Casper & Gambini's Keep the Consistency Award
I remember driving down to the Casper & Gambini’s street a while ago and turning back when I saw that they had closed. Also remember thinking they had fallen victim to the 3-year curse Lagos restaurants face, until Twitter people asked that I chill since they just moved down the road. Anyway, back after their odd rebirth at a new location with a “new” menu, I was excited to see, well, taste if they had remained the Consistent Komolafes that they are.
(Had a funny thought about them moving to another location on the same street – like dying a Nigerian and then being reborn in this same Nigeria instead of Canada. God forbid).
Okay, okay, on to the food. You know how you scroll through a restaurant’s menu but still order the same thing you ALWAYS get? That was me when I ordered a seafood starter and pasta – the Asian Spicy Shrimp and the Chicken Pesto Pasta.
The Asian Spicy Shrimp starter was pretty much tempura prawns tossed in sweet chilli, sprinkled with sesame seeds and spring onions – tasted nice but it really didn’t give off that spiciness that the name promised. I mean, it’s cool not having to stress yourself dipping tempura prawns in sweet chilli since the chef has done it already but, what else, sir? Where is the spice?
For the price, I think I expected 2/3 more prawns on the plate but Casper & Gambini’s seems to be selfish with the shellfish. Also crazy that this was more expensive than my main dish… “seafood”, I guess.)
My main, the Chicken Pesto Pasta was lovely! Not too dry, not too creamy, good texture tossed just right with the most appropriate pasta selection for pesto – fusilli, and the toasted pine nuts were just enough to not distract me from the actual dish.
Side note: Something that grinds my gears is when supposedly sophisticated and high-end restaurants that should know better prepare pasta dishes with the wrong pasta selection. Thank goodness C&G got it right. Might be extra but those that know, know. For those that like to experiment, and for the chefs in Nigeria that need a refresher, check the BBC GoodFood article on perfect pasta pairings out.
Reminiscing about the meal, I can’t remember that many chicken strips in the pasta, so a little more generosity with that would’ve been nice. This might be the secret to staying alive as a restaurant in Lagos tbh - stinginess with proteins.
Hmmm… I think I should have asked for bacon to come with the pasta for extra… oomph. Might go back just for that. :)
Overall, an okay starter, better main, reasonable portions (not trying to starve me like some restaurants we know, and didn’t have to overcompensate for mediocre food with a large serving), calm ambience with mood music and spacious seating area for group dinners if you’d like.
Can’t remember why I stopped visiting C&G’s after a good run ages ago but they really have kept it consistent! Arguably one of the top places for pasta in Lagos.
Ed. Note: We’re currently in the process of rejigging our ratings. Restaurants that are downright awful simply don’t get rated. Restaurants that we’ll never revisit get the frown-y Larry David while the smile-y Larry David is reserved for truly excellent restaurants. Everyone else goes in the middle - not great, but will revisit.
Asian Spicy Shrimp - N6000
Chicken Pesto Pasta - N5800
Decent parking but it’s a shared building so 10/15 cars