Posts tagged hotel
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.

An Amazing Burger in the Most Unlikely Location
 

NOSA: Over the weekend, an acquaintance hipped us to what he thinks is Lagos’ best burger.

A bit mad because we’re supposed to know these things. Lagos’ best burger is hidden in a random boutique hotel in Victoria Island AND we didn’t know? Nah, no way. Had to confirm.

FOLLY: Had to. I quickly searched on Trip Advisor and shared the link with Nosa. 

NOSA: The menu is currently under construction so the owner/manager/guy-in-charge ran us through the burgers. Not the full menu, just the burgers. So clearly, it’s a popular thing.

That said, we got the chicken wings to start. Couldn’t just jump right into the burgers but maybe we should’ve because the wings weren’t the best.

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NOSA: As crossfit as crossfit chickens get. Like, fresh off a clean and jerk ladder.

FOLLY: It wasn't as hard as some other chicken wings I've had in Lagos but it was obviously the wings were simply fried in stew - nothing fancy. 

NOSA: The stew was nice sha. I took a bit of a gamble with the burger because while I love the idea of eggs in a burger, I’m really not the biggest egg person.

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FOLLY: The egg in mine was really runny and on my first bite it squirted at me staining my dress and scarf. 

NOSA: Also, it had a pineapple slice and Folly has referenced a lot on this blog how I can’t stand fruit.

But I wanted the full experience for science, soooo…yeah.

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FOLLY: I refused to taste the pineapple in the burger and slid it out before I started eating. 

NOSA: Contrary to everything I thought, the pineapple worked well with it. 

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NOSA: With a better cut of beef, this would be a next level burger. Or actually, no, the patty is just right. If you go with a more expensive cut of beef, it might distract a bit. With more experimental (read: fun) burgers, it’s best to go with an understated patty. You’re basically overcoming the lower quality patty with all the efizi.

FOLLY: I didn't enjoy the burger but tbf it didn't have a fair chance. I was stuffed from lunch and dinner and wasn't really interested in eating anything so this was a tad bit exhausting. 

NOSA: Using an elite cut of beef would be like fielding the most expensive player in the world and parking the bus.

Oh wait, Mourinho does that.

Disregard the analogy.

 

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: The burger is good enough. I wouldn’t put it over the BBQ & Cravings equivalent, however. About the same, to be fair. Considering how a lot of people don’t know about it, you’d argue it’s a hidden gem.

FOLLY: Just take Nosa's review for it. I wasn't present. 

VERDICT

 

DAMAGE

Cheeseburger - N3000

Dagwood Burger - N3500

 

PARKING

Eh. Not a lot. Like, 5 spots.

Hotel Buffets: Iyeru Okin @ Renaissance Hotel

Originally published in GRA Ikeja Today (May 2017)


Iyeru Okin @ Renaissance Hotel

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

0908 780 5555

We arrived this Saturday just as the lunch buffet at Iyeru Okin at Renaissance was declared open. Iyeru Okin is situated on the hotel’s first floor, adjacent to the pool. Something about the space reminded us of Ikoyi’s Wheatbaker. Maybe the pool, or maybe it was the furniture. When you step into the restaurant, you get the feeling that the design was well thought-out. There is an abundance of natural light and furniture is well laid out. Nothing feels out of place, it all fits so perfectly. Some months prior, we had left the in-house steakhouse very impressed, so we didn’t expect to be disappointed at Iyeru Okin.

.Iyeru Okin is, for lack of a better term, ambitious. From the tastefully done interior decor to the capers in the salad bar, it doesn’t miss a step when it comes to style. Yet, for all of the style it packs, it is lacking in substance. 

For instance, the aforementioned salad bar, for all the abundance of toppings and garnishes to choose from, had only one base - lettuce. Nevertheless, the build-your-own salad bar is the picky eater’s delight, as choosing what you want to go into your salad is much easier than picking out what you don’t like.

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The obligatory pepper soup followed. With nary a bone in sight, the fish pepper soup at Iyeru Okin was thoroughly enjoyable. Perhaps the highlight of our afternoon. While the soup options are limited, maybe there’s isn’t a need to push the boundaries if the basics are done well enough.

