Posts in Restaurants
BBQ & Cravings is Still THAT Joint
 

FOLARIN: Random way to start but I can’t get over how Nigerians don’t classify burgers (and hot-dogs, pizza, french fries, sandwiches, etc.) as food, regardless of how filling they are. However, a bread and ewa agoyin sandwich is considered a meal but a thick beef patty and bun isn’t one? Okay, Akpan.

Anyway, one of the many downers to Lagos is how burger spots are few and far between. Most restaurants in Lagos swear they’re Patty & Bun or Meat Liquor level but either don’t deliver on that quality or are really difficult to access.

Why do the things we love have to be so far away? One on the mainland, another on a terrible road in Ikoyi and this one in Greater Lekki around the 19th roundabout.

After planning and being dissuaded by the traffic so many times, Christina and I finally visited BBQ & Cravings to re-re-reconfirm what their burgers are saying after Nosa & Folly’s past three reviews;

2015: BBQ & Cravings

2016: BBQ & Cravings Revamped Their Menu

2017: The Dirty Politician is a Monument to Greed

At this joint-like setting with eat-your-burger-and-be-going ambiance, we ordered the Yolo Burger, Superfly Burger and Soon To Be Famous (STBF) Pork Ribs for ‘diversity’ and the ‘BBQ’ part of their name, BBQ & Cravings.

 
BBQ & Cravings Yolo Burger

BBQ & Cravings Yolo Burger

BBQ & Cravings Yolo Burger

BBQ & Cravings Yolo Burger

 

The Yolo Burger came with a beef patty, crab meat, smoked ham and salami topped with one cute-ish baby prawn in a buttered bun. Similarly to Folly, I also didn’t taste all the individual elements because they went really well together. The patty was nice and not overcooked, and even though the bun looks like it was excessive in the photo, it was soft so it absorbed the juices and took the shape of my hands as I devoured the burger. While Christina was complaining about how hers was falling apart, with my pinky fingers pointing outward, I showcased the life hack I learned last year by eating my burger upside down. Overall, the burger was a little on the small side but it was worth the drive.

 
SuperFly Burger

SuperFly Burger

 

CHRISTINA: So! I went on to order the Superfly burger hoping it would be better than whatever Folarin was having since he thinks he has some supernatural gift of never being wrong with food/cocktail orders. Well, I think mine was better! The burger had a generous amount of proteins, from the beef patty and bacon to the one prawn and indistinguishable omelette, all in a soft mushy bun. Burgers are not my go-to meals because I’m not a fan of bread and I have been conditioned to only appreciate hot meals that come in plates.

FOLARIN: Said like a Typical Nigerian

CHRISTINA: However, I think this was a really  decent burger, although the bun underneath became a bit soggy due to my numerous breaks because like I said, eating burgers is a real chore.

FOLARIN: Learner

CHRISTINA: Overall, for someone that isn’t too keen on burgers, I enjoyed it and may visit again to try some of their other burgers.

FOLARIN: The last thing we ordered were the Soon To Be Famous (STBF) Pork Ribs for the complete ‘BBQ & Cravings’ experience, and based on the assumption that they’d be good since their patties are generally good and well-spiced - quite the reach now that I think of it.

The first serving of the STBF ribs came nicely chopped up in paper, kind of like Glover Court Suya with really fiery spicing, which most would have liked but… not me.

 
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Take 2 - after complaining, we got a milder serving of the ribs and we could actually assess how they tasted. The ribs weren’t too sweet and sour. If anything, they were semi-sweet and spicy and seemed like they’d bang with -I’m sorry to say- garri or Indomie.

Syrian Club, BBQ and Cravings and the likes are good examples of joints that still keep you coming despite their blatant disregard for the customers experiences, but we’ll be visiting again because… mugs.


POSTSCRIPT

FOLARIN: Crazy the lengths we’re willing to go for good burgers. Will be visiting again.

CHRISTINA: What he said.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

 Yolo Burger - N4000

Superfly - N4000

Soon To Be Famous Pork Ribs (no sides) - N3200

 

PARKING

Can take about 10-15 cars, but getting out might be a struggle 

You Can All Go Home Now, Southern Sun Brunch isn't Great Anymore
 

FOLLY: In many parts of Lagos, finding a hotel that offers a weekend brunch is common place now, a reflection of changes in consumption habits. About a decade ago, aside the fact that many of these hotels didn’t exist, Eko Hotel was the only player in the Sunday buffet field.

