Posts tagged fine dining
Hacking the Menu at Expensive Lagos Restaurants

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

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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

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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

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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.

Ikeja Gets a Taste of Fine Dining

CUT @ Renaissance Hotel

38/40 Isaac John Street, Ikeja GRA, Lagos. 

0908 780 5555

NOSA: Folly told me a Marriott opened up on Isaac John and I didn't believe her. The street already has two big hotels on it, a third would be overkill.

I was wrong.

Someone built a Marriott on Isaac John.

FOLLY: My initial reactions were:

  1. This restaurant is too expensive to have a paper menu
  2. This restaurant is too expensive to be in the lobby. 

NOSA: I'm not going to lie, the place is beautiful despite Folly's issues. Ikeja has been missing an IT restaurant for a while now, and it looks like the steakhouse, CUT, at Renaissance Hotel is ready to fill that void.

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FOLLY: Their starters were incredibly weak. The only one we were half interested in trying, we felt didn't warrant the N9500 price tag so we skipped alladat and went straight for our main course.

NOSA: The starters might be the only thing that disappointed me about this place. 

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FOLLY: Nosa had the New York Steak while I had the Daily Surf & Turf.

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NOSA: The steak wasn't the most tender, well, compared to my ribeye at Talindo. Actually, that's a terrible comparison because a ribeye should always be more tender than a strip. The strip was as chewy as I wanted it and that slice of fat on the edge was the most delicious thing ever.

FOLLY: The more crispy (read: burnt) part of the fat was even more delicious.

NOSA: Another thing I loved was the chimichurri sauce (not pictured). It went so well with the steak. 

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FOLLY: The daily surf & turf was a tenderloin steak and a salmon fillet. I selected the potato au gratin as a side. 

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For the potato au gratin, the chef went with the sharpest cheddar he could find. I know this might not work for some, but it was absolutely delicious and tangy. 

NOSA: I got the grilled vegetables with mine. Oh, you have to pay extra for sides. It so ludicrous. My grilled vegetables were great but not great enough to justify spilling an extra 2k for. But as I couldn't just eat a steak alone, I opted for it.

Scam.

FOLLY: Heist

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FOLLY: The salmon was my favorite thing I had at the CUT. The hard and salty exterior was bae (see what I did there? #saltbae) and the inside was flaky but not overcooked that it was dry. 

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I asked for my steak to be cooked medium and it was. It had just had a little bit of pink on the inside and less juices running through it compared to Nosa's.

It was very tender (as expected because of the part of the animal that it's cut from), but it was desperately lacking in flavor. I hated my mushroom sauce (they used canned mushrooms), but Nosa's chimichurri was very much up to the task so I stole from him.

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: Ikeja desperately deserves something that is better and bigger than Orchid Bistro. I mean, Orchid Bistro will still serve its quaint purposes, but before the Cut, if you wanted a more upmarket meal, there was nothing in the area.

NOSA: I liked the food at Cut, but I hate the prices. Like Folly said, it's good as a treat. You definitely can't eat all the time regardless of what tax bracket you're in.

FOLLY: Another thing I really liked about the Cut was that if you wanted a glass of wine, you're not limited to one cheap and unknown "house wine", but you can actually order most of their wines by the glass. 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Potato au Gratin - N2000

Daily Surf & Turf - N9000

New York Steak - N14000

Grilled Vegetables - N2000

 

 

PARKING

Underground parking available.

Talindo is the Best Lagos Restaurant You Aren't Going To

Talindo Steakhouse

7B Karimu Kotun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos

0802  365 5880

FOLLY: A little while ago Nosa and I were having a conversation with a gentleman about which restaurant in Lagos he thought was the best, his response was Talindo. After this review, I'm inclined to agree with him. I've always thought that 1415 was the best restaurant in Lagos because they deliver great food and exceptional service. The thing is Talindo also does that too, great food and exceptional service, but at a lower price point albeit in a less nice environment. 

NOSA: The price is really what took me by surprise at Talindo. I didn't expect it to be so...cheap.

