Posts tagged nigerian
Eko Street Eats is a Triumph of Fun Over Tradition

NOSA: About a year ago, Imoteda and Ramon had this pretty genius idea of making Nigerian street food a lot more fun. That’s how Eko Street Eats was born. A couple of pop ups here and there, and it was gone. Gist has it that Ramon had to leave the country for a while and without the other half of the project, it couldn’t really go on.

FOLLY: Not really gist because it was part of his bio for the exhibition. 

NOSA: Until last Saturday, that is. Ramon has to go away again, but for one afternoon, we got it back.

FOLLY: He does? That's sad :( 

NOSA: The menu was pretty straight forward. Just six items only and in typical EDL fashion, Folly and I ordered everything.

FOLLY: Twice, but that's cause we were being greedy tbh. 

NOSA: My favorite of the lot was the Pyam (Lightly fried pounded yam balls). Probably the Bini in me coming out, but it was oh so delicious.

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FOLLY: That reference is lost on me. Is there a thing about people from Benin liking yam? Either way, it was my favorite too. I don't know how she (Chef Imoteda) did it but the pounded yam didn't have a single lump in it, smooth to perfection. 

NOSA: The Yaji Shrimp Tacos were great too, but they didn’t “get me” like the pyam did.

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FOLLY: Yeah, I would have appreciate more suya spice on this. I don't usually like a whole of heat but that's what I was expecting. Next up was the PB-J which is plantain cubes served with peanut butter paste and zobo jam. 

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NOSA: Also, I know a lot of you are thinking it, but the PB&J wasn’t bad. Bananas and peanut butter are a thing, so I don’t understand how everyone thinks it won’t work with plantain.

FOLLY: Nosa is lying, this was a big fat NO from me and he knows it. Peanut butter has no place on or served with plantain so this was a bit of a sacrilege if you ask me. And yes you're asking me because you're on my blog. 

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NOSA: The corn on the cob didn’t really work for me. It was ambitious and I saw the vision, but the execution just fell short. That one might need to go back to the drawing board.

FOLLY: I ate around the wara because for some reason I just wasn't interested in it. For the uninitiated, wara is local cheese curd. Ultimately, my favorite thing was the puff-puff funnel cake. I love puff, dessert, and funnel cake so naturally this was magic to me. The mango sauce was also a perfect accompaniment.

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NOSA: At the end of day, however, this goes beyond what works and what doesn’t. The true achievement of ESE isn’t the food. I mean, the food matters, but what really matters here is how open the chefs are to experimenting. ESE is proof of concept on how versatile and exciting typical Nigerian food can be. The diversity of our flavours shouldn’t be restricted to “traditional” items. Nigerian food should be fun. Now, we just need Ramon to come back so we can get another popup going.

FOLLY: So again, this was a pop-up so there's no address and phone number. We have no idea when next they'll be having another one but you can check out their Instagram page here for updates. 

NOK for Lunch

NOK by Alara

12 Akin Olugbade Street, Victoria Island, Lagos

reservations@nokbyalara.com , 0908 561 4815

NOSA: When NOK opened up last year, they were a strictly dinner spot. In the last month or so, however, they’ve extended the opening times and added a lunch menu. Obviously, we had to check it out.

NOSA: To start, we got the Guinea Fowl Spring Roll

FOLLY: The spring rolls were a ridiculously tiny portion. It was two spring rolls artisanally sliced to appear like four. On the taste, the guinea fowl was definitely novel, but it wasn't spectacular. 

NOSA: Unlike Folly, I really liked this. We had something similar at our Mansilla Lunch Club. What I really liked was that you could actually taste the Guinea Fowl in this. When you get chicken spring roll at Chinese restaurants or wherever, the chicken is a complete afterthought.  If you've ever been gastronomically defrauded you'll appreciate the fact that NOK isn't stingy with the Guinea Fowl at all. 

FOLLY: Mocktails cost the same as cocktails here but I was having brain touch so I ordered some overpriced juice. I can’t actually say if there was actually passion fruit juice in it, though, the orange was there for sure.

NOSA: I couldn't decide which sandwich I wanted so I split the Fried Chicken Sandwich and the Oxtail Melt with our third wheel.

FOLLY: For my main, I wasn’t feeling the sandwiches and I also wanted a substantial meal, so I opted for the Red Red. The menu described it as Red beans with steamed plantain. The veggies that came with it were a welcome surprise.

NOSA: The Oxtail Melt took me by surprise. I was expecting it to come in some artisanal toast, but as you can see, it didn't. That’s not a slight or anything. Just an interesting surprise. 

NOSA: The oxtail melt is basically oxtail quesadilla with feta. The feta might be overwhelming if you aren’t a fan, but I am so I liked it. 

