Posts tagged seafood
Endless Seafood at Shark Express
 

NOSA: Finding Shark Express might be a bit of a challenge (it was for us) because we didn’t see any signage and their instagram isn’t very clear on the location. That said, Eat.Drink.Lagos is for the people and we went around looking stupid before finding out it’s in the same space as Tilt Terrace. 

You’re welcome.

FOLLY: Funny cause Nosa said we should go in the direction of Tilt Terrace at first and I refused because “that’s another restaurant”.

NOSA: If you love seafood, the menu at Shark Express is as close to seafood heaven you’ll get. I can’t speak on how it all tastes, but on paper, it’s teeming with all sorts of sea pork.

FOLLY: A few Instagram posts had excited me.

NOSA: Between Folly and I, we split the Seafood Platter and the Jamaican Rice with Jerk Shrimp. 

FOLLY: I mean we tried to get a couple other things but we were promptly informed by our waiter that a lot of items were not available. I wasn’t satisfied with the service we received because we weren’t handed menus for about 5 minutes after our arrival because the waiter was on the phone. There were other wait staff around, but I think because we sat in the SharkHouse section, only that one guy could attend to us.

Seafood Platter

Seafood Platter

The food itself, also took a concerning amount of time to arrive. I could crack jokes about them going to catch the fish but I don’t think that’s it. I believe that the chef (who is only one person with no additional kitchen staff) was making each item on the platter one at a time and hence it took him over 40 minutes to finish up the 6 items.

NOSA: I wasn’t a big fan of Seafood Platter, or the overall wait time, either. This is definitely the last straw between crab and I also. Of all the animals of the sea, crabs are the biggest scam. Ridiculously expensive despite offering little. A bit like the platter in that regard, actually. There isn’t much to like about the platter. Maybe the fries get a pass, but I wasn’t a fan of anything else. 

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FOLLY: On the platter, I liked the corn the most and the prawns were a close second. The crab required too much effort and they didn’t give us the relevant equipment so I had a a couple crabs legs then gave up. The platter had a traditional flavour profile. It tasted like a Nigerian soup - think umami, salty, sour, smoky, spicy, Iru etc. Just imagine if you steeped sea food in the liquid from Efo Riro, Afang etc.

This is not a bad thing, just the first time I’d seen it done, as most restaurants in Lagos usually take the garlic, lemon, butter approach to seafood.

FOLLY: For the Jamaican rice and Jerk prawns. I don’t know what about the rice made it Jamaican inspired rice aside that it was brown (Jamaican rice and peas is often brown because of the use of brown rice or the addition of the spices)

Jamaican Rice with Jerk Shrimp

Jamaican Rice with Jerk Shrimp

NOSA: Nothing really stands out in the Jamaican rice. It’s just a lot of seasoning fighting for space in your mouth. 

FOLLY: It was most definitely well seasoned but without rhyme or reason.

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: Overall, it’s passable but not for me. Actually, I’m being honest I’d never go back here or recommend it to others.

NOSA: Yeah, I’ll probably never go back but I can see how some people might like it.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Seafood Platter - N10000

Jamaican Rice and Jerk Prawns - N5000

 

PARKING

Yes, mall parking available. Except it’s a Friday night then you might struggle .

788 On The Sea, a Worthy Ocean Basket Challenger?
 

NOSA: It’s a bit of a coincidence that as soon as we complain about the lack of seafood options in Lagos, a seafood spot crawls into our radar. Definitely not complaining. The more, the merrier. 

FOLLY: We still need some more though, so I hope this 'complaint' brings even more.

NOSA: 788 On The Sea is the newest addition to that Twin Waters complex. Mildly related: that part of Lekki, or is it Oniru, is developing at an unreal rate. In a year or two, it should be as “built up” as main Lekki. 

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FOLLY: I doubt because that market is a main obstruction to the gentrification.

NOSA: It’s so cute how the waiters at 788 all wore the same thing. Down to the shoes. The tailor that got the contract definitely hit the jackpot. 

FOLLY: Unlike whomever has the NYSC contract.

NOSA: To start, we got the Prawn Bruschetta. And like most of our bruschetta experiences in Lagos, the bread was stale-ish. Definitely not fresh, that’s for sure. Texture was a lot like toast that had been out for a while. Particularly ironic because on the menu, it’s described as “…prawns in creamy house sauce served on CRUNCHY bread”. Not a single crunch in sight. A bit of a shame because the house sauce was super delicious. 

FOLLY: I disagree with Nosa here and I believe the lack of crunch was due to the bread getting rapidly soggy because of the moisture in the topping - it was absorbed rather quickly. I didn't like the prawn topping at all, it was cold and there's few things I dislike more than cold prawn appetizers.