Cocktails at Renaissance starting at N3500 will definitely set you back a pretty penny. We ordered the Classic Mojito and the Hibiscus Lemonade. The Hibiscus Lemonade was incredibly bitter as though someone had accidentally introduced Campari into the mix. The kind staff at the Iyeru Okin quickly remedied the situation with a tasty Chapman and all was well again.

The limited nature of the Iyeru Okin buffet spread truly hits when it was time to go for the main.  Three staples, two takes on chicken, a beef option, and a fish option. It’s a mouthful to read, but in reality, there really wasn’t enough. You’re either going with jollof rice and a protein or semovita/eba and a protein.

Notwithstanding, the egusi was unbelievably delicious. Nigerian soups are interesting in that you can often tell the socio-economic status of the preparer from the appearance and ingredients in the dish. It suffices to say the egusi at Renaissance was not a poor man’s iteration of the dish. Likewise, the semo was perfectly prepared without a lump in sight; however, the restaurant could have done more to ensure the “swallow” stayed warm in the buffet station.

After our more savoury courses, dessert time promised some welcome reprieve. Unfortunately, that was not the case and dessert fell flat. The options were several nameless sheet cakes that had sadly been over refrigerated to the point of freezing. 

On the whole, Iyeru Okin feels like it could be a lot better. For such a magnificent space, it deserves that at the very least. Sadly, the restaurant can’t stop getting in its way. Perhaps “falling short” is a feature and not a bug.

 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Lunch Buffet - N9500

 

PARKING

Abundant

Hotel Brunches: The Intercontinental Hotel

Ekaabo @ Intercontinental Hotel

Plot 52 Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

01 236 6666

FOLLY: It's no secret that Nigerians love buffets.

NOSA: And I absolutely hate that we do. I hate how for a lot of us, quantity > quality

FOLLY: It's the preferred dining style when most people want to dine out and so it's no surprise that the top search term on our blog (along with RSVP but today we talk about buffets, maybe on Twitter I'll get into the intersection of RSVP and Eat.Drink.Lagos). 

NOSA: I'm tired of mincing words here, buffets are the absolute worst.

FOLLY: Nosa and I reviewed Intercontinental's buffet over the weekend and it was so bleh that neither one of us is inspired to write about it. 

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NOSA: I don't think I want to see another buffet until next year.

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FOLLY: I started with the pepper soup which was just as good as any other buffet's pepper soup. Nothing stood out. At N9500 per head, I definitely expect to find big pieces of fish in my pepper soup and there were. 

NOSA: Very low bar you've set.

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FOLLY: There was a pasta bar much like at Four Points and Bon Voyage. The pasta was tasteless. 

NOSA: For the senrenre about it, I'm actually shocked it came out so bland looking

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NOSA: I'll give them a little credit, the BBQ wings were really really good. Might be the only thing I actually ate.

FOLLY: The dessert was a mish-mash of sheet cakes cut into tiny squares. For what it's worth, I really enjoyed the white chocolate cake that I drizzled with milk chocolate. 

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FOLLY: My issues with buffets are:

  1. If you don't arrive within the first hour of the start time, the food has been left out too long. 
  2. I am sharing serving utensils with strangers who may not have washed their hands at the loo and I may use those same hands to eat my bread rolls.
  3. Buffets are unsanitary, again. 

NOSA: You forgot this one: the food is never that good.

FOLLY: The biggest misconception people have is that with a buffet you're cheating the restaurant and you will eat twice the amount of food than if you used the same amount of money for an a la carte meal. If you're talking solely about the quantity of the food, you are right and I won't try to convince you otherwise. 

If you're particular about the quality of the food, the restaurant or hotel is robbing you in broad daylight. They use the worst quality ingredients, worst cuts of meat, and the worst of everything. Restaurant owners have corroborated this to me in conversations.

NOSA: I don't think people actually care about the quality of the food. Like I said earlier, to a lot, quantity > quality. As long as there's a lot of food to be eaten in one sitting, that particular demographic will always be satisfied. If you've seen your coworker eat pounded yam and Chinese noodles at the same time, I'm sure you'll agree with me here.

FOLLY: If you were actually cheating them, they'd all be out of business by now. The only buffet that you might have the upper hand is Southern Sun because I don't quite understand how they've actually been able to sustain their bottomless mimosas all these years without a champagne tap or a guy that turns water into champagne. 

