Posts tagged japanese
Eat.Drink.Travel: Santoku (Accra)
 

NOSA: On our last couple trips to Accra, we’ve found some way to miss out on Santoku. Crazy because if you’re visiting Accra and you’re not checking out Santoku, you’re clearly doing Accra wrong. Easily the best Japanese restaurant in the region.

Yes, a sweeping statement.

FOLLY: You will deal.

NOSA: On a serious note, Santoku should be right at the top of your Accra Hit List.

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FOLLY: I sometimes wonder how a Nigerian girl like me, came to loving mushrooms after a protracted period of saying “eww what are those”. It could also be said that I’m simply making up for lost time.

The Shimeji Mushrooms are described as “Japanese mushrooms in butter and soya sauce with spring onion, truffle oil & kinoko sauce”.

In spite of my love for mushrooms, I’d admit I was a bit overwhelmed when I first received a bowl full of mushrooms. I got over it after the first taste and I inhaled the mushrooms as fast I could, and even used the spoon to eat the last bits of the “mushroom butter” because it was incredibly tasty. The flavour is simple in that it’s very buttery immediately, but it becomes more complex and you get hints of the soya and the truffle oil as you eat it.

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NOSA: Izangi’s take on the Tuna Tataki is one of my favourite things on their menu so I decided to give Santoku’s a go. It came in a Japanese mustard sauce that was begging to be in a sandwich.

FOLLY: I don’t really like tuna but Nosa always orders it - I guess he likes it or something. I’ve actually never asked - I should.

NOSA: Folly is razz and she doesn't appreciate good things.

FOLLY: If I barely like cooked tuna, then rare tuna is totes not for me. That said, it didn’t smell fishy or taste horrible, but I’ll probably pass on it next time - like I do all tuna.

NOSA: Behind salmon, tuna is the most elite fish. Don’t let all that canned tuna they forced you to eat as a child mess with tuna’s elite-ness.

Anyway, our final starter was Pork Belly, which we literally begged them to make because it wasn’t on the night’s menu. The begging was absolutely worth it. The pork belly is stupendously good. So good that we considered stopping by again on our way to the airport for a to-go plate. Get this pork belly and the mustard from the tuna tataki in a bao bun, and you’ll probably have the most delicious sandwich you’ll ever put in your mouth.

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FOLLY: We shared a main which was recommended to us by our server Red Snapper & Black Fried Rice. I don’t think Nosa appreciated how well the fish was cooked.

NOSA: I’m not going to say I didn’t appreciate it, but it was fried FRIED.

FOLLY: The outside (the skin) was dry and crispy and then the moisture from chewing releases all the dried flavours - basically it was really good. And then the inside was still flaky and so moist and tasted oh so amazing with the accompanying chilli sauce… Nosa just doesn’t understand.

FOLLY: The rice was exciting to me mainly because of the colour. Gochujang sauce, which is the first ingredient listed, is a spicy sauce that can also be made with sugar.

Gochujang or red chili paste is a savory, sweet, and spicy fermented condiment made from chili powder, glutinous rice, meju powder, yeotgireum, and salt. The sweetness comes from the starch of cooked glutinous rice, cultured with saccharifying enzymes during the fermentation process
— Wikipedia

FOLLY: Santoku’s definitely had sugar as the Black Fried Rice leaned heavily on the sweet side. However, with the fish leaning to the spicy side it worked out perfectly.

NOSA: I was a bigger fan of the rice than I was of the fish, but not sure if I was more fascinated by it or I actually found it delicious.

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FOLLY: That white fish roll was a mistake I wouldn’t make again. It was very rare and very bland. The salmon hand roll on the other hand was great with a popping orange salmon that good salmon should have.

NOSA: The Lobster Maki was my favourite of the lot. The rest of it was passable. Not saying it was bad or anything, but everything just paled in comparison to the pork belly.

FOLLY: I really really liked the cheesecake. I don’t think I can type enough really’s to describe how much I did. It was so milky and creamy (the matcha came through). Honestly, creamy and milky are not words I should use to describe anything I’m eating because of my condition (lactose intolerant) but I didn’t eat it all by myself, we all shared dessert family style 😊


Recommended Dish: Pork Belly (GHC 75)

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Izanagi as a Model of Consistency
 

NOSA: We visited Izanagi over the weekend because our original review felt a bit dated.

FOLLY: We also tried to visit a new “superfood/juice bar” but the staff on duty didn’t have ingredients to make most things on their menu so we decided to walk out before we’d regret everything.