NOSA: Nah, I've had cold appetizers on toast that have not been soggy. That can't be it. 

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For my main, I got the Mixed Seafood Platter like a proper greedy bastard. Lobster, mussels, calamari, prawn, and lobster all on the plate. 

You might think this a lot, but this isn’t as much to the one we got at The Rock in Zanzibar. I don’t think I ate seafood for like a month after that trip. I digress.

 This is easily the most extensive seafood platter in Lagos. There isn’t a single restaurant that comes close. 

FOLLY: At least that we've been to, and we've been to a lot. If you have one that offers a more diverse platter please email me. 

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NOSA: The calamari and lobster were especially delicious. The prawn didn’t wow me, however, but that might be a personal thing.

FOLLY: It has a lot to do with the fact that prawns tend to be overcooked alot and so dry out faster and then have no flavour. However, the protective shell of the lobster forms a defence against Nigerians that like to overcook things. That said, in reference to the particular experience at 788, the lobster was just better flavoured lots of buttery goodness on the lobster while the prawn was mostly dry. 

NOSA: There needs to be a discussion about how underrated lobster is. Prawn gets all the talk, but on the low, lobster is the most elite of all the sea animals, for lack of a better term. 

FOLLY: Elite is probably the best term. It's also so much more convenient to eat than crab.

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NOSA: On a second thought, lobster might not be underrated. It’s out of everyone’s budget. Yeah, I take that back. Still delicious though.

FOLLY: Crab is the biggest inconvenience ever. If it's not shell-off crab meat, I don't want it.

NOSA: I wasn’t a fan of the crab either. Not only was it tedious to eat, there was little, if anything, to eat. As a garnish on the plate, it does an exceptional job.

All of this said, the seafood platter isn’t really worth it. It looks like a lot, but it’s really not a large enough portion to share. The crab just takes up all of the space and there are better ways to spend your 20k.

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FOLLY: I also got the salmon as my main. I was expecting a much bigger cut and instead I got a sliver. The salmon itself was overcooked but it was fine. I ordered scallopped potatoes but received herb roasted potatoes - they were delicious even though the wrong thing. 

NOSA: The salmon is a tad more expensive than the one at Noir and at that price, the ketchup thing is a little too basic. 

FOLLY: I really hope that was done by an over ethusiastic kitchen assistant and not the norm for 788 because serving ketchup with salmon is pretty damn pedestrian. 

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: Ocean basket finally has a challenger, albeit an expensive one.

FOLLY: I'd go with my parents - if they are paying

NOSA: I wouldn’t get the platter again though. 

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Prawn Bruschetta - N4800 

Scalloped Potatoes - N1800

Grilled Salmon Caviar - N16500

Mixed Seafood Platter - N20000

 

PARKING

The Twin Waters complex has sufficient parking. 

Ocean Basket: The One-Eyed Man in the Land of the Blind
 

FOLLY: I first visited Ocean Basket in 2015 and went back about 2-3 times in that year.I found it pretty good for a chain seafood restaurant, and I really liked it. In fact, the sticky toffee pudding was fantastic. It might have been a frozen dessert but it was very good quality. 

Fast forward three years later and EDL gets a ton of seafood requests and especially for seafood pasta (we'll come to that later) so I suggested to Nosa that we hit up Ocean Basket to refresh our review.  

NOSA: New location and new items on the menu, I expected to be blown away. Or impressed, at least. 

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FOLLY: I started with a glass of white wine before our starter Feta Garlic Bread arrived. Someone is going to call me shady for this, but it's going to be very hard for anyone to mess up garlic bread and thankfully Ocean Basket didn't.

NOSA: The garlic bread is the stingiest thing I've been served in Lagos. It's literally two bread rolls sliced in half. Look at the tiny cube of feta too!

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NOSA: The worst part: it's actually pretty delicious. 

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FOLLY: Sure, they might have used their basic bread rolls and just halfed them but I liked the way it was served in a skillet with excessive garlic butter at the bottom because once we were done with the four pieces they served, I requested additional bread rolls to mop up all that delicious garlic butter. 

NOSA: The garlic butter was actually spectacular. I don't get how something so intrinsically razz could taste so good. 

FOLLY: At N900, I also couldn't fault the tiny knob of feta that topped the garlic bread.

NOSA: I can, please.

FOLLY: If I was paying more, I would have needed a dollop at the very least but I'll settle because of the price. 

NOSA: They need to charge more so they can serve it on better quality bread and use more feta. 

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FOLLY: Moving on to our mains, if I had a dollar for every time we were asked about best seafood pasta in Lagos, I wouldn't need to save for a ticket to America, I'll just have bought it outright. So at Ocean Basket, I ordered the Seafood Pasta for EDL readers.

NOSA: Easily the worst decision Folly has made this year. 

