I love good food.
Tasty, sumptuous, creatively crafted, and beautifully served. That type of good food. You know how Nigerian resumes have a section for hobbies? Mine lists “breakfast, lunch, and dinner”. That’s how deep the love is.
Alas, my bank account thinks very differently. The debit alerts come in like “wyd Kemi?”. because frequent visits to NOK, Casper & Gambinis, RSVP, Art Café, and the likes hit the wallet hard. This is exactly why I got creative and came with a little win-win situation - hacking the menu. This way, my foodie appetite is constantly attended to, and my bank account doesn’t cry. Or at least, it doesn’t cry as much as it used to.
If you are a foodie like me, here are three ways to hack the menu at expensive Lagos restaurants:
Split with a partner
If you’re craving a multiple items on a menu, you can go with a buddy. Both of you order different items, share, and split the bill. The last time my friends and I hung out at Utopia Lagos, we paired our orders and the bill.
My friend ordered pasta while I ordered cheese fries. We started with mine, and by the time we were ready to devour her pasta, we were already getting so filled up. Similarly, my bestie and I went to Shiro, we ordered a bowl of Pasta and requested they give us 2 serving plates, and voila! We went home all smiles.
Mix & Match
This seems like something everyone should sorta know already. But I was surprised when I saw this good looking guy sitting next to me at Hard Rock Café with the worst combination I have ever seen. He ordered for Red Hot Chili Fries, Santa Fe Spring Rolls and the Fish & Chips. That’s a frigging waste of money, bro! Yeah, it’s not my money, so I wonder why I fret on his behalf.
The best way to mix and match your food if you are on a budget is to combine your orders by price. An expensive main and a drink equals more spend while a cheaper main/drink paired with a more expensive main/drink equals less spend. The more your main costs, the cheaper the drink you should go for and vice versa.
TL;DR - Just order water.
Build Your Own Plate
The appetizer section of the menu at top Lagos restaurants often contain lots of overlooked items. Items that will fill you up on a normal day and have been casually tucked away as appetizers. Maybe “overlooked” is the wrong word, but you get the general drift. Grab an item from the appetizer section and pair it with a side. Voila! You have a meal. A local example: order the Pulled Pork Sliders at RSVP and pair them with a side of your choice. It’ll fill you up and won’t cost you as much as ordering the burger.
With these three tips, no Lagos restaurant is really inaccessible.
Kemisola Adetola is a Naija born and bred girl that likes to hangout and eats out a lot. She's a psychology graduate, creative writer, content developer and maker of sumptuous appetizers and deserts at Pebbles Appetizers.