NOSA: I’m going to be very honest, I really can’t stand buffets. They’re definitely top 10 on the list of things I hate. I went to Cici’s once and Golden Corral another time, then I decided buffets weren’t for me at all. Ok, maybe not all. I can definitely do a good Chinese buffet. Oh, and bottomless champagne buffet and that’s exactly why I agreed to revisit Southern Sun. 

PRO TIP: Sundays are super PACKED so be ready to fight respectably…or make a reservation ahead of time. 

Let’s not lie or beat about the bush, Southern Sun has fallen off drastically. AND it’s way more expensive now. 

FOLLY: Yes, Southern Sun is not fantastic, in fact it’s not good, but it’s important. Lagos needs at least one place where you can get a decent (relative) all you can eat brunch with unlimited juices and champagnes. That’s what Southern Sun provides and it’s a shame they are the only ones that do.

A varied but average brunch selection served in a somewhat drab and loud environment teeming with humans and little humans alike.

NOSA: When money was “flowing in the economy”, you could definitely pull off a boozy brunch at Southern Sun. Look, I know you came here to escape from real life and politics, but it’s very important to know that the macroeconomic kini greatly impacts how boozy your brunch can get. These days, it appears you have to beg the waiters to serve you drinks.

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FOLLY: I don’t want to get into reviewing the food at Southern Sun because it’s going to be different every Sunday. It’s a buffet and any one of their hundreds of workers may put her unique flair on the prawns during her assigned shift. We can focus on their range and their service.

FOLLY: If we’re making a global comparison, Southern Sun does not have THE range. They don’t even have croissants in their spread.

NOSA: Southern Sun is looking all flabby and sick right now

FOLLY: They have the breakfast staples which include eggs, baked beans, bacon, grilled mushrooms, and pancakes. I didn’t see any sausages on display. Now that I think about it, they don’t offer yam and egg either. They also have cereals, yoghurt, cold cuts, and cheese.

NOSA: The cold cuts are pretty weak and the cheese is nothing to write home about.

FOLLY: Their salad bar is alright. Their non Nigerian lunch options are lacking. On one hand, I understand because they must localize but they should also offer a broad variety in both categories - Nigerian and International.

NOSA: The whole thing is a half assed attempt at a brunch buffet. I mean, buffets are bad enough. They least you can do is try. Bare minimum is all I ask.

FOLLY: If they offer a variety of Nigerian soups, swallows, and rice dishes, the “continental” side needs to be a bit more than one pasta dish, Mexican chicken and sautéed vegetables that are kept alongside the breakfast options.

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FOLLY: Another thing that bugs me is the ageism in there service.

NOSA: Old people are the only people that can afford it, to be honest. Not only did that generation ruin the country, they ruined brunch too.

FOLLY: Sadly, Southern Sun is one of those places in Lagos that offers a better version of their service to older looking patrons. From both being seated to being served, it was disappointing. The tables beside ours that had older people got served bread baskets and drinks on multiple occasions without being prompted. We had to ask (multiple times) before being served our drinks and bread basket.

Our drinks never got refilled unlike other people that sat around us. I drank the same mimosa from the beginning to the end of our meal - what a tragic waste of a bottomless brunch, right? . Others were even served their next drinks without even needing to ask. Or maybe, I have an ugly and unfriendly face - we’ll never know.

NOSA: 1/10, wouldn’t recommend. 


POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: Once a great brunch is now too expensive and terrible. If someone else was paying, I still wouldn’t revisit.

FOLLY: If I’m not paying, I’m definitely going back. I’ll get my money’s worth in drinks and pick at the food.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Buffet - N17000

 

PARKING

More than sufficient, it’s a hotel.

Endless Seafood at Shark Express
 

NOSA: Finding Shark Express might be a bit of a challenge (it was for us) because we didn’t see any signage and their instagram isn’t very clear on the location. That said, Eat.Drink.Lagos is for the people and we went around looking stupid before finding out it’s in the same space as Tilt Terrace. 

You’re welcome.