NOSA: It's probably all Andre and we never notice because of the OJ.

FOLLY: Anyway, if you insist and you were one of the 452 people that liked the Intercontinental buffet pictures on our Instagram page, the buffet is N9500 per head for lunch so go and knock yourself out. 

VERDICT

La Cour Is As Safe As It Gets

La Cour

33 Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos

01 761 0200

NOSA: I drive past La Cour, almost everyday, on my to work and it has never really occurred to me to check out.

FOLLY: It’s not on my daily route but I’ve noticed that sign so many times.

NOSA: And for someone that complains about Casa Lydia so much, you’d think I would’ve checked it out, right? Oh, well. It’s pretty interesting how La Cour doesn’t come up in conversations about Ikoyi hotels. Maybe it’s just my circle, but considering how many philandering men I know, it should’ve.  

FOLLY: Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.

NOSA: Despite the pretty noticeable sign on the outside, La Cour is pretty discreet and the clientele is mostly of the expat variety. 

FOLLY: Clearly it’s not discreet for you and your cohorts’ philandering activities. Or do you just prefer the Moorhouse?

NOSA: It might be for expats only tbh. Speaking of, there was this Nigerian, I think, lady sitting beside us. Listening to her flawlessly go from pidgin to Portuguese with her lunch dates blew my mind completely. There are lots of bilingual Nigerians out there, but the ones fluent in non-Nigerian languages wash me so much. I digress

FOLLY: I have a university degree to prove that I once could, but I’m so upset that I currently cannot speak French to save my life. That said; don’t try to sell me in French because I’ll understand everything. Okay, let’s get on with this review.

La Cour Seafood Platter

NOSA: The most expensive thing on the menu was the Seafood Platter, which we got to share. At ~8k, the platter is a good 4/5k more expensive than the next most expensive thing on the menu. 

NOSA: Our food took the longest time to get to us. About an hour, if my memory isn’t dodgy. I’d be lying if I said the wait was worth it, unfortunately.

FOLLY: The bread rolls and water helped

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NOSA: The Seafood Platter was a bit boring. I expected it to be a lot unhealthier. That’s a thing, right?

FOLLY: I really should have vetoed this decision. At first, I was against it but Nosa was quite curious about it so I caved.

NOSA: Boring isn’t something I should hold against the platter because it was properly made and tasted well enough. It’s not you, it’s me, Seafood Platter. It’s me. 

FOLLY:  While I don’t think the calamari was properly made, everything else gets a pass.

NOSA: I got the Chicken Schnitzel as my starter. 

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FOLLY: I got the Spaghetti Bolognese (because it was the only non-white sauce option)

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NOSA: A little confession here, I had no idea what a schnitzel was before I ordered it. Don’t judge me.

FOLLY: Me neither. I’d only heard of it from a German friend and for that reason, I imagined it to be some sort of Bratwurst contraption.

La Cour Chicken Schnitzel

NOSA: On first sight, I’d say it’s a lot like an escalope. According to Quora,

Schnitzel is the German word for a meat that is pounded flat, breaded, and fried.

Escalope is the French term for a meat that is pounded flat, breaded, and cooked.

The one minor difference is that escalope need not necessarily be fried, though it usually is.

So yeah....

As for the rest of my plate, the mash was bit clumpy and I didn’t like it much.

FOLLY: It tasted like it had little balls on couscous tossed in along with the potatoes.

NOSA: I should have gone with the fries instead. If you come here, please get the fries instead so you’re not disappointed like me. 

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FOLLY: My spaghetti was spaghetti and the sauce wasn’t corned beef, so I’ll say they already did better than 90% of Lagos restaurants. On the whole, a solid 7/10.

NOSA: Lots of description there, young grasshopper.

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: It’s nothing spectacular, but for the price, it’s pretty good. Another restaurant/hotel would overcharge for the same order

*looking at you, Intercontinental*

FOLLY: While the prices are exclusive of VAT & service charge, it is still good value for money even when they ring it all up.

NOSA: If you aren’t particularly adventurous and you’re in the Ikoyi area, this is not a bad option. A lot safer than going to the awful Casa Lydia or the inconsistent Samantha’s Bistro. 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Schnitzel – N3150

Seafood Platter – N7500

Spaghetti Bolognese – N2550

 

PARKING

It's a hotel, there's parking.