And is it really a less nice environment? 

FOLLY: Talindo is "tight" compared to 1415, but then again 1415 is in the lobby and I have a thing against "fine dining in the lobby".

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FOLLY: Our starters were simple, we had the coconut prawns and the involtini di carne. The coconut prawns were as the name implies, the involtini di carne, however, is meat stuffed with zucchini in the most delicious chunky garlicky sauce that Nosa couldn't stop drinking. 

NOSA: That thing was delicious, please, imagine eating with rice and stop fronting. 

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FOLLY: The coconut prawns were decent. I was disappointed that they gave us tiny shrimp, I feel as though these should have been made with larger prawns. The quality of the prawns/shrimps just felt disingenuous to me.

NOSA: The coconut shrimp could've been a lot better.  Not taste wise, but I expected some more, a larger portion, maybe.

FOLLY: On the taste, the coconut is not in any way overwhelming. It's actually a secondary taste that comes after you've bitten into the shrimp. 

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All steak-ed out from the previous day's escapades, Nosa and I opted to split the ribeye and a pasta dish. Small mistake I made was to order the meat to Nosa's specification which is medium rare, I usually go a little north of that with medium. 

NOSA: Probably the best decision you made because the steak was so bloody good.

Tender, juicy, with a little chew, and some pink in the middle. Absolutely perfect. I knew Talindo had great steaks but I didn't expect to be so blown away by the rib eye.

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FOLLY: I chose the rib eye because no other cut of meat has the amount of fat that a rib eye does, and I felt that'll contribute to the flavor. Talindo gave us a very generous 350g of meat and this baby was thick. Sadly, I couldn't really enjoy the steak because it was a bit too rare for me but I had a few bites.

NOSA: Probably because you didn't get a steak knife. Don't blame the meat. 

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FOLLY: Yes, that's definitely why. I didn't like the pinkness of the steak because I didn't have a steak knife. Makes perfect sense. The meat itself didn't disappoint me, I just couldn't eat much of it on account of the rareness. 

NOSA: For our pasta, we got the Penne Pesto. 

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 FOLLY: The color of the pesto initially threw me off because I'm used to it being a lot lighter in color. Notwithstanding the color, it was a delicious pesto pasta. The pesto was rich and thick and pine nuts were toasted and had a nice bite to them. The penne was also a perfect al dente.

NOSA: The penne actually surprised me. I'd have let Talindo slide if the pasta was rubbish considering it's not their forte, but they surprisingly exceeded expectations. Oh, and it's low-key wallet friendly. 

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FOLLY: Best brownie in Lagos and I loved that it's served on a hot plate. Dessert is often overlooked in Nigerian restaurants so I love that Talindo put some pizzaz into the presentation. Also, it's a real brownie and not vanilla cake with Bournvita. 

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NOSA: This is definitely the most snapchat friendly dessert in Lagos. If you weren't already washed by Talindo, the brownie will definitely push you over.

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: Talindo is great for date night and other similar private intimate dinners. 

NOSA: For a place so good, I'm surprised Talindo isn't fully booked every night. Best steak in Lagos...easy. 

 

VERDICT

 

DAMAGE

Penne Pesto - N3800

Rib-eye Steak - N9500

Talindo Brownie - N2800

Coconut Prawns - N3400

Involtini Di Carne - N4500

 

PARKING

Limited parking inside, but street parking is also available. 

Tarragon Joins The Fine Dining Wave In Lagos

Tarragon

50 Raymond Njoku Street, Ikoyi, Lagos.

0817 762 6031

NOSA: Since they officially opened, Tarragon has been on the Eat.Drink.Lagos radar. We've been spying on their Instagram for a while now. Unfortunately, we sunk all our money in festival preparation and we couldn't check the spot out. 

FOLLY: There was also the persistent fuel scarcity earlier in the year, and nothing was going to make me venture to Awolowo Road, nothing. 

NOSA: The space is ridiculously beautiful. I'd appreciate more light (because pictures), but that doesn't take anything away. Tarragon's owner clearly had a vision and that vision was tastefully executed.

