Posts tagged ikoyi
A Trip to Godaif Village
 

FOLLY: If you want to feel like you’re not in Nigeria for a hot second (literally), the garden at Godaif village is good place to start. You may have to wear ear plugs so that you don’t hear the noise of the car horns and possible nose pegs for the smell of Nigeria but honestly, visually it’s an escape.

NOSA: The instagram pictures really do not do it any justice. It looks like one of those villas you find in telenovelas, but a bit smaller.

FOLLY: The inside as well is tastefully furnished, cozy and relaxing.

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FOLLY: The menu says an increased offering is coming soon but until then we have cafe staples - sandwiches, salads, and pastries.

NOSA: It’s a standard cafe menu with some wine added and an extensive tea selection. To be fair, I wouldn’t come here primarily for the food because that’s very much WIP. You should definitely come here for the space. It’s an absolutely wonderful space to work out of.

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NOSA: Picking the right sandwich to order was a bit of a challenge. I really wanted to try a bunch of the paninis, but they bagel sandwiches too.

FOLLY: I don’t like paninis that much. I find that there’s always too much bread and not enough of the stuff in between (fillings) so I opted for the Ham and Cheese Bagel Sandwich.

NOSA: While I settled for the Avocado and Chicken Panini

FOLLY: Bagels are still quite rare in Lagos so I never pass up the opportunity. Everything had cheese so i decided to risk it all in spite of my intolerance and go for it. I was already planning to have the cheesecake later so a little slice of cheese in my sandwich was not going to be my undoing, the cheesecake would be.  

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FOLLY: The bagel sandwich was good - it was a simple coffee shop sandwich. No frills. A chunky homemade spread or house sauce could have made it more interesting, but for a sandwich that didn’t announce itself to be more than a “Ham and Cheese bagel sandwich”, it was enough and delivered.

NOSA: The avocado and chicken sandwich was very much a chicken salad sandwich so I have no idea why I asked for it to be toasted. Chicken salad sandwiches are infinitely better when cold, but like a dunce, I got mine toasted. I definitely liked it, but it could’ve been a lot more enjoyable. Like, as enjoyable as the Quinoa Salad I ordered as well

The quinoa salad reminded me of those cute little salad things you get with dinner when you fly long haul and I really love those. It had quinoa, peppers, cucumbers, raisins and walnuts in it and it’s very vegetarian friendly

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FOLLY: The cheesecake was absolutely fantastic and possibly the best cheesecake I’ve had in Lagos. Craft Gourmet and Maison Kayser were previously tied in my “little black book” but Godaif Village’s blueberry cheesecake has likely dethroned both.

NOSA: Very very bold statement there.

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FOLLY: I don’t want to make a hasty conclusion so I need to go back and try the cheesecake again. Once I’ve done that, I promise to report back with an update.

NOSA: It might be nostalgia tainting your judgement. Or maybe you’re associating the good vibes of the space with the cheesecake.

FOLLY: It’s only fair because I’ve tried the cheesecake at Craft and Maison multiple times, it’ll be unfair to dethrone them on a single taste alone.


POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: Will definitely return

FOLLY: Highly recommend for the cheesecake. I can’t wait to try it again soon.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Latte - N1500

Quinoa salad - N2300

Caramel macchiato - N1600

Ham & cheese bagel - N2600

Blueberry cheesecake - N2600

Chicken avocado panini - N2600

 

PARKING

 Small parking lot for about five cars

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.

Danfo Bistro Serves an Interesting Take on Nigerian Food
 
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FOLLY: Danfo Bistro was THE opening of Nov/Dec 2018. I would have thought it’ll be Maison Kayser but the quirkiness of Danfo Bistro and the glowing reviews probably drove people there in hordes.

NOSA: Doesn’t help that Maison serves “hot dog” in their English breakfast, but we’ll get to that in due time.

FOLLY: The Instagram friendliness of Danfo Bistro probably helped too.

NOSA: Oh yes, definitely. The space is very beautiful. Although I’m not a big fan of restaurants having two entrances, but I think I can let it slide this one time. Danfo Bistro had been under construction for quite a while now. Someone incorrectly told me it was Casper & Gambini, or some other Lebanese-owned restaurant, moving into the space. I forget which.

I definitely wasn’t expecting something new.

FOLLY: It’s always a good sign when we get to a restaurant and have to restrain ourselves from ordering everything on the menu.

NOSA: The menu is actually pretty interesting. From the name, you probably think Danfo Bistro is a “Nigerian” restaurant, but it isn’t. There are one or two local staples on there, but it’s largely Nigerian-inspired. Inspired in the sense that they make use of Nigerian elements in plates that are, by and large, not Nigerian per se.