NOSA: The pictures from our old Izanagi post were taken on my old iPhone 6 so they aren’t popping like. EDL has “bought” me an X now so a revisit was definitely due. (PS: Please help me convince Folly to sanction an Xs Max so we can take more popping pictures)

FOLLY: I don’t recall EDL buying you an iPhone X, so if you did so that’s misappropriation also theft and you’re going to pay it back. Yeah, our camera lens has recently “given up the ghost” so we only have Nosa’s iPhone X for pictures now.

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NOSA: To start, we got the Krispy Rock Shrimp. Just a couple steps away from our normal Bang Bang Mushrooms. Basically tempura shrimp tossed in soca sauce, rock shrimp is a fixture in most pan-Asian menus. Izanagi’s take on it was a little disappointing. You might call it “dull”, in fact. Soca sauce is supposed to pack a little heat, it’s Caribbean after all, but the one at Izanagi had no such heat. I mean, I ate it all, but it was still disappointing.

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FOLLY: I didn’t read the menu description because Nosa spotted this and ordered it. If I had read it I may have found it disappoint like Nosa did if I knew it was supposed to be spicy - I didn’t. I found it crispy for sure, and the dressing was more tangy than spicy. There was definitely lemon in there. I didn’t find it dull but it wasn’t impressionable. If you’ve ever tried it, you’d know the Bang Bang Mushrooms at Izanagi are very impressionable and is one of those items you’d already mentally plan to order on your next visit.

NOSA: Folly went with the Spicy Beef Ramen. Ramen is really just fancy Indomie. You are not going to change my mind. It’s my phillistine hot take and I’ll go to the grave with that. This and “Fela is overrated” are two positions I’m never backing down from.

FOLLY: If I recall at Metisse, you were quite excited to order the Pho, so what exactly is the difference with Ramen? If you like ramen, you’d definitely enjoy this. I don’t know how many spots in Lagos serve ramen but this was excellent. I worry about ordering these broth noodle dishes because I sometimes find the broths tasteless, thankfully this wasn't. I also loved that the beef was not over cooked - you could still see the pink spots in between the slices.

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NOSA: Because I don’t play that Indomie stuff, I got the Norwegian Roll (Unagi, Crabsticks, Salmon Skin and Salmon Teriyaki Sauce). This is my new favorite roll at Izanagi. Over the the Izanagi Dragon.

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NOSA: Maki rolls always get a bad wrap from the purists because it’s not “authentic”. You know, like Kung Pao Chicken and Chinese food. That’s their business abeg, I like what I like. Maki rolls are a fantastic way to get into sushi. If you’ve ever been wary about getting into sushi, maki rolls are a great way to get into it. Start with something as basic as the California Roll and work your way up.

NOSA: Whenever we visit Izanagi, the order is usually the same. Maybe we spice it up with a new maki roll, but it’s always the standard “starter + roll”.

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FOLLY: I mean, everyone already knows the sushi and maki at Izanagi are great so I felt that we should delve into other aspects of their menu. For what it’s worth, I think Izanagi is a fantastic date night spot and is also great for the above 40s crowd because they have the pockets to afford it.

NOSA: We decided to be a bit more adventurous this time so we ordered the Temaki. Temaki is hand rolled, often conelike, sushi. Rolled in seaweed, aka nori, and stuffed with rice, Temaki looks like a funky ice cream cone. We went with the Tempura Hand Roll (Ebi Tempura, Cucumber and Garlic Mayo) and the Crispy Spicy Salmon (Spicy Salmon, Tobiko, Tempura Crisp and Mayo).

NOSA: I really don’t think you’re meant to eat it with your hands, but that’s what I did.

FOLLY: We didn’t have any cutlery apart from chopsticks so we couldn’t even slice it.

NOSA: I held it like a little Japanese taco and stuffed it in the mouth. Pause. There’s no way chopsticks would work with this, but I’m a noob so maybe it’s me.

FOLLY: The Temaki was very delicious. You’d think that because of all the rice that this would be tedious. First of all the rice is sticky thus making it taste a bit nice but the seaweed balances out the volume of the rice and then the fish also helps to make everything taste less monotonous.

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NOSA: For such a little thing, it’s plenty expensive. If I made a little more than I currently do, this would probably be my thing. As an upwardly mobile (read: money is no too dey like that) millennial, this can’t click as a regular thing unfortunately. “Broke with expensive taste “is really what I am, word to Azealia Banks.

The Crispy Spicy Salmon was super delicious. There’s a lot of rice, but you don’t really notice it because the salmon and the nori swallow it all up. For a split second, I wondered why I’d never ordered the temaki before. Oh right, it’s 3k for a single roll. Makes sense.