FOLLY: I was too shy to bring out the bring camera cause everyone is watching you, so we had to be sly with the iPhone. 

NOSA: The tables and chairs are small, though. Like, fine dining size chairs. Big man like me struggled a bit. 

FOLLY: Everything in the restaurant has to be small so when the food arrives and it's small you will feel right at home in Smallville. 

NOSA: We usually go with water whenever we check restaurants out.

FOLLY: Room temperature for me and cold with ice for Nosa. I don't know how you people drink cold water. 

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NOSA: A subconscious thing that we've decided to fix. Today, I went with the Take Me Home. Although the description says it's a lot more, the cocktail tasted like a really strong screwdriver. One of those ones where you pour too much vodka. 

FOLLY: Any cocktail with a name that suggests you'll need to be assisted home always has too much alcohol in it. I had a Thomas Barton Merlot because the wine list said it paired well with the Tarragon Platter which we got to start. 

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NOSA: The service at Tarragon is fantastic. From the lovely gentleman waiter to the head chef, who goes over the menu with you, everyone is so pleasant. Well, apart from the one girl who kept dragging her feet all over the place. I believe she was from the cooking school in Tarragon so they get a pass on her.

Platters are probably the greediest thing to order at any restaurant. When you think "platter", you expect a boat load of food stuffed in one plate so I was bit curious how a platter at a fine dining spot would work. 

FOLLY: I wanted us to try this because it combined two of the individual appetizers I was considering so it made the choice easier. 

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NOSA: The chicken balls were my favourite. I could eat a whole meal full of that chicken.

FOLLY: Same here. The sound of minced chicken (or turkey) usually turns me off so I had little hopes for this so I was pleasantly surprised. The chicken alone, is available as an appetizer and a part of me wished we had just gotten that. 

NOSA: The chicken, itself, had this sweet, but spicy, kick to it. Delicious, I tell you.

FOLLY: I found the beef log a little dry. It wasn't dressed with anything and was cooked well done so that should be expected. 

NOSA: I was more meh on the beef log. It was good, but it didn't get me in my emotions like the chicken. 

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FOLLY: The other two items in the platter were the potatoes and the profiteroles. The profiterole had cream so I stayed away but the potatoes were really good. The dressing on the potatoes was way too green to be pesto from looks alone but I had hoped it would be when I tasted it, this was very leafy - I think it's Ugwu. 

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NOSA: For my main, I got the steak (Boeuf on the menu). Now, the waiter didn't tell me I had a say on how it was cooked. In hindsight, I should have said something but since he didn't ask me how I wanted it done, I assumed they have a default way of cooking the steak. Luckily for me, their default was a medium and not a well done. Medium rare would have been perfect, but the medium worked too.

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FOLLY: I got rice x goat meat stew x crusted plantain (Braised Goat on the menu). Once I got my plate, I knew that bare people would be mad when we posted the review. Possible reactions include: "Is this a joke" or "Only one plantain" or  "Is that rice supposed to fill me" or "Rice and stew with international exposure".

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NOSA: You know what else worked? The little potato mash that came with my steak.

FOLLY: And the pickled mushrooms on the side, worked excellently too if you ask me.

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The menu said the goat would come in a "spicy tomato sauce". I learnt this from RSVP, but here's a tip spicy tomato stew in "fancy restaurants" is never peppery. So, I ordered this knowing fully well that this will go down well for me because in addition to being lactose intolerant, I cannot stand pepper. That said, if spicy means ata rodo for you, don't order this thinking you will be ooh-ing and ahh-ing and rushing for your glass of water, you won't. 

NOSA: Folly's goat meat was very, very tender. My Jesus!

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: For everything they say about fine dining portions, I was pretty stuffed after this.

FOLLY: I wasn't. In fact, I wanted to get dessert but Nosa rushed me out of that restaurant, I didn't even finish my wine. 