FOLLY: For mine, I was expecting beans porridge but these were just plain and lightly salted. In fact, very lightly salted and if not for the presence of the NOK ketchup which lent itself as a nice stew base, it'll have been bland. 

NOSA: The Nok ketchup is absolutely delicious

FOLLY: Steamed plantain, however, is a major KEY. You avoid the mushiness of boiled plantain as well as the oiliness of fried plantain. You should try this one at home.

NOSA: The Fried Chicken Sandwich was my highlight. If you like Chick-Fil-A’s chicken sandwich, you’ll absolutely love this.

The chicken is slathered in shito mayo, which surprisingly has a nutty kick to it. The bun was so soft and the chicken was excellent. A proper fried chicken sandwich, which is a rarity in Lagos. I won't go out and say this is the best thing ever like I do with stuff I like, but If you're in NOK for lunch, give this a shot. 

 It also came with Yam Chips, by the way. 3 sticks, but that's not why we are here.

The Yam Chips are an interesting take on the Yamarita. No ODing on the crust like TFC. Would be perfect if they increased the serving size just a little bit. Like, 3 more sticks.

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: It was my second time at NOK and I still didn't try the Agege bread french toast as dessert, I just want to ask myself "wyd babes".

NOSA: NOK is one of my favorite restaurants in Lagos. Opinions on NOK tend to be split down the middle, but as a blog, we're huge fans.

VERDICT

DAMAGE

 Passion Sunflower - N3500

Braised Guinea Fowl Spring Rolls - N2000

Red Red - N3000

Oxtail Melt - N3500

Fried Chicken Sandwich - N3000

 

 

PARKING

Alara has a number of spots right in front.  In addition to that they've reserved a lot of the street parking for Alara customers only so you'll be fine. 

Fine Dining African Food?

Nok by Alara

12 Akin Olugbade Street, Victoria Island, Lagos

reservations@nokbyalara.com , 0908 561 4815

NOSA: This is one of the more fascinating restaurants I’ve been to this year. West African fine dining.  This has to be a first. Mrs. Folawiyo really did it, dawg. Madting. 

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FOLLY: That right there is a guavarita - ridiculously tasty even the chilli rim. 

NOSA: The Suya Calamari (or Calamari suya) was delicious as shit, but the portion was sooooooo tiny. Like, it’s a fine dining ass portion. 

The cornbread wasn’t like American cornbread. Mad spicy.

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FOLLY: The Cornbread didn't have a normal fluffy bready texture either - it was sticky. So, that combined with the spiciness didn't let me like it. 

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NOSA: We got the lobster too, which was just as delicious and the portion was just tiny. Well, not as tiny but it was a small portion. 

FOLLY: I wonder if the portion was smaller because I asked for the lobster to come shell off (the menu didn't say how it came so I asked the waiter). You also don't expect the bean salsa it comes with to be cold but it was. 

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NOSA: The thing with Nok is that it’s so hard to reconcile African food with fine dining portions. I mean, the serving size is the major reason a lot of people love Jevenik. They serve you food like it’s your last minute before you hit death row. Nok jolts your expectations a bit and I kinda like it for that. They have pounded yam as a side and I’m sure the serving is like a fistful. 

FOLLY: I appreciate the fact that as a Nigerian restaurant, Nok's default is not to add pepper to everything e.g Pepper Lobster, Pepper Chicken, Pepper Oxtail cause that's very pedestrian. I felt like the food actually had unique flavors if you get what I mean. 

NOSA: On a random note, I love the cutlery. 

And the interior.

FOLLY: Oops I can't remember the cutlery thanks to 355 and Hard Rock Cafe. I loved the shakers, if they sell them in the main store I'd buy them and keep till I have a home of my own. 

NOSA: I mean, I’ve seen Alara so I should’ve expected it to be tastefully done, but this place is beyond gorgeous. It’s unabashedly African, but not in that fetishized “authentic” way. This reference will probably alienate a lot of you, but if you went to Loyola, think Mr. Chukwudifu’s accent.

FOLLY: The hostess wears an iro and buba. 

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NOSA: I digress. 

The braised oxtail came with a bean mash. This thing was really ewa agoyin tbh. Delicious fine dining ewa agoyin, but still ewa agoyin. 

FOLLY: The bean mash was delicate - I really feel like that's the best way to describe it. 

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NOSA: We got these sweet potato cakes as well. Came with the most delicious uwgu pesto on the side. 

FOLLY: Ehhh I didn't like the sweet potato cakes because we ordered sweet potato fries. The pesto was yummy. 

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: I really like Nok. A lot of you might not, but I really like it. The concept of it so amazing to me, but I can definitely understand if it’s not.

