Posts tagged ribs
American-style BBQ in the Secretariat
 

NOSA: In a June 2009 TimeOut London review, Rhodes BBQ Smokehouse got described as spot with “…excellent meats and broad ambition”. A little over nine years later, much hasn’t changed beyond the location. The Wapping location has since shut up shop and Rhodes has reappeared in Ikeja. Even the relocation bears some similarities.  According to the the TimeOut review, “only the Wapping location might prevent it from reaching a wide and appreciative location” and that’s exactly what I thought when we struggled to find parking. 

FOLLY: Maybe the best things aren’t meant to be too main stream. You could also say the same could be said of BBQ & Cravings

NOSA: We visited with a couple of friends, including our official “face” of Eat.Drink.Lagos lol, so we went all out with the menu. Wicked Wings, Buffalo Drums, BBQ Pulled Pork and BBQ Chopped Beef sandwiches, a slab of the St. Louis Style Ribs and a BBQ Quarter Chicken. Yup, we went all the way out. The waitress had to double check on the order because it sounded like a lot of food.

FOLLY: She was trying to get us to order the platter but that was a hard pass from us because it’ll have meant a half portion of the ribs.

NOSA: “Sounded” because we still wanted more at the end of it all lol. 

FOLLY: I even tried to order dessert but they didn’t have my first choice

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NOSA: The wicked wings set the bar really high for the rest of the meal. Tender and flavorful, the thing damn near melts in your mouth. If this how all chicken tasted, I probably wouldn’t be having chicken fatigue right now. Tender chicken seemed to be the running theme at Rhodes because even the Buffalo drums were quality.

FOLLY: A shame that I didn’t try the wicked wings because I was saving myself for the tender drums and everyone said the wicked wings were better.

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NOSA: I probably should’ve passed on the chopped beef sandwich, but I saw “brisket” and I got distracted. For all the “bbq & grills” joints we have in Lagos, none of them have brisket on the menu. It’s not a Nigerian “thing”, which is fair, but it just explains why I wasted carbs on the chopped beef sandwich.

FOLLY: Barely eating carbs at Rhodes was likely the reason why we didn’t feel so stuffed at the end of the meal.

NOSA: The sandwich wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t worth the space in my stomach. If you visit Rhodes, don’t let the menu distract you. Stay focused. Order the meats. 

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NOSA: Speaking of Nigerian “things”, I have since accepted that Nigerian-style BBQ is a thing. Unfortunately, we don’t have culinary scholars that document these things. For all the shade I throw at “grills” joints, they offer what I have termed “Nigerian-style BBQ”. It often goes heavy on the pepper and eschews tenderness as a metric to assess quality. I have clear philosophical differences with it, but now as a proper grown up, I’ve come to accept it has its place and understand how it fits the local palette. What I philosophically agree with though are the ribs at Rhodes. 

FOLLY: I also philosophically agree with the sauce on the ribs at Rhodes. We were tearing the meat off the bones and using it to scrape the sauce of the plates.

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NOSA: St. Louis style ribs are more about the butcher cut than the actual grilling technique or flavor. Unlike other rib cuts, the brisket and rib tips are trimmed off and this leaves you with a shorter rib. If anything, it shares a slightly similar sweet tomato-based sauce with the Kansas City style, which makes sense because the two cities are like an hour apart. 

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NOSA: The ribs at Rhodes could’ve been a side more tender, but I was a fan nonetheless. Probably because of the sauce. We cleaned that plate with almost everything we could find, including the quarter chicken. The quarter chicken, itself, was a bit disappointing. It had none of the tenderness of the wings and the drums. It was bit tedious to get through, in fact. Without the sauce from the ribs, we’d have left that chicken behind.

FOLLY: Yeah, the chicken stayed perched on the plate till we ran out of ribs and needed another meat with which to clean the sauce of the plate.

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NOSA: What definitely didn’t disappoint me were the sides.

FOLLY: The portion did disappoint me but I assume (and hope) that was because it was the complimentary side portion.

NOSA: Between the BBQ beans and the potato salad, I don’t think I’ve tasted a more delicious side this year. Many have tried, but not have come close. The BBQ Beans were particularly excellent and on another day, I might have asked for seconds. 


POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: It’s a drive away, but it’s worth the trip. It’s not a trip I’d make often, but it’s a trip you must make once. That is, if you live on the island. If you live in the Ikeja area, you should be there every Sunday.

FOLLY: Honorable mention to the iced tea at Rhodes BBQ. Don’t expect it to be sweet sha, it’s not that type of iced tea.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Wicked Wings - N2600

Buffalo Drums - N2800

BBQ Chopped Beef Sandwich - N2600

St. Louis Stye Ribs (Slab) - N6900

BBQ Quarter Chicken - N2400

 

PARKING

Very limited 

Scotch Bonnet is Just Another Yellow Chili Clone
 

NOSA: It is very important, when evaluating restaurants in Lagos, to factor in context, i.e. we’re in Nigeria and Nigeria always happens.  Things like our road networks and power issues have far-reaching effects on a lot of things. Understanding this keeps you being disappointed every time you eat out and, more importantly, it helps you appreciate local restaurants for what they are.

FOLLY: And there are times when the management is just lazy about things and it makes you question why they are even in business in the first place or if it's just an elaborate money laundering front.  

NOSA: There are times, however, where the disappointment transcends the context. Like, it’s even disappointing by Lagos standards. 

And this brings me to Scotch Bonnet.

The menu is all over the place like your typical Nigerian restaurant, but it’s clear that Nigerian food is their forte. 

FOLLY: That's why I ordered the pounded yam and seafood okro because it seems like they'd be good at that. 

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NOSA: I ordered a drink and it took damn near forever before it came out. At some point, I had to go ask the bartender why a double shot of Hennessy was taking so long.  
 
“…the guy with the key hasn’t resumed so there’s no ice. We’re trying to buy ice now”

At 1 pm. 

Peak lunch hours. 

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FOLLY: We ordered the Finger Food Platter to start.

NOSA: Per the menu: “Prawns and mayonnaise spring rolls, moneybags, sugarcane chicken, fantail prawns, beef balls, vegetable spring rolls, crab claws, chicken bites, and potato chips”

Batter unidentifiable items and fry them. Yay! 

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Snark aside, the platter was decent. These types are hard to mess up. Like, you’d have to be intentional about it and even then, it’s still a bit of a challenge. 

FOLLY: Exactly! Scotch Bonnet also tried to make their platter exciting with the addition of the crab claw, prawn and mayonnaise spring rolls, and the moneybags. 

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NOSA: For my main, I went with the the BBQ Ribs. These were surprisingly tender. The marinade wasn’t much to write home about, but the ribs were as tender as you’d find in Lagos. Shouts to them for that. I even forgave them for frying the fries in old oil. 

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FOLLY: I'm not quite sure what I was served was pounded yam or even poundo. It was cold, clumpy and tasted nothing like either one of those two things. The seafood okro was as good as it gets and I'd definitely recommend it.

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The Okro was cut chunky (as you can see from the picture so this is a warning in case you prefer yours cut more finely. It was also pretty soupy i.e. lots of liquid, that I didn't like.

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: Scotch Bonnet isn’t bad, but it could be so much better. It takes no risks and brings nothing new to the table. Just limited in ambition and underwhelming.  It’s like a Yellow Chili ripoff. 

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Finger Food Platter - N5000

BBQ Ribs - N4400

Seafood Okra w/ Pounded Yam - N4400

 

PARKING

Doesn't seem like it from the outside, but can take a good 6-7 cars.

BBQ & Cravings Revamped Their Menu

BBQ & Cravings

Beside Heroes Furniture. Off Sabitex Hotel Road. Lekki, Lagos.

0814 000 1002

NOSA: It's taken me forever to type this post because I'm still trying to recover from the election result. 

Oh, well. Stick to food, Nosa.

FOLLY: 5 stages on gried? I haven't yet gotten to acceptance. Anyways, I'll leave the election analysis and stick to food. About a week and a half ago, BBQ & Cravings announced on Instagram that they were about to an entirely new menu. Nosa and I were pretty excited about it, so over the weekend we went to check it out.

NOSA: They put up teasers on their instagram leading up to it so I was pretty pumped

FOLLY: Our first discovery was that it wasn't an entire menu overhaul but it seemed to be specific to just the burger and the same meats (ribs, chicken, sausages) were still there. 