FOLLY: We managed to restrain ourselves to three starters which were

  • Suya Onion Rings

  • Yam Con Carne

  • Danfo Wings

and with those we embarked on our Danfo (Bistro) ride

NOSA: Before we go further into this, I want to point out how lame it is that Ikoyi finally gets a good restaurant when I move out. Every single part of me wanted this place to be utter nonsense, but nope, no luck for me.

FOLLY: We were only going to get the first two appetizers, but after we placed our order, our waiter upsold by simply saying “no wings?”. It felt like he was disappointed in our order, that we came to their establishment and didn’t even order wings so I quickly told him “Yes please, which would you recommend?” and he suggested the Danfo Wings.

NOSA: Quality “salesman”. Lucky for him, the wings were actually good. There was a certain plantain-y thing to the dipping sauce. It’s hard to explain. If you order it, it’ll make sense.

Danfo WIngs

Danfo WIngs

Suya Onion Rings

Suya Onion Rings

FOLLY: The Suya Onion Rings were excellent. As you can probably tell from the picture the onions rings were extra crispy and we loved them. The heat of the oil was also perfect as there was absolutely no sogginess whatsoever.

NOSA: The onion rings were so well done. Remember the thing I said about taking Nigerian elements and putting them in non-Nigerian plates? Yeah, theres are the perfect example of that. They’re a bit spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. Spicy in the same way suya is. It’s a kick but it’s not a lingering kick.

FOLLY: The spiciness of the suya dust on the exterior was perfectly balanced by the sweet yellow onion.

NOSA: If I had to pick one item I’d recommend to anyone, I’d go with this. These were A1 top quality onion rings.

FOLLY: I’m not an onion ring aficionado like Nosa is, but honestly but these were the best onion rings I’ve ever had.

Suya Onion Rings

Suya Onion Rings

Yam Con Carne

Yam Con Carne

FOLLY: Next, the Yam Con Carne was really special too. But first, who else first discovered “Chilli Con Carne” as a meal from The Sims. I first heard of it as a thing via the game and even then didn’t know what it was actually comprised of until many years later. The Yam Con Carne is Danfo Bistro take on Chilli with meat poured over yam crisps.

As they say on Twitter, it’s basically Yam and Corned Beef that went to Harvard.

NOSA: Chef Cristian will probably fight me for this, but I think the chilli on this is better than the one at La Taverna. Danfo Bistro makes a spicier version and like a true Nigerian, I prefer it.

Yam Con Carne

Yam Con Carne

Sloppy Friday Burger

Sloppy Friday Burger

FOLLY: If I was the Yam Con Carne’s professor at Harvard, it definitely graduated summa cum laude.

NOSA: I haven’t mentioned anything on the yam, but just know it’s great because yam is great and yam > plantain. The portion should be larger and it should be a main. That’s my very unbiased take on it.

Speaking of plantain, the Danfo Bistro has a borderline unhealthy relationship with plantain. There’s a pasta dish with bloody plantain in it and a couple of the burgers had it too. Like the one Folly ordered.

FOLLY: For my main, I went with the Sloppy Friday Burger. It was supposed to be suya minced meat in burger with plantain.

NOSA: Basically a Sloppy Joe burger.

Sloppy Friday Burger

Sloppy Friday Burger

FOLLY: I was slightly disappointed because the minced meat tasted very regular and the addition of the soft plantain (even though it was stated in the menu) was a tad confusing to my taste buds.

NOSA: Yeah, this one felt like one experiment too far.

FOLLY: This was the only thing I didn’t particularly like about my Danfo experience but it doesn’t take away from everything else which was fantastic.

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Ewa Agoyin Sandwich

Ewa Agoyin Sandwich

NOSA: For my main, I went with the Ewa Agoyin Sandwich because beans is my fave. When I was in JSS1, bullies ate all my food and left me with beans and that’s how we find ourselves here. Thank you, Table 9 seniors!

The Ewa Agayin is the only proper Nigerian thing on the menu. Oh, and the Akara too.

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NOSA: The Agege bread base felt a bit “stale”. Like, it wasn’t fresh off the head of a street hawker (this sentence reads very terribly in hindsight). But maybe I shouldn’t have expected it to. Either way, the beans was great. Take it from beans connoisseur like myself.


POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: Kitchen Butterfly sprung to mind when I saw the menu. We should invite her to dinner here because she’d absolutely love it. Yeah, I’d definitely revisit.

FOLLY: I didn’t see a desert menu which was odd. I would loved to have seen some interesting takes on Nigerian dessert by Danfo Bistro

NOSA: Yeah, lots of things to be done with puff puff.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Yam Con Carne - N3750

Danfo Wings - N3000

Suya Onion Rings - N2500

Sloppy Friday Burger - N4500

Ewa Agoyin Sandwich - N2500

 

 

PARKING

Yes, lots of parking is available off street in their lot. 