Izanagi is still my favorite sushi spot in Lagos. They’ve really been so consistent over the years. The Izanagi Dragon, for instance, has tasted the same way every single time I’ve ordered it since 2015. You really don’t get that level of consistency from Lagos restaurants.

FOLLY: It’s that Japanese accuracy from the sushi chefs.

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: 10/10. Would recommend.

FOLLY: If it wasn’t so expensive, it'll be one of my favourite restaurants in Lagos but sadly it’s firmly out of my league price wise.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Norwegian Roll - N6200

Chilli Beef Ramen - N8500

Tempura Hand Roll - N3300

Crispy Rock Shrimps - N7000

Crispy Spicy Salmon - N3300

Tempura Cheese Cake - N3900

 

PARKING

Not a lot. Maybe 3 or 4. Ripe for extortion.

Exploring the New Dim Sum Menu at Shiro
 

NOSA: I don’t think I’ve shared this on here, but my long term plan with Eat.Drink.Lagos is to finesse this thing into restaurant for small chops, like Ping Pong, because that should be a thing. I mean, dim sum is basically Asian small chops. Why do they get to do it and not us?

Yesterday, Shiro “officially” launched their dim sum menu. It’s been there for a while, but it’s been in bits and pieces. Yesterday, they fr fr unleashed all 5+ pages of dim sum goodness.

FOLLY: Naturally, Nosa and I went snooping around.

NOSA: Before we get into it, just a quick question: why aren’t there more Nigerians at Shiro? Maybe we went at the wrong time, but for about an hour, it was expat city. Maybe all the Nigerians were still at church.

Or maybe it’s by design. Apparently, Shiro doesn’t play Nigerian music on purpose.

FOLLY: A few weeks ago we were invited to a media event at Shiro. The timing wasn't very convenient but Nosa and I were determined to go to eat back our wagyu steak money on the house. I wasn't able to make it, but Nosa and a friend of ours did and ate enough maki rolls for the both of us. 

NOSA: I couldn't stay for the whole thing but our friend said the manager mentioned that little tidbit about Nigerian music, which is a bit of a strange thing to proclaim.

About as strange as our drinks taking FOREVER to come out.

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...and the food taking even longer.

FOLLY: Our inexperienced and slow waiter was determined to ruin our experience but I didn't let him win. We had to coach him through writing down the items and repeating our order to us.

Nosa also had to beg him to bring our drinks because he was going to wait until our food was ready.

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NOSA: We had a bit of an issue with the waiters last time we were here. Oh well...

FOLLY: Anyway, in spite of everything we ordered the bill came out way under our estimate. So what did we have:

  • Chicken wonton with Sichuan chill oil 
  • Chicken and coriander jiaozi
  • Pork belly gua bao
  • Prawn in bell pepper
  • Curried prawns gua bao
Chicken wonton

Chicken wonton

FOLLY: Our inexperienced and slow waiter was determined to ruin our experience but I didn't let him win. We had to coach him through writing down the items and repeating our order to us.

Nosa also had to beg him to bring our drinks because he was going to wait until our food was ready. 

L - Chicken wonton. R - Prawn in bell pepper

L - Chicken wonton. R - Prawn in bell pepper

FOLLY: The chicken wonton was a bit flat in comparison to the chicken jiaozi.

NOSA: The chicken wonton had this sweet thing to it though. I liked that.

FOLLY: The coriander packs a lot of punch - in flavor and fragrance so that's definitely why the jiaozi tasted so delicious.

Chicken jiaozi

Chicken jiaozi

FOLLY: The prawn in bell pepper was another favorite. I had thought it'd be a whole bell pepper stuffed with other fillings along with the shrimp but it was more like an eighth of the bell pepper so it was miniature. The prawn was steamed and took on the flavor of the "house special sauce" in which it was doused. The sauce was typical - sweet with a hint of ginger. 

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FOLLY: Nosa's favorite: the baos. This was my "real" first time having bao. The shininess of the bread had always deterred me.

NOSA: Bao is my kryptonite. I LOVE them. The baos could’ve been plated a lot better, but i liked them a lot.

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FOLLY: I chose the green curry prawn one while Nosa ordered the pork belly. 