NOSA: What a disappointment. A bit like the silent Trump vote.

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FOLLY: I was a bit let down when our order came and there was nothing really different between the ribs and the chicken wings from my previous visit. We had their pork ribs a couple months ago and they tasted exactly the same. There’s a certain hardness that's almost like they were fried (I strongly doubt they are) and I don't like it.The chicken wings were definitely also having an off day, incredibly dry and again tasted like they were deep fried. Also, the skinniness if the wings. What’s up with that?

NOSA: I'd rather not talk about the wings. 

FOLLY: Anyway, the most obvious new things that you'll notice on the BBQ & Cravings menu are the sides.

NOSA: The new sides were a disaster for me. Maybe the corn on the cob and the toast had redeeming qualities.

FOLLY: Unlike Nosa, I didn’t think these were all bad. 

NOSA: Well, we can start with the fact that the potato salad was something, but definitely not potato salad. Potato salad shouldn't taste like the stick those assholes gave to Jesus when he asked for water on the cross. The potato salad was ridiculously, for lack of a better word, tart. 

FOLLY: Man you're harsh, but I'm going to blame it on DJT. I’m not a major potato salad connoisseur like Nosa is, so this tasted okay to me. On the coleslaw, I've had it previously and it's been much better so maybe the chef wasn’t in the mood on the day we visited.

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FOLLY: The big let down for me was the beans, I had something similar at Denise Renee and it was so good. Sadly, these reminded me of, and tasted exactly like that sauce that came with the chicken wings at Bar Bar.  

NOSA: Oh God, I hated those too. I was expecting BBQ beans like at Denise Renee and the ugh-ness of them surprised me. 

Maybe, it's me and not BBQ & Cravings. I have never been impressed by their actual BBQ. Maybe I'm a BBQ snob, but it leave so much to be desired. The ribs for instance are so far from tender that it's near unforgivable. On further thought, I don't think I'm the target market. This is Nigerian-style BBQ at its finest and perhaps I need to simply respect it for what it is. 

What has impressed me, however, is the burger roster at BBQ & Cravings.

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FOLLY: The YOLO Burger completely blew me away. It had ham, salami, beef, prawn, and crab.

NOSA: I loved this one so much. Never thought I'd like a burger with prawn in it, but oh boy, I was so wrong.

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FOLLY: They didn't cut corners and each one of the meats and seafood came through  in the burger. I’m also really fond of the honey mustard-ish dressing that was used in this.

NOSA: That actually sealed it for me. The honey mustard was perfect for this. But then again, I love honey mustard so you might have to excuse me.

FOLLY: Overall, I’m a fan of the new burger.

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: A must visit for the new burgers. 

NOSA: Absolutely

VERDICT

DAMAGE

YOLO Burger - N4000

Cravings Sample Platter - N4000

 

 

PARKING

Street parking.

EDL Taste Test: BBQ & Cravings Ribs vs Urban Fuxion Ribs

NOSA: Someone floated this idea to me a while back and I can't believe it's taken so long to get round to it. Actually, I can believe, I'm lazy. 

Anyway, this is something we're going to be doing with increasing frequency. We're still working on the name lol. 

FOLLY: I don't think EDL Taste Test is a bad name. Pretty boring, but it's descriptive.

NOSA: For our first "EDL Taste Test", we're comparing the ribs at BBQ & Cravings with the ones at Urban Fuxion. 

 

PRICE

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NOSA: At N2500, BBQ & Cravings might cost N100 more, but they give you a lot more rib per naira than Urban Fuxion. For that alone, I think they shade it as far as price goes.

FOLLY: I don't know for sure if the BBQ & Cravings ribs are actually a bigger portion than Urban Fuxion's or just look like more because they are cut into little pieces. 

Ps. BBQ & Cravings ribs are usually N3000 with two sides and a drink, while Urban Fuxion's portion is usually N2900 with one side and a drink. We specifically requested to drop the sides and drinks.

 

TASTE

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NOSA: This might either be a new development or I never noticed it, but BBQ & Cravings ribs have some spicy bbq thing going. Like, they were looking out for their target market. 

FOLLY: Nope, not a new development, they've always been like that. 

NOSA: That said, Urban Fuxion is the one for me.  