Black Olive and Criminally Soft Pasta
 

FOLLY: Welcome to 2019!

It’s our first review for the year and it’s coming on January 7 because we took a break after #EatDrinkFestival5. This was my favourite festival to date after the first one in 2014. The first one will always be my favourite because I was completely blown away that we pulled it off and then we were on CNN African Voices for it the month after. Horn tooting aside, we have a lot planned for content this year and we look forward to making some big announcement towards the end of the week but until then let’s explore the pasta-abilities of Black Olive.

NOSA: Do Nigerians like their spaghetti cooked past al dente?

Like, noodle soft?

FOLLY: They do. The spaghetti was so overcooked that some strings split and appeared flat - almost like linguini. I think most people also prefer their rice to err on the side of soft and fluffy as opposed to firm. I ordered the Spaghetti & Meatballs at Black Olive and the pasta was “baby food soft”.

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NOSA: After looking through the restaurant’s Instagram account, it looks a bit intentional. Something similar happened during our initial visit to BL Restaurant on Sinari Daranijo. When we sent the plate back to the kitchen, the chef insisted that most of the customers liked their spaghetti on the “soft” side. There was no returning of plates at Black Olive, just a perplexed waiter for us. The chef did come out to apologize so I guess that’s fair. 

FOLLY: The waiter was very perceptive because when I requested he remove my plate even though it was less than half eaten and still had a meat ball (I only ate one and Nosa had the second), he asked what I didn’t like because I’d barely touched it. He probably relayed my complaints to the chef who then came out to apologise. No do over of the over cooked pasta though.

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NOSA: The Creamy Penne was a bit better. Not soft enough to offend, but enough for the penne to split in multiple pieces. Again, maybe it’s a Nigerian thing and I’m the one with the problem here.

The pasta sauce was a positive, however. Very rich and creamy with a heavy helping of pepper. There’s definitely a clientele that this menu is built for. 

FOLLY: Nosa’s order was infinitely better than mine but I could only taste it because of the heavy cream and my allergies. Mushroom also makes everything infinitely better, but obviously on a lower scale when you use canned mushrooms. I forgive canned mushrooms on pasta because the sauce coats the mushroom and you can almost forgive the mushroom’s rubbery texture, but I don’t forgive canned mushrooms on pizza.

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NOSA: Our favorite thing on the day was the starter - Tempura Shrimp.

FOLLY: The tempura was great for the simplest of reasons, clean oil and fried at the perfect temperature so it didn’t become soggy or dirty. The batter wasn’t too heavy on the shrimp so we got just the right amount of crisp and crunch.

NOSA: I only wished the portion was larger because I loved it so much. Probably a foreshadowing of what was to come. I don’t mean to take us back, but why was the spaghetti so soft? Just look at it..

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NOSA: Lol, I just can’t get over it. I’m sorry. Anyway, on to positive things - the service was excellent. The restaurant wasn’t packed. Actually, it was just us, but the attention received was commendable. The waiter was patient and attentive. That’s all you can ask for.

Oh, and it’s reasonably priced.

FOLLY: It’s very budget friendly but the food didn’t blow me away.


POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: Good try, good effort. Not for me, however.

FOLLY: They space is very nice. The menu prices are very casual while the space is tastefully upscale.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Tempura Shrimp - N3500

Creamy Penne - N4000

Spaghetti & Meatballs - N4000

 

 

PARKING

Pretty good parking situation for a restaurant on Awolowo road

Zolene Straddles the Fine Line Between Experimental and Safe
 

NOSA: Restaurants in Lagos have very similar approaches to pre-opening marketing. A lot of the time, they pay some agency to invite influencers for a tasting and basically run blitzkrieg social media campaign. The agencies that really want to waste money will get some print mentions.  More often than not, this is always a waste of money. The more successful restaurant openings in Lagos have skipped the marketing agency and done it themselves. Post a couple cryptic Instagram posts here and there. Basically build on that “if you know, you know” vibe. The exclusivity of the opening is the big draw.  

FOLLY: I have no idea where Nosa is going with this. 

NOSA: Before I lose track of why I went on this wild tangent, let me bring it back home. I found out about Zolene from a series of guest posts the owner had been putting out on Bella Naija. She talks about the challenges of starting up and managing restaurant in Nigeria. It’s a pretty interesting perspective, but more importantly, it’s endearing. She’s shared so much that you feel her restaurant is yours too.