NOSA: For obvious reasons, I’ll make a lot of references to the bao at Toasties. Shiro’s pork belly was a lot tougher than the one at Toasties, which turns eating it from something enjoyable to a chore. An enjoyable chore like eating pistachios. The Korean bbq sauce was just right for me. Definitelythe better of the two baos we tried, I think

FOLLY: Unlike Nosa, I preferred the green curry bao in spite of the "stewiness. The pork belly bao wasn't tender enough so it was a bit of a struggle to eat - the Korean barbeque sauce was also a little flat for me for me as I was expecting just a little kick (i.e. spiciness)

NOSA: The curry one was a bit too saucy for me. If you like curries, you might be a lot more open to this than i was.

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FOLLY: Random but Shiro should definitely serve these in those taco separator things or try something that involves cabbage wedges because the side that's flat down on the plate got soggy and made the pork belly bao crumble while I was eating it. 

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NOSA: A bit unrelated since it’s not part of the menu, but Shiro’s tiramisu is extra weak.

FOLLY: This is not Tiramisu as you know it but then the menu says Chocolate Tiramisu so what they probably did was substitue chocolate cake for lady fingers and dipped that in coffee liquer and carried on from there. It was really tasty nonetheless.

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: It's a yes from me.

NOSA: Shiro’s dim sum menu was amazing. I don’t think you’ll find anything as extensive in Lagos.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Chicken Wonton - N3800

Resonant Passion - N2500

Forbidden Nectar - N2500

Pork Belly Gua Bao - N3800

Chocolate Tiramisu - N3200

Prawn in Bell Pepper - N3600

Curried Prawns Gua Bao - N3750

Chicken & Coriander Jiaozi - N3400

 

 

 

 

PARKING

Except Landmark is hosting a wedding, there's a sea of parking spaces.

 

 

Victoria Island's New IT Restaurant

Shiro

Landmark Centre, Water Corporation Road, Victoria Island, Lagos

0818 629 8888

NOSA: Sometime in December we met the guy who owns La Boucherie. Well, we didn’t meet him, he met us. But that’s a story for another day. Anyway,  he told us about this new Japanese place with Wagyu on the menu. This is a big deal because Wagyu meat is the priciest beef in the world. The marbling on it is simply unreal and the fat is the good kind.

Long story short, we had to check Shiro out.

FOLLY: Because we splurged with the wagyu steak, we didn't order many other things which I think is a shame so we really HAVE to go back here. At the same time, there are a couple things we tried to order but were told were not available: the 7 spice pork belly and the crispy duck maki roll. 

I'd like to try the sashimi, the duck maki rolls and the 7 spice pork belly, so Shiro is definitely a revisit for me. 

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FOLLY: We "started" with 3 maki rolls and our plan was to split the asian style wagyu steak as a main, knowing fully well that it won't be bigger than my fist. 

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FOLLY: The maki rolls we ordered were the Prawn Suya Maki, Spicy Tuna Maki, and Lobster Maki with Truffle Oil. All of which were generally average but the prawn suya maki was the standout for me simply because I'd never had anything like it and it was a pleasant deviation from regular maki rolls.

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NOSA: Nobody is coming close to Izanagi as far as sushi goes. Shiro tried, but nah, it’s not good enough. I agree with Folly though, the Suya Prawn roll was unbelievable. You HAVE TO try it if you come here.

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FOLLY: The spicy tuna maki was, as you're probably imaginining, quite basic. In fact, the only reason I ordered it was because I was all out of options for things I wanted that they didn't have available. 

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FOLLY: I expected more from the lobster maki roll. This was more rice than anything else and in retrospect,  I suspect they put the glob of lobster on the top to hide the fact that this was chok full of rice. 

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FOLLY: Now, let's talk about this this piece of meat that is someone's salary. First of all, here's the Wikipedia link to wagyu if you're not already familiar. Naturally, we ordered it medium rare because if you're buying meat so expensive it's a travesty to cook it any more than that but of course our waiter felt he knew better. 

NOSA: While we ordered it medium rare, we got it well done. So we called the waiter over to get our mistake sorted and to our surprise, the waiter said it’s only served well done.

No way on earth was I going to pay twenty six thousand Nigerian naira for a well done steak.

No, sir.

Not me.

We had to explain our situation to the manager, who, thankfully, got us a new plate. Funny enough, we never got clarification if they make it well done by default.

FOLLY: Thankfully!

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Honestly, Nosa and I never react if something is overcooked or poorly cooked, we just decide they don't know what they're doing but at this price point, garra complain because at that price point, I deserve for it to be done right. 

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FOLLY: I just wish the lighting was better (or that I could adjust the camera better) because with this pictures you can't see the real colour of the meat and the vein like marbling.

NOSA: This might be the best steak I've had in my entire life. No exaggeration.

