Posts tagged indian
Gypsy's Champions Portion Sizes in Ilupeju
 

NOSA: The biggest knock on dining out in the Lagos mainland isn’t the lack of options per se. They exist, bountiful even. 

FOLLY: The mainland doesn't have many fancy restaurants (outside of hotels) but they do have a lot of 'just there' establishments.

NOSA:The real struggle is the options fall short when it comes to quality and when they don’t, they lean heavily on the buka side. Bukas are great, but they have their place.

This brings us to Gypsy's, a cute little hard-to-find Indian/Chinese restaurant in Ilupeju. When you walk in, it feels like you’ve accidentally stumbled on a restaurant that has been intentionally hidden. Bar the waitstaff, we were probably the only Nigerians (read: black people) in there.

Vegetable Samosa

Vegetable Samosa

FOLLY: Ilupeju has a huge Indian population so that kind of explains a lot of that. Why the huge population exists in Ilupeju? That, I don't quite know. Maybe it's the proximity to the industrial area and factories? 

NOSA: It was very reminiscent of our first visit to My Coffee being the only Nigerians in a space. It’s interesting how a restaurant unknown to the larger population could be so popping.

FOLLY: They were probably wondering how we found it.

NOSA: There’s probably something to be said about niche markets and enclaves, but I’m not too smart to make the connection. 

FOLLY: If you know the explanation for the Indian population in Ilupeju, please explain to us. For now, we'll focus on the food. 

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NOSA: A fancier person might say the menu at Gypsy's is Pan-Asian. I’m usually wary of restaurants with menus span a couple specific regions so I stuck with Indian side of things. I mean, if the Chinese was that great, it wouldn’t have so many Indian people and no Chinese people in there. There’s a method to do the madness. 

FOLLY: And I naturally decided to wander into the Chinese section because a lot of Indian food is made with dairy and I'm lactose intolerant.

NOSA: I started with the Vegetable Samosa and finished off with the Chicken Tikka Masala and a side of Garlic Naan

FOLLY: The garlic naan was fabulous. I'm the type of person that doesn't really care about garlic breath and I absolutely love the bold flavour it adds to food. I loved how the naan also had bits of roasted garlic. With roasting, the flavours become a bit milder which also makes it more accessible to more people who don't really like the punch that it packs.

Garlic Naan

Garlic Naan

NOSA: Chicken Tikka Masala is probably the most basic of all the Indian dishes one can try. It’s like ordering a California Roll when getting sushi or Jollof Rice when getting Nigerian food. You could even argue that it’s not even authentic Indian food because you rarely find it in an Indian household like General Tso’s in a Chinese one. But the heart what the heart wants, Tikka Masala is comfort food abeg. Shoutout to the Southeast Asian brother in England that invented it. 

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

FOLLY: Butter Chicken > Tikka Masala in terms of comfort food levels though

NOSA: The Chicken Tikka at Gypsy's is incredibly delicious. I haven’t had it in a while in Lagos so maybe this has affected my perspective, but I can’t remember having any better in this city. A shame they had no cheese naan but the garlic naan did a good enough job. One observation that I kept making with each plate was that Gypsy's had ridiculously large portions for the price. Folly and I could’ve easily split my order without being dissatisfied. 

FOLLY: I can't believe the waiter didn't warn us and let us order all that food. 

NOSA: Folly went all Chinese with her order: starting with the Sesame Rolls and ending with the Fried Vermicelli in Singapore Style and Chopped Ribs with Black Bean Sauce on Hot Plate as her main. 

Sesame Pockets

Sesame Pockets

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FOLLY: The Sesame Rolls on the inside are a very thin layered flatbread. It's served warm so when you break it open, the trapped steam greets you lovingly. I'm convinced everyone loves warm bread.

NOSA: I expected the sesame pockets to be a lot smaller portion-wise. They definitely surprised me. We went with the chicken option for our sesame pockets, aka Shaobing. 

FOLLY: You're expected to scoop the chicken into the sesame pocket and excuse me for being pedestrian here, and make a "chinese shawarma". I was perfectly fine with the sesame pockets on its own and a lot of the chicken filling went un eaten as a result.

NOSA: Sesame pockets aside, I thought the Chinese side of the menu was pretty weak. The short ribs, in particular, were waaaay too salty. 

FOLLY: Bruh, the salt in this even seemed to 'develop' more overnight because the leftovers were unbearable. However, if you're able to make it past the salt, you get all the normal trappings of Chinese cuisine: ginger, sweet peppers, garlic, and onion. 