FOLLY: Funny cause Nosa said we should go in the direction of Tilt Terrace at first and I refused because “that’s another restaurant”.

NOSA: If you love seafood, the menu at Shark Express is as close to seafood heaven you’ll get. I can’t speak on how it all tastes, but on paper, it’s teeming with all sorts of sea pork.

FOLLY: A few Instagram posts had excited me.

NOSA: Between Folly and I, we split the Seafood Platter and the Jamaican Rice with Jerk Shrimp. 

FOLLY: I mean we tried to get a couple other things but we were promptly informed by our waiter that a lot of items were not available. I wasn’t satisfied with the service we received because we weren’t handed menus for about 5 minutes after our arrival because the waiter was on the phone. There were other wait staff around, but I think because we sat in the SharkHouse section, only that one guy could attend to us.

Seafood Platter

Seafood Platter

The food itself, also took a concerning amount of time to arrive. I could crack jokes about them going to catch the fish but I don’t think that’s it. I believe that the chef (who is only one person with no additional kitchen staff) was making each item on the platter one at a time and hence it took him over 40 minutes to finish up the 6 items.

NOSA: I wasn’t a big fan of Seafood Platter, or the overall wait time, either. This is definitely the last straw between crab and I also. Of all the animals of the sea, crabs are the biggest scam. Ridiculously expensive despite offering little. A bit like the platter in that regard, actually. There isn’t much to like about the platter. Maybe the fries get a pass, but I wasn’t a fan of anything else. 

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FOLLY: On the platter, I liked the corn the most and the prawns were a close second. The crab required too much effort and they didn’t give us the relevant equipment so I had a a couple crabs legs then gave up. The platter had a traditional flavour profile. It tasted like a Nigerian soup - think umami, salty, sour, smoky, spicy, Iru etc. Just imagine if you steeped sea food in the liquid from Efo Riro, Afang etc.

This is not a bad thing, just the first time I’d seen it done, as most restaurants in Lagos usually take the garlic, lemon, butter approach to seafood.

FOLLY: For the Jamaican rice and Jerk prawns. I don’t know what about the rice made it Jamaican inspired rice aside that it was brown (Jamaican rice and peas is often brown because of the use of brown rice or the addition of the spices)

Jamaican Rice with Jerk Shrimp

Jamaican Rice with Jerk Shrimp

NOSA: Nothing really stands out in the Jamaican rice. It’s just a lot of seasoning fighting for space in your mouth. 

FOLLY: It was most definitely well seasoned but without rhyme or reason.

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: Overall, it’s passable but not for me. Actually, I’m being honest I’d never go back here or recommend it to others.

NOSA: Yeah, I’ll probably never go back but I can see how some people might like it.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Seafood Platter - N10000

Jamaican Rice and Jerk Prawns - N5000

 

PARKING

Yes, mall parking available. Except it’s a Friday night then you might struggle .

Korean BBQ in Ikeja GRA
 

NOSA: I added Hua Han to our the list sometime last year, but we never actually got round to it. The List is basically a never-ending list of restaurants we plan to visit. Yup, it is a thing that exists. The secret is out!

Anyway… Afrolems visited Hua Han and shared it on her instagram story, which brought it back to mind so we decided to check it out over the weekend.

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FOLLY: Walking into Hua Han Garden reminded me of my experience at Orchid House.

NOSA: Hua Han is like a little Korea (or maybe China) hidden in Ikeja GRA. You literally have to pop in some “dark alley” to find the place. The address says Sobo Arobiodu Street, but it’s really on Sasegbon Street. Or off it, at least. 

FOLLY: On entry, there is a lot of Asian decor and elements that immediately confirms to you that this is the real deal. You also walk past the fridges stocked full with Chinese beverages including the iced tea which I ordered. Then you open the menu and there aren’t even English translations for everything, at this point I was confident I was about to get an authentic experience.

NOSA: Sauf the drink menu, you get menus: Korean and Chinese. Chinese is boring so we opted for the Korean. You should, too, if you end up going there. With Korean BBQ, you basically select your meats off the menu and grill it yourself on the table. Optimizing for Nigeria, Hua Han has a waiter help you with it. It’s like what Grills In n’ Out tried and failed to do some years ago. It’s perfect if you have a big group and you guys can try a whole bunch of stuff. 