NOSA: Tarragon is definitely welcome in Lagos. A lot might hate it because of the portion size, but those guys aren't the target market. This place is perfect for your "let's dress up" dates

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Boeuf - N7500

Wine (Glass) - N2000

Braised Goat - N6200

Take Me Home - N3000

Tarragon Platter -  N6000 (approx.)

 

PARKING

8 - 10 parking spots tops, but there's street parking. 

We Went To 1415 AGAIN

 

1415 Eko Signature 

1415 Adetokunbo Ademola St. Victoria Island, Lagos. (Eko Hotel)

01 277 2700-25

NOSA: We were here for my birthday last year. They've revised their menu in the time since and as a result, it warranted another visit. 

FOLLY: The service at 1415 is a dream. You know how big companies send their new hires to off site training schools, I'm pretty sure 1415 does something similar because the waiters are well trained and it shows. 

NOSA: I think it's cute how they "announce" your order when they bring your food.  

"The Beef Fillet Surprise for you, sir!"

Cute. 

FOLLY: Last time we were here, we were being cheap so we got some weird starter called "double puff". This time we decided to embrace a you have one life to live ethos and got the Golden Fried Calamari and Prawns. It cost N6200 but YOLO. 

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FOLLY: The prawn was excellent. It was very white on the inside and also really soft. When prawn is over cooked it tends to become dense and chewy, thankfully this prawn bore no similarity to Robot

NOSA: I've had better calamari but the shrimp was absolutely fantastic. 

FOLLY: I thought the prawn > calamari but the calamari was good nonetheless. I find it difficult to chew calamari sometimes when it's really thick so I appreciated that these were thin rings. 

NOSA: Meanwhile, what on earth is the difference between prawn and shrimp? I always thought prawns were larger, but these are smaller so why does 1415 call them "prawn"

 

FOLLY: Continuing with our let's spend this money ethos, I got the Lamb Encrusted with Fresh Herbs as my main, while Nosa got the Beef Fillet Surprise

NOSA:  The Beef Fillet Surprise is a beef fillet stuffed with cheese, wrapped in parma ham, and drizzled in mushroom sauce. Yeah, all of that, mate.

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As far as the actual quality of beef goes, this is the best steak I've had in Lagos.  That said, I thought the mushroom sauce tasted a little burnt

Back to the fillet though, I got it medium rare like usual. Unlike usual, I wasn't disappointed. Just look at all this pink...

Meanwhile, that white thing in the middle is cheese. That's the "surprise" in the Beef Fillet Surprise. 

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FOLLY: When the waiter asked me how I wanted my lamb rack cooked, I won't lie I was surprised because I thought ribs were always cooked well done. Pardon my ignorance.

NOSA:  Before you continue, peep how they write "1415" on the plate with their funky sauce thing.

NOSA: Plating game on a 💯

FOLLY: Definitely cute, but back to the lamb I asked for it to be medium and Nosa's steak was to be medium rare. 

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The lamb on my plate was bleating and about to wake up, that's how pink the meat was. 

NOSA: A shame I forgot to save that snapchat picture, because that one lamb rack was literally still alive.

FOLLY: The herb crust was incredibly tasty, but the red wine reduction was really just red wine. 

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FOLLY: I really wanted to save room for dessert but we asked for extra bread like rookies so we were stuffed. I also can't remember what my cocktail tasted like but it was called the Planters Punch and Nosa's was a low sugar mojito. 

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NOSA: Pro-Tip - A low sugar mojito is an absolutely stupid idea.

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: I love 1415, it's the best restaurant in Lagos. It's very expensive so most people will never visit  so that's why no one knows it's the best restaurant in Lagos.

NOSA: It's not as expensive as RSVP and people (read: us) want to die there so I really don't know what gives. 

FOLLY: We would have had a lunch club here eons ago, if only they'd open for lunch. 

NOSA: Special late night Lunch Club?

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Golden Fried Calamari and Prawns - N6200

Lamb Encrusted with Fresh Herbs - N7500

Beef Fillet Surprise - N6800

Mojito - N2900

Planters Punch - N2900