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Singapore Noodles

Singapore Noodles

NOSA: The Singapore noodles were a tad better.

FOLLY: Although still salty though. 

NOSA: Those short ribs were unforgivable. I get so giddy when I find really good restaurants in Lagos, especially when they’re on the mainland. Gypsy's is perfect for post-church lunch. 

FOLLY: I was pretty disappointed that I didn't get the try the Nutella Spring Rolls they had on their dessert menu as we were pretty full from just two courses. This simply means I have to go back.

 

POSTSCRPT

NOSA: I really liked Gypsy's despite my complaints about the Chinese. The sesame pockets are a must.

FOLLY: It's an excellent hidden gem in the heart of Ilupeju. More people need to know about it. 

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Garlic Naan - N500

Sesame Pocket - N3500

Vegetable Samosa - N1900

Chicken Tikka Masala - N2700

Fried Vermicelli in Singapore Style - N4000

Chopped Ribs with Black Bean Sauce on Hot Plate - N4000

 

 

PARKING

The parking was more than I'd expected with proper off street parking for 6 - 8 cars.

Peppercorn Avenue Marries Thai and Indian in Lekki

Peppercorn Avenue

6A Otunba Adedoyin Ogungbe Street, Lekki One, Lagos

0808 972 7313

NOSA: So we got this question on Twitter a couple of days ago,

NOSA: There is an abundance of places to eat in Lekki, but the bulk are terrible. Given all the development and its slow devolution to Festac (no shade), no one has thought to build more decent spots to eat in Lekki. 

FOLLY: Yeah, Nosa is absolutely rude. 

NOSA: The menu at Peppercorn Avenue is 50% Indian and 50% Thai. It's also color-coded for good measure.

FOLLY: Most times when a restaurant has multiple cuisines, they have an Encarta volume as their menu and it's all pretty bad. I appreciate that Peppercorn, in spite of offering both Indian and Thai, was able to keep their menu both streamlined and organized.

NOSA: We went Thai with our starters, ordered the Momos, Por Pia Chae, and Kai Yang.

Momos are dumplings. They were a bit thicker than gyoza or the dumplings you'd get at a Chinese restaurant. That said, I really liked them too.

FOLLY: The texture and taste of the dough/casing, I'm not sure what the technical term is, was very similar to a pancake. 

NOSA: Dumpling packet? Dumpling container?

A bit of a random funny story, an Indian minister wants momos banned.

Por pia chae are Thai-style spring rolls. I'm a bit of a neophyte with Thai food, but is there any difference Thai-style spring rolls and regular spring rolls? Because the por pia chae weren't like regular spring rolls. The crust was a lot thicker and as a result, absorbed more oil, which bothered me.

FOLLY: It's like they used multiple layers of the phyllo pastry. 

NOSA: Per the menu, kai yang is synonymous with Thai street food. It's probably their "suya". In some restaurants, it's listed as "Thai Barbecue Chicken"

The chicken was super tender and tasted like it got punched to submission. This is a good thing, by the way.

FOLLY: Yeah, mate the chicken was definitely pounded with a hammer. Not a regular hammer, the meat hammer kind of hammer. 

NOSA: You have to order these if you check out Peppercorn Avenue.

Kai Yang

You have to order these if you check out Peppercorn Avenue.

NOSA: For our mains, we went with the most obvious items on the menu. I did Indian, while Folly did Thai.

FOLLY: Naturally, I love Thai food and I love pad thai. I’ve eaten so many so I feel like I can be a good judge. 

NOSA: I ordered the Chicken Tandoori and the Cheese & Olive Kulcha. The absence of cheese naan on the menu made me a sad panda, but cheese kulcha felt close enough. The big difference is the use of a leavening agent. Naan uses yeast, while kulcha uses baking soda. So yeah, it's basically the same thing. The kulcha was delicious but the dip made me a bit nauseous. 

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FOLLY: Yeah, I didn’t try this. Olives, cheese, and naan it was a no for me. 

NOSA: The chicken tandoori was absolutely perfect. Tender chicken seems to a be running theme at Peppercorn. Shouts to them for not serving Crossfit chickens. 

FOLLY: I guess we can conclude that they do amazing things to chicken here. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of beef pad thai. EVERYBODY knows that beef pad thai is the bizness, everything else is counterfeit. Quote me outside!

NOSA: I wasn't a big fan of the pad Thai, to be honest. It tasted a bit off.

