Ocean Basket: The One-Eyed Man in the Land of the Blind
FOLLY: I first visited Ocean Basket in 2015 and went back about 2-3 times in that year.I found it pretty good for a chain seafood restaurant, and I really liked it. In fact, the sticky toffee pudding was fantastic. It might have been a frozen dessert but it was very good quality.
Fast forward three years later and EDL gets a ton of seafood requests and especially for seafood pasta (we'll come to that later) so I suggested to Nosa that we hit up Ocean Basket to refresh our review.
NOSA: New location and new items on the menu, I expected to be blown away. Or impressed, at least.
FOLLY: I started with a glass of white wine before our starter Feta Garlic Bread arrived. Someone is going to call me shady for this, but it's going to be very hard for anyone to mess up garlic bread and thankfully Ocean Basket didn't.
NOSA: The garlic bread is the stingiest thing I've been served in Lagos. It's literally two bread rolls sliced in half. Look at the tiny cube of feta too!
NOSA: The worst part: it's actually pretty delicious.
FOLLY: Sure, they might have used their basic bread rolls and just halfed them but I liked the way it was served in a skillet with excessive garlic butter at the bottom because once we were done with the four pieces they served, I requested additional bread rolls to mop up all that delicious garlic butter.
NOSA: The garlic butter was actually spectacular. I don't get how something so intrinsically razz could taste so good.
FOLLY: At N900, I also couldn't fault the tiny knob of feta that topped the garlic bread.
NOSA: I can, please.
FOLLY: If I was paying more, I would have needed a dollop at the very least but I'll settle because of the price.
NOSA: They need to charge more so they can serve it on better quality bread and use more feta.
FOLLY: Moving on to our mains, if I had a dollar for every time we were asked about best seafood pasta in Lagos, I wouldn't need to save for a ticket to America, I'll just have bought it outright. So at Ocean Basket, I ordered the Seafood Pasta for EDL readers.
NOSA: Easily the worst decision Folly has made this year.
FOLLY: When I reflect, I did this so you (the person reading this) won't have to. Although going in, I didn't expect it to be bad because Ocean Basket has most of the ingredients to be successful. When most people imagine seafood pasta, we don't straight up imagine Nigerian style Jollof macaroni, which is what Ocean Basket served. Jollof macaroni with fish, prawns, and calamari is definitely a type of pasta and has seafood in the mix but it's not one would expect in the Ocean Basket context, if I was The Place it'll make perfect sense.
NOSA: If we're keeping it real, most people wouldn't turn their noses up if the cook served this at home. Same thing if you saw it at the office canteen. But when you have to part with a substantial amount of money, it is only right to further scrutinize what exactly you're eating. At roughly $12, you should definitely expect more than jollof pasta. If you take that $12 to Olive Garden, you'll probably get a significantly more ambitious plate. Take the same money to La Taverna and you'll definitely not get this rubbish either.
FOLLY: Everything was very overcooked: the pasta was splitting and the texture of the fish had begun to resemble that of chicken. There wasn't much calamari in there - just a sprinkle.
NOSA: Just all round disappointment from Ocean Basket.
NOSA: At Ocean Basket, you should never get too fancy. Accept it for what it is and don’t stray from ordering only seafood. Also, keep it simple don’t even think about that sushi you spotted in corner of your eye. That’s what I did when I went with the Prawn & Calamari Combo.
FOLLY: I asked and thankfully their sushi service is out of commission for now because I know some of you people are stubborn and you won't listen to Nosa.
NOSA: The fries needed salt, but the actual prawn and calamari weren’t bad. These things are probably like second nature to the cooks in the kitchen. Nine times out of ten, it’ll taste the same way when your order it. It’s that type of consistency that keeps places like this in business and not the actual quality of the food.
FOLLY: Somehow they always manage to cook the prawns on their platters to near perfect consistency so I really expected more from the seafood pasta.
NOSA: Ocean Basket only exists as profitable business, I'm assuming they are, because there are no other options. It doesn't mean the food is actually any good, because its just passable. For some reason no one else has thought to set up a strictly seafood restaurant in the most populous city on the West African coast. For that reason alone, we are all suffering under Ocean Basket's tyranny.
FOLLY: The seafood platters are good and by the looks of things, consistent too but the pasta was horrible.
Garlic Bread - N900
Seafood Pasta - N4320
Calamari x Prawns - N4950
Decent. They have off street and on street options available.