Posts tagged lagos
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.

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.

Top 5 Things We Wish We Could Find In Lagos

Your visa expired. You had to come back for NYSC. You forgot you were an F-1 and started catching feelings for these oyinbo things. Now your IJGB has expired and the accent is all dried up. You are here, in hot Lagos, longing for things you know you'll never find. 

We know the feels, fam.

Here are the 5 things we wish moved home with us.


Beer on tap

NOSA: Every place in Lagos that claims to have beer on tap only has Castle. Castle is decent for what it is, but variety would be nice. There's just something about beer on tap that makes it infinitely yummier than regular bottled/canned beer. There's a certain freshness to it. Look, I can't explain.

Diners/IHOP/24-Hour Breakfasts

FOLLY: There's something so charming about being served by a kind elderly lady at an American diner. I love the way they always punctuate every statement with a different term of endearment e.g. "so how would you like your eggs today sweetie?". They always treat you like you're family and it's the best feeling ever. At the same time, there's something so deliciously rebelious about having breakfast for dinner. In fact, if I were being completely honest, I can't remember a time I went to IHOP when it wasn't dark out. 

Pumpkin Spice Latte 

NOSA: I have a confession, guys. Deep down, I'm really a white girl in a Northface - your everyday Basicca. Judge me all you want because I don't care. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are the absolute gospel. Those white women in Lululemon yoga pants have told no lies.  

Chicken Wings

FOLLY: We've searched high and low and come to the conclusion that good chicken wings and Lagos are mutually exclusive. Why are good chicken wings so hard to find in Lagos ? Why must we suffer ? Every single establishment does the same variation of chicken wings in stew. From 355, to Rhapsody's, to Casa Lydia, every single goddam place. Well, except the Long Bar and their wings are not exceptional like that, they just don't put them in stew. 

Chipotle

NOSA: I'll be the first one to say Chipotle isn't "real" Mexican food, it's Americanized Mexican food. Unbelievably delicious Americanized Mexican food.

Sometimes, at night, I dream of quesaritos. Don't judge me. 

And no, Bottles isn't the same. 

The 5 Best Spots For Valentine's Day In Lagos

NOSA: Valentine's Day is almost here again. Here you are sitting on your ass and out of ideas, again. The Food Court at the Palms is not a date so you better take that rubbish idea out of your head. Being single is no excuse either. #TreatYOSelf2015 is in full effect. As usual, we're here to help you make better decisions. 

FOLLY: This is a PSA from me to all Nigerians (male and female): February 14th is still Valentine's Day, you can "make a date with Nigeria", Fe-Buhari, and all of that but you can still "vote and val".

NOSA: These five spots are sure winners for Valentine's Day. Bae or Baeless. 


Izanagi

NOSA: Folly and I did this for New Year's Eve. They had these little heart-shaped confetti type whatever sprinkled all over the table. It was the cutest thing. 

FOLLY: The food at Izanagi is quality. It's not one of those places that's hit or miss. However, don't expect to go here and get a bargain, it's not "affordable" like that. 

NOSA: If you're really looking for a "cheap" date, check out our little guide to "Dating On An NYSC Budget".

Vellvett

FOLLY: Vellvett is going all out for Valentine's Day this year. They'll have three different Valentine's Day menus over three days.

NOSA: Folly & I have come here a couple of times and we've really liked it for the most part. Like Izanagi, it'll definitely tension your wallet. But it's Valentine's Day so stop being a cheap bastard. #TreatYOSelf2015, this is the move. 

PS: You can win a dinner for 2 at Vellvett on Valentine's Day. Enter our competition HERE

Uptown @ Avenue Suites

FOLLY: If you start the evening a bit earlier, you're likely to get a great view of the sun setting. Then later if Nepa doesn't fall hand and the street lights are lit on Adetokunbo Ademola and Ahmadu Bello, you'll also have another great view as the evening progresses. 

NOSA: I agree, the view is gorgeous. The food isn't bad, but you should go here off the strength of that view. When you're done, you should take a little stroll on the beach too. Hopefully, you don't get robbed

FOLLY: Don't take a stroll please, you'll certainly get robbed. 

RSVP

NOSA: You already know how much I love RSVP, I don't need to reiterate. I'm calling it early, RSVP will be THE Valentine's Day spot this year so you better make your reservations now. Don't be a walk-in on the 14th and prove to your girl that you have NO hands. 

FOLLY: Yeah, if I were you, I'd go in a bit early for my reservation and grab a drink or two at the bar with my date. The drinks are FAB (I'd recommend the Copa del Lebanon) and I think it'll be the perfect way to start the evening. 

Grillroom @ Wheatbaker

FOLLY: Great food and ambience. And with all that dim lightning, it'll be the perfect backdrop for a romantic dinner.

NOSA: I've never been so you're just going to have to trust Folly on how romantic this place is. 

FOLLY: I know a couple that got engaged here. 

NOSA: Fair enough.

The Case For Tipping In Lagos

FOLLY: I was always a horrible tipper while I lived in America. This was because I always felt the tip was demanded of me and not earned. 

NOSA: Freshman year, I went out to eat with a group of friends. The bill came out and I pretty much unlooked that whole tip section. Standard procedure, right? My dad did the same thing a couple nights prior so clearly I wasn't doing anything wrong, right?

Nah. 

My buddies pretty much "tip-shamed" me. "OMG, they earn so little" "You're just living up the stereotype" etc.

FOLLY: The low wage argument never really tugged at my heart strings. I guess I always thought I was paying for the food and not the service, or maybe I'm a horrible person. I did tip, but never generously except when my friends made me feel bad. 

NOSA: I tried defending my reluctance to tip with the "I tip for good service" retort, but that was a lie. The service was great and I was just being Ijebu about it. Anyway, that's how I got into the habit of tipping. 

FOLLY: I also got annoyed when I'd order take-out that was about $7 and the delivery person would get offended if I tipped $1. Wait, was I supossed to tip $3 for a $7 meal ??

NOSA: 20% all time, unless I got particularly terrible service then I tipped $0.01 to prove a point (stupid, I know).

NOSA: So why don't I tip in Lagos? Not just me, why don't we all tip in Lagos? If we can rationalize tipping outside Nigeria with the "low wage" argument, why do those rules go out the window when we're back home ?

FOLLY: In Nigeria, I tip when one, the waiter doesn't bring my change and two, when I develop rapport with the waiter throughout the experience and we're on first name basis by the end of the meal.

NOSA: Nigerian waiters are paid terribly. Churrasco, for instance, pays their waiters about 10 - 15k per month and they don't get compensation for overtime or anything. That's less than the NYSC allowance! 

FOLLY: Oh, I always tip my bartender wherever I am in the world. That's one person I believe will always deserve my tips. 

NOSA: I'm going to launch a one-man campaign to make tipping a "thing". Leading by example. "Be the change you want to see" and all that.  

Anyway, we'd like to hear your thoughts. Do you guys believe in tipping? Especially in Lagos.