FOLLY: That it did. There were a number of stray vegetables including carrots and mushroom. I have nothing against either but both have no place in a pad thai. It was also a bit tasteless and dry.

FOLLY: It definitely needed a lot more seasoning. 

NOSA: Again, why mushrooms?

 

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: Like HSE, Lekki doesn't deserve Peppercorn Avenue. A Thai place in Lekki? Come off it! That said, Peppercorn is a lot stronger with their Indian food compared to the Thai. The Thai is at Pattaya's level, some ways off Orchid House

FOLLY: It’s still very far from Orchid House but well above Pattaya’s level. Don’t let Nosa lie to you.

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Momos - N1800

Kai Yang - N2800

Chicken Pad Thai - N2700

Tandoori Chicken - N2700

Cheese & Olive Kulcha - N1800

Vegetable Spring Rolls - N550

 

PARKING

The parking situation is a bit of a disaster.

A Trip To Ikeja For Veggie Biryani

Harzoyka

71B Oduduwa Crescent, GRA Ikeja, Lagos.

0813 744 1631. 0803 313 4615.

NOSA: Expats in Lagos have such an incredibly different Lagos experience. I say it all the time but it bears repeating. There’s the Lagos we all know and there’s the expat Lagos. Finding the expat hideouts in Lagos is one favorite things to do. I walk in and look at them like, “Ha! I’ve infiltrated the club”. This weekend, in Harzoyka, we found another one.

FOLLY: The expat hideouts are usually cheaper than most other places especially the beer. I bet it's like they own it and their friends come there too so they don't want to extort them. I wish Nigerian business owners would do the s....

NOSA: The exterior is like an outdoor pub. There’s probably a better way to describe it, but I’m coming up short so bear with me. The interior leaves a lot to be desired, however. 

FOLLY: There were some Indian daddies belting out a greatest hits CD, I think, that was playing.

NOSA: On a related note, Michael Jackson is the most overrated musician of all time.

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NOSA: To start, we got the meat platter. I wasn’t really paying attention to our waiter, who was helpful when he was describing it. It’s basically an assortment of every “meat” appetizer on their menu. Carnivores delight, clearly. 

FOLLY: Let me help, it had like four different types of chicken - chicken tikka, tandoori chicken, Unknown name chicken, and chicken sausage). We also got a mutton sausage and fish tikka. 

NOSA: I loved the platter. If you come here, this is a must order. Unless, all that meat isn’t your thing and I’ll understand. 

FOLLY: The waitress actually said we wouldn't enjoy it when we placed the order and so we ordered it in defiance while I thought to myself "you don't know my life, you don't know my story"

NOSA: The nerve of the babe.  

I can’t point out which is which from looking at the picture but it all tasted damn delicious.

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FOLLY: I can help. Clockwise is the chicken sausage, tandoori chicken, unknown chicken, chicken tikka, mutton sausage and in the centre is the fish tikka.

The fish and chicken tikka were my faves. The fish was flaky, the chicken was tender and the spice blend was the BOMB. I didn't like either of the sausages that much because of the hard exterior which I didn't quite get. Like is it supposed to prevent you from getting to all the decliciousness?

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NOSA: The Cheese Naan was lovely, but when is cheese naan never not lovely? The mains were a bit meh for me. They weren’t bad, just a bit bland for me.

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FOLLY: The mains were disappointing because the platter we had to start was really good and so we started the experience on a high that was difficult to sustain with our main choices. 

BHUNA GOSH

BHUNA GOSH

NOSA: The Bhuna Gosh had this pulled pork texture, which didn’t exactly bang on the day but tasted wayyyy better as leftovers the next day. 

FOLLY: The Chicken Vindaloo kinda missed the mark for me there was this spice that didn't really dissolve well into the stew/broth so the entire thing tasted sandy to me. I disgaree completely with Nosa on the Bhuna Gosh, it was my favourite. 

CHICKEN VINDALOO

CHICKEN VINDALOO

NOSA: The Veggie Biryani was my favorite of the lot. Must be the Nigerian in me that appreciates it because, you know, rice.

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FOLLY: The rice was bland and I absolutely hated that there were beans in it. I don't even know the name of the bean but they were large, light green coloured beans and I wasn't a fan. 

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: Harzoyka is good enough, but I'd never to drive all the way to Ikeja for it. If you live in the Ikeja area, you should go for it. 

