and attentive. That’s all you can ask for.
Oh, and it’s reasonably priced.
FOLLY: It’s very budget friendly but the food didn’t blow me away.
NOSA: Good try, good effort. Not for me, however.
FOLLY: They space is very nice. The menu prices are very casual while the space is tastefully upscale.
Tempura Shrimp - N3500
Creamy Penne - N4000
Spaghetti & Meatballs - N4000
Pretty good parking situation for a restaurant on Awolowo road