FOLLY: I disagree with Nosa on this. I quite liked the spicy bbq sauce on the BBQ & Cravings ribs, even licked the little bones.

 

FALL-OFF-ABILITY

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NOSA: Urban Fuxion ribs are incredibly tender. Just like how ribs should be. 

FOLLY: Nowhere in Lagos makes ribs as tender as Urban Fuxion's. If someone does, I've never been there. 

NOSA: BBQ & Cravings ribs are nothing close to tender. Not even close.


VERDICT

NOSA: Urban Fuxion. Easily.

FOLLY: Urban Fuxion.

 

The Other Hotel In Ikoyi

The George

30 Lugard Avenue, Ikoyi, Lagos

01 4663640

NOSA: It's a bit weird that I've only been to The George once prior to this visit. My mother's old apartment was a walking distance and I'd never once considered it as a place to go eat. Oh wait, I know why. It's goddamn expensive and the only time I went there, lunch was on the client I was working for at the time. 

FOLLY: This was my first time at The George and also my first time ever actually laying eyes on it. I knew it existed but it bewildered me cause I felt there was literally a hotel in Ikoyi hiding in plain sight as I'd heard about it but had never actually seen the structure. 

NOSA: For such a "big" hotel, it's weird how there's basically only one restaurant in it. There are multiple "dining areas", but the same menu runs everywhere. 

FOLLY: One restaurant with no name. 

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I was so certain there was another restaurant that I left Nosa at the bar and went to the front desk to ask because I had seen it on their website. She clarified that what I had seen wasn't actually a second restaurant but was their private dining room. So, I scoffed and went back to find Nosa. 

NOSA: To start, we got the Fried Calamari, which came with the weirdest tasting tartar sauce. I still don't believe that thing was tartar sauce but the waiter insisted it was.

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FOLLY: I'm 95% sure it wasn't tartar sauce. Tartar sauce is white/cream, this mystery substance was dark gray like tar. I'm also 95% sure that was some sort of paté.

NOSA: It had the strangest aftertaste and I couldn't stop myself from dipping in it. It's like when you know something is bad for you but you still do it and you can't explain why. This must be what it feels like when the devil uses you.

FOLLY: Yup, Nosa let the devil use him cause he kept eating that thing. I insisted on being pedestrian and asked for mayonnaise. Do you know it is considered bad etiquette to ask for ketchup at the dinner table if it's not served with the meal? 

NOSA: The calamari itself wasn't very good either. I'll leave it at that. Maybe Folly can be more descriptive. 

FOLLY: The batter itself was light but the calamari was a very dark color which would suggest one of two things. Either it was burnt or the oil was dirty. It wasn't burnt. 

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NOSA: For my main, I ordered the rib eye. A very large rib eye, at that. And just like that time at The Wheatbaker, large =/= good. The quality of meat was really disappointing for an establishment of this stature. But hey, they gave me a big slab of meat so I should be grateful. 

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FOLLY: I had the pork ribs. Unlike, that time at the Wheatbaker I didn't get the entire rack like Nosa did. However, just like that time at the Wheatbaker the ribs weren't very tender and at that price point I expect that you should take the time to cook it properly. 

NOSA: The rib eye was very tender and really chewy, but there wasn't a lot of flavor to it. It leaves you a little let down when you're done.

FOLLY: You know what it reminded me of? Slow cooked meat. The menu said it was flame grilled though and it tasted flame grilled, but the texture was that of slow cooked beef. You know what? They could have slow cooked it and then finished it off on the grill. 

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NOSA: The mash was fantastic, however. Almost flew under the radar during our dinner. At the end of it, Folly looked at me and went, "that mash was really good, you know?".

FOLLY: Look at how pillowy it looks, almost looks like foam and clouds right?

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: Overall, The George is passable. For how much you spend, you can get a lot better elsewhere.

FOLLY: Terrible value for money and I had heard they had good cocktails but I was thoroughly disappointed with my Caipirinha.

NOSA: It's perfect if you haven't got a shred of imagination when it comes to dinner date locations. 

FOLLY: Exactly, many a Lagos babe would be washed by dinner at The George, even more so than at Eko Hotel. 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Rib-eye - N9000

Pork Ribs - N8400

Caipirinha - N3500

Crispy Calamari - N4800

 

 

 

PARKING

Yup, it's a hotel.