FOLLY: It's good and very affordable, worth it if you're in the area. They also have a lunch buffet, but I'm afraid I didn't catch the price. 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Cheese Naan - N700

Bhuna Gosh - N2200

Vegetable Biryani - N1800

Chicken Vindaloo - N2200

Non Vegetarian Platter - N4500

 

PARKING

They might not let you park inside but parking is available outside and on the street. 

Mega Plaza Food Court Adventures

Zaika Indian Cuisine

Mega Plaza. 14 Idowu Taylor, Victoria Island, Lagos

0706 526 0345

FOLLY: Over the weekend, we went to Mega Plaza and sat in the food court and ordered a little something from each restaurant except the Chinese one, 'cause that would have been gluttony

NOSA: Extreme gluttony.

FOLLY: We'll be reviewing them today and Wednesday. First up is the Indian restaurant

Interesting aside: there are some serious turf wars going on with those red plastic tables. You just can't sit anywhere you like. 

NOSA: It's just like mammy market in NYSC Camp. If you served in Lagos, you'll get what I mean.

FOLLY: I probably shouldn't judge the entire restaurant from one item on their menu, but I'm still going to go ahead and do that because if an Indian restaurant cannot make a half decent chicken tikka masala, are they really an Indian restaurant?

NOSA: That's the yardstick for rating Indian places. If their tikka masala is scraps, then the whole thing is scraps. Not generalization, just facts.

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NOSA: Their tikka masala was basically Nigerian stew. Maybe they made it for the Nigerian palate. Maybe...

...actually, no. This is inexcusable. 

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FOLLY: I agree that they might have gotten too influenced by our local cuisine because this rice as well was a full on Jollof and hardly a Biryani. It was the same with the tikka masala, it tasted more like Nigerian stew than the Indian dish.

NOSA: I'll acknowledge the jollof-ness of the Subz Briyani, but I actually liked it. But then again, I like jollof rice soooo....

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FOLLY: Tikka masala usually has that burnt orange colour but this was red and you know what else is red? Nigerian chicken sew. 

NOSA: Now that I think about it, they didn't even have cheese naan. What a scam.

FOLLY: Nosa and I had very little of this meal. We pretty much tasted it and decided to eat the other stuff we had gotten from elsewhere instead.

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: If you want proper Indian food in Lagos, this is not a place I'd recommend.

NOSA: Well, if you want Indian food but don't really want Indian food, I'd recommend this. 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Subz Biryani - N1900

Chicken Tikka Masala - N2000

 

PARKING

It's N200 and N100 on weekdays and weekends to park in the Mega Plaza lot. 

Purple At The Blowfish Has Too Many Cuisines

Purple @ The Blowfish Hotel

17 Oju Olobun Street. Victoria Island, Lagos

0812 111 1222

FOLLY: We've been to all the other restaurants in the Blowfish family but we've always skipped on Purple. We decided to check it out and then we found out why we'd subconsciously looked away all along. 

NOSA: Because it has one of those menus with a million different cuisines and that's just too stressful for me 

FOLLY: Still a bit high on the glorious pad thai I had last week at Orchid House, I decided to try again at Purple. 

NOSA: LOL

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FOLLY: I was very disappointed because there was nothing Thai about this dish, I mean, they had freshly sliced tomatoes and onions in it.

NOSA: I didn't mind it, actually. I mean I ate lots of yours

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FOLLY: It was also neither sweet nor spicy, just straight up bland. 

Overall, I wasn't a fan. I considered getting dessert, but the crepe was N3300 so I decided to go home and lick Buttermint.

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NOSA: I got the chicken tikka masala as my main.

FOLLY: Nosa's chicken tikka masala was excellent, though. Whatever they lack in Thai chefs, they probably make up for it in Indians.

NOSA: This one surprised me big time. A good type of surprise too. I didn't expect it to be any good but it was absolutely delicious. The only thing I had against it was the unbelievably small portion. At 4K, that's complete robbery.

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Because bread and stew used to be my thing when I was little, I got my tikka masala with naan - cheese and garlic

FOLLY: Only one piece of the cheese naan actually had cheese, though so was it really cheese naan?

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NOSA: The cheese naan was bang average. A bit of a shame. The garlic naan was slightly better, however.

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: I love Izanagi, Verandah, and Vellvett. Purple? Not so much. The waiter was an absolute darling, however. 

NOSA: It's a no from me. 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Garlic Naan - N550

Cheese Naan - 1100

Pad Thai Koong - N4200

Chicken Tikka Masala - N4300

 

PARKING

Extremely tight