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FOLLY: When I reflect, I did this so you (the person reading this) won't have to. Although going in, I didn't expect it to be bad because Ocean Basket has most of the ingredients to be successful. When most people imagine seafood pasta, we don't straight up imagine Nigerian style Jollof macaroni, which is what Ocean Basket served. Jollof macaroni with fish, prawns, and calamari is definitely a type of pasta and has seafood in the mix but it's not one would expect in the Ocean Basket context, if I was The Place it'll make perfect sense. 

NOSA: If we're keeping it real, most people wouldn't turn their noses up if the cook served this at home. Same thing if you saw it at the office canteen. But when you have to part with a substantial amount of money, it is only right to further scrutinize what exactly you're eating. At roughly $12, you should definitely expect more than jollof pasta. If you take that $12 to Olive Garden, you'll probably get a significantly more ambitious plate. Take the same money to La Taverna and you'll definitely not get this rubbish either. 

FOLLY: Everything was very overcooked: the pasta was splitting and the texture of the fish had begun to resemble that of chicken. There wasn't much calamari in there - just a sprinkle.

NOSA: Just all round disappointment from Ocean Basket. 

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NOSA: At Ocean Basket, you should never get too fancy. Accept it for what it is and don’t stray from ordering only seafood. Also, keep it simple don’t even think about that sushi you spotted in corner of your eye. That’s what I did when I went with the Prawn & Calamari Combo.

FOLLY: I asked and thankfully their sushi service is out of commission for now because I know some of you people are stubborn and you won't listen to Nosa.

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NOSA: The fries needed salt, but the actual prawn and calamari weren’t bad. These things are probably like second nature to the cooks in the kitchen. Nine times out of ten, it’ll taste the same way when your order it. It’s that type of consistency that keeps places like this in business and not the actual quality of the food. 

FOLLY: Somehow they always manage to cook the prawns on their platters to near perfect consistency so I really expected more from the seafood pasta.

NOSA: Ocean Basket only exists as profitable business, I'm assuming they are, because there are no other options. It doesn't mean the food is actually any good, because its just passable. For some reason no one else has thought to set up a strictly seafood restaurant in the most populous city on the West African coast. For that reason alone, we are all suffering under Ocean Basket's tyranny. 

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: The seafood platters are good and by the looks of things, consistent too but the pasta was horrible. 

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Garlic Bread - N900

Seafood Pasta - N4320

Calamari x Prawns - N4950

 

PARKING

Decent. They have off street and on street options available.  

Eat.Drink.Travel: The Sands at Nomad (Diani Beach, Kenya)
 

 

NOSA: Before we get into this, I think we need to issue a little disclaimer or something. Diani Beach is not in Mombasa. When people say they're going to Mombasa for vacation, they usually mean Diani Beach because there's no way you're really vacationing in Mombasa. Mombasa is like Apapa. 

That said, The Sands at Nomad is on many a Kenya bucket list. Year after year, it's a Trip Advisor Traveller's Choice spot so we HAD TO check it out. 

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FOLLY: After being warned by locals to save all sushi allowances for Diani Beach, we excitedly ordered sushi when we got to The Sands at Nomad. I ordered only the Ebi Tempura and I left the rest to Nosa. 

NOSA: I ordered the Tempura Prawn Roll and the Rainbow Uramaki

Ebi Tempura

Ebi Tempura

The ebi tempura was really underwhelming. Like, the blandness of it was so jarring to me. It was almost like they refused to season it by design. This was a running theme across the table as well. All our friends at dinner thought their orders were bland and seasoning notably absent. 

FOLLY: We also ordered the seafood pizza but that never arrived. Probably because the waitress was probably wondering how one table of 8 people could want two of the same pizza. I didn't miss it because we had over compensated for the near loss of a phone with copious amounts of sushi and wine. 

Calamari

Calamari

FOLLY: We combed through TripAdvisor reviews before visiting and ordering but past patrons were split down the middle in terms of excellent and piss poor, which explains our rather average and disappointing dinner.

NOSA: Ordering calamari was our smartest move of the night because it was a probably the only satisfying item. It must be said that for place so close to the sea, the seafood was just so disappointing. 

Tempura Prawn Roll

Tempura Prawn Roll

NOSA: The biggest letdown was the sushi. I don't think I've had sushi this bad since Bonsai two years ago.

FOLLY: The Sands at Nomad was the most disappointing food experience at Diani beach (and there were quite a few) because everything was tasteless and without personality. All the maki rolls we ordered were heavy on the rice and the fish felt like an afterthought. 

Rainbow Uramaki

Rainbow Uramaki

FOLLY: Overall I'd give this a miss if I were you. However, in looking for a silver lining our friends, based on TripAdvisor reviews, ordered the home made ice-cream in which they were well pleased. I didn't because I'm lactose intolerant.