Ok, maybe a little.

FOLLY: This was my first time ever having a wagyu beef and it didn't disappoint (except it was so small but that was expected). On the texture, I barely had to chew it because it was so soft. You chew it once or twice and it's just so soft and slick like butter. 

NOSA: I think that's really what got me. There was no struggling with it at all. Tender, juicy, everything.

FOLLY: The taste is very subtle, not overly beefy. 

NOSA: That said, no way am I spending 26k on steak in Lagos again. I'm not mad.

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: Overally, I enjoyed Shiro and the service was good enough. The food didn't wow me but it didn't underwhelm me. The menu was interesting and I really would like to go back and try new things.

NOSA: I really like Shiro. The space is beautiful and while the food wasn't the greatest thing ever, I'd come here again. Perfect for date night too.

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Spicy Tuna Maki - N3500

Prawn Suya Maki - N3500

Asian Style Wagyu Steak - N26000

Lobster Maki with Truffle Oil - N3500

 

PARKING

It's in landmark so there's an abundance of parking spaces

 

Mayumi Brings Everything But The Sushi

Mayumi @ Lagos Oriental Hotel

3, Lekki-Epe Express Way, Lekki, Lagos

01 280 6600

NOSA: I can’t believe it’s taken us this long to review Mayumi. Should’ve been off the bucket list a long time ago. 

FOLLY: We've eaten here before though but never reviewed it. I think it was because we didn't think we had ordered an adequate amount of menu items. 

NOSA: For a place, so fancy looking, their sushi menu is incredibly limited. Just 12 regular rolls and 3 specials. No sashimi either. Just all round weak sauce. Maybe they don’t go all in because the clientele is probably very Nigerian. Oriental Garden is on on the same floor and you know our people love the hell out of Chinese. You might ask how that’s relevant, but Mayumi also serves items off the Oriental Garden menu.

FOLLY: They have an extensive Teppanyaki menu, though, something tells me that's actually their strong point and we made the error of ordering sushi.  

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NOSA: We got a bunch of starters. A combination of the dumplings from Oriental Garden and the Tempura Sweet Potato from the Mayumi menu.

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FOLLY: Dumplings that we've ordered before when we reviewed Oriental Garden. There's no update on how I feel about them as still taste the same so I guess they get points for consistency. 

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NOSA: The sweet potato was like an alté yamarita. A yamarita of Japanese origin, you might say. 

FOLLY: An artisanally made yamarita, if you will, as the crust was thin with an almost perfect consistency. 

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NOSA: Tasted more like yam than sweet potato to be very honest. 

FOLLY: I agree but now I wonder if that was just in our minds because of the strong similarities to yamarita. Anyway, on to the sushi rolls. We ordered the salmon roll, tempura prawn roll, and the red crab roe roll. 

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NOSA: There was this “soapy” thing to the rice in the salmon roll. I can’t really explain it. Some sushi places have it.

FOLLY: I can't say I've tasted this at any sushi places before now but imagine you were eating rice and stew and as you take your first spoonful, the taste of Morning Fresh hits your heavy. 

NOSA: The salmon in it is nice, I guess,  but there’s just something about it that I didn't like. In comparison, the prawn tempura roll we had didn’t taste the same way.

Maybe it’s the seaweed.

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FOLLY: Yeah, that's possible because the salmon roll was one of those inside-out rolls.  The prawn tempura roll was decent, just as good as the prawn tempura roll at the next place. 

NOSA: Forgive me for being razz, but I had no idea Tobiko was the Japanese word for Roe.

FOLLY: And crab roe is basically crab eggs. 

NOSA: So imagine my surprise when our crab roe roll came and it was basically a regular roll with tobiko on top of it. I was so convinced we were scammed. 

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FOLLY: For what it's worth, the red crab roe roll, while disappointing as the rest, was actually my favorite. 

NOSA: The sushi here is pretty disappointing. I actually prefer Sakura and I don’t even like Sakura that much. It’s way better than Bonsai though if anything. The salmon was expensive and it wasn’t that good

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: When the menu had so few rolls, I should have known this was going to let me down. 

FOLLY: Izanagi has the best sushi in Lagos. Fin. 

Oh, sushi and beer is nice. 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Salmon Roll - N3000

Steamed Shu Mai - N1500

Red Crab Roe Roll - N1500

Tempura Prawn Roll - N3000

Sweet Potato Tempura - N2000

Steamed Shrimp Dumplings - N1800

Pan Fried Chicken Dumplings - N1200

 

PARKING

Yes