FOLLY: I bet you Nosa feels like he is a part owner in Zolene now cause of a couple blog posts. On this particular day, we landed in Zolene cause Nosa was trying to take me to some 2 x 4 restaurant in VI and your girl wasn't having it. I had seen pictures of Zolene on Instagram and they looked pretty solid so I wanted us to go somewhere that wasn't too much off a toss up. 

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NOSA: Zolene isn’t the easiest spot to find in Ikoyi. In fact, it feels like you’re not expected to find it from the way it’s tucked in the middle of residential Ikoyi.

FOLLY: Well, actually It was pretty easy for me to find.

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I put Zolene and Google Maps led me right the front gate and even wished me Bon Appetit when I tapped done. The security man was struggling so getting into the compound took a minute but bless his heart. The only waiter too, seemed to be easing into his job and was playing both waiter and bartender. Again, bless his heart because he struggled so confidently. 

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NOSA: Zolene is typical Nigerian fare. Think Yellow Chili or Jevenik.

FOLLY: I disagree. It's not typical Nigerian food. It's modern Nigerian food with the classics intermixed.

NOSA: It really isn't that modern. A lot of it actually reminded me of Ethnique and with Nigerian fare, the menu is accessible

FOLLY: Now, that's a fair comparison. 

NOSA: Beyond the croquettes, nothing feels too out there. A little part of me expected more ambition with the menu, but I guess the chef was playing it safe.

To start, we ordered the Yam Croquettes, Plantain Croquettes, and the Bruschetta with Zolene Salsa.

FOLLY: The execution of the croquettes and presentation was solid. Preparation technique wise this was a solid A+.

NOSA: I wasn’t the biggest fan of the yam croquettes. Felt a bit “too much”. I understand yam doesn’t really have a dominant flavor so there are lots of you can do with it, but I think Zolene missed the mark here.

Fish? Nah, mate.

FOLLY: Now, the menu just said the yam croquettes were yam croquettes. It didn't mention the fish, onions and a couple other fillings which we found inside the yam. In my opinion, pure unadulterated pounded yam would have worked much better in this.

Yam Croquette

Yam Croquette

Plantain Croquette

Plantain Croquette

NOSA: Pounded yam or yam mash? Pounded yam is way too fine.

FOLLY: This was confusing because it's pounded yam but with the distractions usually associated with moin-moin. 

NOSA: The plantain was my favorite of the pair. A breaded plantain mash - simple and straight to the point. This might be the only time in recorded history that you'll ever find me preferring plantain to yam. I've disappointed my Bini brethren, but I'm sure they'll understand.

FOLLY: Ripe plantain mash >>> The sweetness contrasted with the spicy sauce that this was served with was just pure magic.  

Bruschetta & Zolene Salsa

Bruschetta & Zolene Salsa

NOSA: The bruschetta, I expected to be some hot garbage. It took eons to get served so I completely expected some rubbish to come out of that kitchen.

Turns out, they have the hands with the bruschetta. QUELLE SURPRISE!

FOLLY: When it eventually came, it looked underwhelmed so I was thinking of passing on it. Then I tasted one and as Nosa said, quelle surprise! Sure, the bread was a bit stale but the salsa was the one. It was a bit heavy on the onions but I am not complaining.

NOSA: The Zolene salsa would work so well with tortilla chips on a chips n' dip ting.

FOLLY: My main which was a Farmer's Pottage arrived at least 15 minutes before Nosa's did. I wasn't expecting the big dried fish on the side I expected it to be broken and cooked into the pottage. 

NOSA: The serving size is YUGEE!

Farmer's Pottage

Farmer's Pottage

FOLLY: It has much more oil than I would have liked. Additionally, since I'm not Nosa I would have appreciated more boiled plantain in my farmer's pottage than yam. 

NOSA: I got the African Pesto as my main. When I heard about Zolene, this is really the stuff I was expecting, you know? A lot more Afro-fusion like Ozoz and Imoteda are doing. The African pesto is a very interesting take on pesto. According to the menu,

A fragrant penne pasta dish made with African basil, paneer cheese, bit of chicken and nuts
— Zolene
African Pesto

African Pesto

NOSA: The pesto tasted very "green". Like an African soup or something. Before you get confused, this is actually a good thing and I'm chalking it up to the "African basil". I really really liked this. Not those weird tomato things on the side though.

 

POSTCRIPT

NOSA: Simple and straight to the point. Can be a bit boring, but a "yes" from me.

FOLLY: A solid dinner option within Ikoyi.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Chapman - N1500

African Pesto - N4000

Yam Croquette - N2500

Farmer's Pottage - N3500

Plantain Croquette - N2000

Bruschetta & Zolene Salsa - N2000

 

 

PARKING

Limited indoor parking but street parking is available.