Thanks Nkemka for the pictures!


VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Rainbow Uramaki - $8.90 

Tempura Prawn Roll - $8.90

Samosa (4) - $7.90

Ebi Tempura - $15

Calamari Rings - $8.90

 

 

RECOMMENDED DISH

The homemade ice-cream

Eat.Drink.Travel: Ali Barbour's Cave Restaurant (Diani Beach, Kenya)
 

FOLLY: After a series of disappoint experiences in the Diani Beach area (I'm looking at you The Sands at Nomad Hotel), Ali Barbour's Cave was the final hope our group had for the food at Diani Beach. 

NOSA: Ali Barbour's is a restaurant in a cave that is believed to be between 120,000 to 180,000 years old.

FOLLY: There was a lot to look forward to with Ali Barbour's cave restaurant. The most obvious of them was that we were going to be dining in a cave. 

NOSA: No, seriously, it's in a cave. If you don't believe me, check out the pictures on Google

FOLLY: In case you're wondering, thankfully there are no bats in this caves and the caves has some natural opening in it that you can look up and see the stars while you dine. Lovely eh?

NOSA: Oh, a lil fun fact, it's right beside a bar called 40 Thieves. So it's...Ali Barbour and the 40 Thieves. LOL

Drunken Prawns

Drunken Prawns

FOLLY: Because it's by the coast, we decided to go for more of the seafood options. So to start, we shared Ali's Drunken prawns and Jumbo Prawns with Soft Cheese Tortellini. 

In retrospect, getting two prawns dishes for our starter was bad overdoing it, but oh well. 

NOSA: Just a little bit.

FOLLY: The drunken prawns were to be soaked in a cream based whiskey sauce. To be honest, this wasn't very memorable and I was expecting to taste the whiskey however subtle but not even a hint came through. 

NOSA: I disagree. I actually thought it was very delightful. A lot better than the tortellini. 

Jumbo Prawns

Jumbo Prawns

FOLLY: The tortellini was also a bit too doughy and there was barely any cheese but it got better.

NOSA: These might be the least jumbo Jumbo Prawns that I've ever had in my life. 

Pan Grilled King Fish

Pan Grilled King Fish

Maybe Kenyans don't have the fishing tekkers because at every restaurant we tried, the prawns were so tiny. We got none of the overwhelming stuff that we were served in Zanzibar last year.

FOLLY: For my main course, I had Grilled King (Yellowtail) Fish with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes. 

NOSA: Yup, wasabi in mash. But, Folly will get to that in a bit. 

FOLLY: Oily fish like kingfish, Mackerel (aka Titus fish, judge me if you wish), and salmon are very much my faves. 

I love how they just slide on your tongue and take on flavor so well. If I were to use wine analogy, I'd describe it as full bodied as opposed to white fish which are very light (read: tasteless).

Lobster Surf & Turf

Lobster Surf & Turf

NOSA: For my main, I got the Lobster Surf & Turf. After a lot of thought, I've come to the conclusion that Surf & Turf is largely a scam. While it's a great idea on paper, it's always terrible value for money (it was the most expensive thing we ordered). Most restaurants, not all, skimp on the quality of the components. The steak, by itself, is never one of the pricier cuts. The lobster/shrimp/whatever-fish is never large enough a portion and is frozen, not fresh, most of the time. But restaurants put them together and suddenly feel charging a premium is justified. 

Wasabi Mash

Wasabi Mash

FOLLY: The wasabi mashed potatoes were a brilliant idea... on paper. There is an absolutely good reason why we dilute wasabi in soy sauce in Japanese cuisine or only use a smidgen in a sushi roll because wasabi is very aggressive to taste. 

After the first taste of the wasabi mash, I found myself having to dilute it with gravy that came with Nosa's meal because the wasabi was coming on way too strong.

NOSA: I wish it came as a side on mine and not the boring rice I got served. 

Lobster

Lobster

Crepes

Crepes

NOSA: The steak was a bit meh, but I wasn't expecting too much from it. The lobster, however, was excellent. It definitely wasn't frozen so thank God for that. Wished I got all surf and none of the turf. 

To finish off, we got the Crepe Suzette, which is flambeed at table.  But like much of Ali Barbour, it's better for the experience than the actual food. It's delicious, no doubt, but the the show is a the bigger highlight. 

If you ever find yourself in Diani Beach for a getaway, you need to give Ali Barbour's cave a look


VERDICT

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DAMAGE

 Jumbo prawns - $9.50

Lobster Surf & Turf - $32

Ali's drunken prawns - $9.50

Pan Grilled King Fish - $16.50

 

Recommended Dish

Tagliatelle Seafood Barbours Style

Chili Crab