FOLLY: Nosa always tells this story about the first time his siblings took his dad to a restaurant like this where you “cook” your own food.

NOSA: So I’m not going to tell it again…

FOLLY: Wow okay, For our Korean Barbecue experience, I took the reigns of ordering and we got:

  • Roast Beef Korean Style

  • South Korea Imported Boutique Pork

  • Baked Steamed Bread

  • Korean Fried Chicken

  • Steamed Bok Choy

Roast Beef Korean Style

Roast Beef Korean Style

Roast Beef Korean Style

Roast Beef Korean Style

NOSA: I really really wanted to start off with some dumplings, but they had none. Only chicken spring rolls were available. Perhaps they optimised for Nigeria a bit too much by adding the “menu item not available in real life” option. 

FOLLY: Of the two meats, the Roast Beef Korean Style was my favourite…

NOSA: Same.

FOLLY: … because the raw meat arrived seasoned and so naturally tasted better when cooked. The taste profile of this was very swalty. The marinade probably had sugar in it that crystallised when it was cooked.

NOSA: Thin cut excellence and marinated to perfection. 

South Korea Imported Boutique Pork

South Korea Imported Boutique Pork

NOSA: The Boutique Pork was a bit blander than the roast beef, but I guess that’s by design. Not a fan, but I respect it.

FOLLY: I also found the pork to be bland, bland, and more bland. It tasted much better when dipped in the sauces and spices we were also served as condiments.

NOSA: It’s a very fatty cut and perfect with the sweet & sour sauce you get on the side. 

South Korea Imported Boutique Pork

South Korea Imported Boutique Pork

FOLLY: Bok Choy is a leafy vegetable that very common in South Asian menus. It typically will take on the taste of whatever it’s cooked in but it also tend to have a faintly bitter taste. The bitterness was mostly removed by sautéing in garlic but I still could taste the very light bitterness but that’s normal tbh.

Bok Choy

Bok Choy

FOLLY: Korean Fried Chicken is a popular street food which is fried very crispy and then coated in a variety of sweet/spicy but always sticky glazed sauce.

NOSA: The one at Hua Han reminded me a lot of mall Chinese and I loved mall Chinese when I was a proper fat ass. I could inhale a General Tso’s portion in seconds. 

FOLLY: In Los Angeles last year, we checked out the Ganjung - what was nice about that experience was that there were a number of sauce options to choose from.

NOSA: Actually, now that I think about it some more, it did taste a lot like the Ganjung chicken we had in LA and that is probably a better parallel since they’re both Korean Fried Chicken.

Korean Fried Chicken

Korean Fried Chicken

FOLLY: Hua Han’s version comes with a default sweet and sour sauce. Their version of Korean Fried Chicken slaps - very tasty crispy balls of chicken. 10/10, I highly recommend.

It won’t go well with rice so please don’t report back and say you ordered it with rice and it was weird. Just eat this on its own as it is, and if you must, wrap in the lettuce that’s served with the meats to make a lettuce chicken wrap.

 

POSTCRIPT

NOSA: I really loved Hua Han and if it wasn’t so far away, I’d check it out more frequently. If you live in the area, you should definitely do it for Sunday lunch. 

FOLLY: The waiter seemed a bit angry sha. I think he was surprised we went with the Korean food.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Bok Choy - N2400

Steamed Bread - N1500

Korean Fried Chicken - N4500

Roast Beef Korean Style - N7600

South Korea Imported Boutique Pork - N5800

 

PARKING

It’s not plenty like that lol. Maybe 3/4 cars

More Chicken & Waffle Experiments at Craft Gourmet
 

Christina and I visited Craft Gourmet for a food and drink review so you should check out Christina’s piece for the full experience because it was pretty… interesting.

[Ed Note: Christina’s review for Drink Lagos should be up on Thursday]

We ordered three meals but got four - Chicken and Waffle Sandwich, Chicken Pesto Pasta, Dulce de Leche Pancakes and lastly, a bowl of Horrible Hospitality.

Just another Lagos brunch, I guess.

[Ed Note: Following Folarin’s review, I (read: Nosa) visited Craft Gourmet to check things for myself]

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The Chicken and Waffle Sandwich comes with chicken, bacon, mashed avocado and jalapeno peppers. Oh, and the Craft Gourmet toothpick flag to hold it together and reassure you that it’s not just any sandwich, but a Craft Gourmet sandwich that you’re eating.