This great if you're going on a date. It'll impress her but you might need to eat afterwards. It's accessible because it's African food that you know anyway.

It’ll upset a lot of people but trust me, it's worth the experience alone. You'll do it like once but you should do it.

FOLLY: Most people won't, but I appreciate the smaller portions because feeling so heavy and bloated after eating isn't something I enjoy. Everything we ate was actually really well made. I wonder where the chef is from because I doubt a Nigerian one is that patient, I know he/she is defs not white so I'm putting my money on Senegalese/Cameroonian. 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Suya Calamari - N2800

Sweet Potato Cakes - N1800

Spicy Cornbread - N800

Grilled Lobster - N6500

Braised Oxtail - N5000

Swallow Wars: What Is Nigeria's Best Swallow?

About a week ago, we stumbled on the #SwallowWars hashtag on Twitter. A couple people were tweeting about their favorite "swallows". It gave us bit of an idea - why not have the "swallows" battle it for true supremacy? So we decided to bring them all out and have them duke it out, March Madness style. 

The swallows were split into Nigerian geographical regions based on where they're consumed the most and seeds based on popularity. 

The North

  1. Tuwo Shinkafa
  2. Tuwo Masara
  3. Tuwo Jero

The South

  1. Starch
  2. Wheat
  3. Amala (Plantain)
  4. Onunu

The East

  1. Fufu
  2. Eba (Yellow)
  3. Nni Oka
  4. Pounded Cocoyam

The West

  1. Pounded Yam
  2. Eba (White)
  3. Amala
  4. Lafun

Wild Card - Semovita

How-To Play

This week, we'll take on the first round of match ups. Click the Swallow Wars button. Two swallows will be pitted against each other, click your favorite, rinse and repeat.


 

We'll be back next week for the next round till we eventually determine the winner.

Eat.Drink.Lagos Hits "The Streets"

Mama Ebo Pepper Rice & Bar

Block 70, Taiye Olowu Street. Lekki Phase I, Lagos

0816 266 0111

FOLLY: This was my idea, all my idea. I didn't sense the hesitation in Nosa's reply when I messaged him that we should go here, but when we got there I realized that he was far from interested.

NOSA: Well, I've made no secret about the fact I utterly detest rice & stew. Boiled eggs, rice & stew, and akara. In that order. 

FOLLY: Actually, I should have known. He made one excuse about the lighting not being good for pictures. I actually went to search "Mama Ebo" on google images to check if there was light and then I sent it to him. 

NOSA: It was doomed from the start. 

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FOLLY: Anyways, we proper carried last on this one cause this place isn't even new and I only heard about it for the first time last week.

NOSA: Maybe that was a sign from God. He tried his best to keep it from you, but you went out to find it. Just like Eve in the Garden of Eden. 

FOLLY: Whatever, I got the Mama Ebo Pepper Rice and my side was goat meat. I was expecting the goat meat to be in stew and stuffs, little pieces too like Asun.

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NOSA: You expected wrong. Clearly. 

FOLLY: Not fried like Sallah meat. It was very tender though so that was nice as it helped to douse the fire that was ravishing in my mouth because of that pepper sauce.

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NOSA: I got mine with fish, which wasn't bad tbh. It reminded me of the Wednesday night fish we had in boarding school.  The stew was really peppery. Full sweat-on-nose bants. No lies told there at all.

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FOLLY: The whole appeal of a buka is the authentic freshly made food so colour me unimpressed when I was served cold rice & stew that was made hours, or possibly a day or two before.

I don't know if it's because we came in the evening and on a weekend, but our rice was clumpy and looked like "fridge rice". Clumpiness is a characteristic of fridge rice. 

NOSA: On a second thought, I think I might hate clumpy rice more than I hate anything in the world and I'm one big ball of hate that goes around hating everything. I'm like this guy...

FOLLY: I really don't like white rice so if I must eat it, I'm going to be that Nigerian man that wants his food freshly made within 30 minutes of him eating it. 

Our server also brought our plates out of the kitchen and then warmed it in a microwave before finally serving us. I feel like that's a big no - no for a buka. Can you really call yourself a buka if you have a microwave? 

NOSA: Yeah, not interested in doing this again. And it's not a "snob" thing before any idiot jumps on that. I had this same thing from Olaiya last week and it was infinitely better.

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: I know many people will be a bit upset that we went to Mama Ebo and had a not so good experience cause many swear by it. Maybe it was the time we went, but really I don't get the hype. I also really hate spicy food, so I did this cause I was curious.

NOSA: There's always rice at home...and it's not rice & stew.

DAMAGE

Pepper Rice - N300

Fish - N500

Goat Meat - N500