As the waiter walked up to our table and I prayed against it being my order, all I could think of are those “What You Ordered VS What You Got” tweets we see after people have given their Ojuelegba tailors photos of world-class designs and asked them to replicate. For some odd reason, I still decided to give the meal the benefit of the doubt, thinking, “maybe it’s just how it looks. It probably tastes nice.”, but boy, was I wrong.

The waffles and all of its contents felt like someone ordered it earlier but cancelled, so they put it away and microwaved it when I placed my order. I’m actually 94.7% sure this was the case because the chicken fillets were just-been-microwaved kind of hot.

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The waffles were really hard, the avocado spread seemed to have dried up and the bacon was so hard that when I tapped it with my knife, it made a clanking sound like I was striking another metal.

Ok, maybe a minor exaggeration on the bacon. It was really tough, however.

My experience was a bit different. Waffle and the chicken tasted fresh, but the bacon was a little on the tough side like Folarin’s order. Also, very salty.

The problem with the Chicken & Waffle sandwich is that it just feels like a lot is going on. It works really well in some bites, if you catch the chilli jam, but not so much in other parts. The sandwich just doesn’t work. It doesn’t feel very practical. The elements are great individually, but fall apart as a whole
— Nosa

Not the best start to our brunch.

After trying the pesto at Casper & Gambini’s, La Veranda and Maison Kayser, I felt like we had to try Craft’s take with their Chicken Pesto Pasta. I ordered some extra bacon for good measure. The texture on the penne was the right shade of al dente - not too soft or hard. Thankfully, it didn’t have the green colouring like the one at La Veranda.

The dish was well spiced and not too creamy, generous with the proteins and tasted even nicer after we sprinkled the grated cheese we had neglected on it. Like the chicken and waffle sandwich, the bacon seemed a bit tough. Unlike the sandwich, I didn’t particularly mind it.

Chicken Pesto Pasta at Craft Gourmet

Overall, the chicken pesto pasta was decent but it’s not dislodging Casper & Gambini’s in my head.

I really liked the pasta, especially with the cheese, but I can’t rate how well it fares against other pesto pastas in this Lagos.
— Christina

The third thing we ordered were the Dulce de Leche Pancakes off the breakfast menu. I also finally decided to search on Google for the pronunciation of ‘Dulce de Leche’ and I’m lowkey upset none of my attempts were right.

  • Dool-theh theh Leh-tcheh (Actual Spanish pronunciation)

  • Dool-seh theh Leh-tcheh (Actual South American pronunciation)

  • Dool-cheh de Lee-chy (Folarin’s Attempt 1)

  • Dool-ch de Leh-ch (Folarin’s Attempt 2)

Anyhow, something the something pancakes.

The Dulce de Leche pancakes came with caramelised milk, almond crumbs, banana slices and a chopped up strawberry. Bonus points for the lovely presentation.

Dulce+de+Leche+Pancakes+at+Craft+Gourmet

The pancake’s texture was just right and the fruits and nuts went well together with the Dulce de Leche. While this was nice, it didn’t feel like something that should be on the breakfast menu. It felt way more like a dessert than breakfast. I tried getting Christina to try it but she wasn’t interested because of the sugar content.

At the end of our brunch, we received some particularly unpleasant service from our waiter and the manager - Lucky and Brett.

When the bill arrived, we asked to split the bill with food on one bill and drinks on the other, since Christina was handling DrinkLagos and I, the food review, but the waiter and manager made it out to be such a complex request to them. After numerous reasons why they can’t split the bill and how we should have asked for a split bill before ordering, the manager walked out on us while we were speaking to him.

A very unfortunate incident and to have come from the manager, that was particularly disappointing.


POSTSCRIPT

FOLARIN: Overall, the food at Craft Gourmet is decent enough. Maybe not enough to mask the service Brett rendered though.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Chicken and Waffles Sandwich - N4500

Chicken Pesto Pasta - N6000 (+N500 for bacon)

Dulce de Leche Pancakes - N4000 

 

PARKING

~100 cars in the Mega Plaza multiplex carpark