Posts tagged shawarma
Searching For The Best Shawarma in Lagos II: Shawarma Express & Murphis Place

We’re still looking for the best shawarma in Lagos. Nosa & Folly gave up on their journey five years ago, but Denise and I have picked it up. Last week, we checked out Rich Shawarma and 01 Shawarma. This week, we take our adventures to Victoria Island.


Shawarma Express

Adeola Hopewell, Victoria Island

DENISE: Tobi and I had a very hard time locating Shawarma Express. We went in a circle from Adeola Hopewell to Sanusi Fafunwa maybe three times before we finally found it - it’s in Law School.

TOBI: It is literally a small kiosk beside a giant tree just inside the law school gate. The seating area was not very nice either. It was smelly and the generator was right beside us which also made it noisy. 

DENISE: I really did not expect Shawarma Express to be right inside Law School. I wish they had some signage or anything that indicated it because that would’ve saved Tobi and I a couple of roundtrips.

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Anyway, we decided to have vegetarian shawarma but something on the menu struck me; they had vegetarian shawarma with sausages. Now I know that there are types of vegetarianism but I don’t think that sausages are part of the meal options for any kind of vegetarians. This was a pretty good laugh for Tobi and I.

TOBI: It was entertaining. Vegetarian Shawarma with sausages? They should have just sat there and eaten their food, to be honest. Denise and I decided to have the vegetarian option (without the sausages, mind you) because it’s probably the only place with that kind of option. 

It was a mistake. 

DENISE: I didn’t enjoy this. First of all, the wrap overdosed on the pepper. Usually, I don’t mind but this was a bit too much for me to handle. Genuinely felt like I was eating a pepper salad and not a vegetarian shawarma.

I could’ve sworn I tasted Ugwu a couple of times too. I couldn’t finish this one. Vegetarian shawarma does not work in my opinion.

TOBI: She’s absolutely correct. It was too spicy, there was no thought put into it. There could have been some vegetarian alternative to meat in the wrap, and not just coleslaw with pepper as dressing. But, maybe I am asking for too much from people who use sausage in a vegetarian option. The only good thing about this shawarma was the pita, which was well toasted and crisp.

Damage

Vegetarian Shawarma - N1200

 

Verdict

⭐️

 

Murphis Place

Sanusi Fafunwa, Victoria Island

DENISE: The weather had picked up by the time we got some Murphis! At the stand, they had a comfortable seating area — which was also air-conditioned. Yay!

Murphis tagline is ‘the best shawarma on the island’. When Tobi and I saw that, we smirked a little. We’ll see.

TOBI: Yeah, it wasn’t the best Shawarma I’ve ever had, but it wasn’t like the vegetarian one from Shawarma Express either. It was pretty forgettable, I’d say. 

[Ed Note: Folly once called this the best shawarma in Lagos]

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Or maybe I was just really full at that point. It was wrapped in glossy paper, which smelt weird because they had printed their name all over it. The pita was a little burnt as well. I do like the fact that they asked us what level of spice we wanted, which was good. 

DENISE: My favourite thing about the shawarma was how neatly packaged it was. It did have a weird smell which I guess was from printing but it didn’t get soggy like the others we’d witnessed earlier on. No drip, no soil. 

On the shawarma, I kept getting hints of pepper soup in it like they used pepper soup spice in it or something.  I mean, it worked for me but I’m still wondering why it even happened in the first place.

Unlike Tobi, I thought the shawarma was pretty great and I may consider coming back for seconds.

Damage

Chicken Shawarma - N1800

 

Verdict

⭐️⭐️⭐️


If you have any shawarma spots that we MUST check out, drop a line in the comments

Searching For The Best Shawarma in Lagos I

We really don’t talk enough about Shawarma on this website. It is easily one of my favourite street food and I bet it is the same for many (cultured) Lagosians would agree.

Fun Fact: “Shawarma” literally means “turning” in Arabic and “turning” here refers to the method of preparation where stacks of meat - usually chicken- are rotated slowly and shaved off as it cooks. You know those fancy contraptions at shawarma joints? Yup, that thing.

After the “Dolapo Shawarma” incident on Twitter (I know, I know, I live on Twitter okay?), I decided to go on a journey to find obscure shawarma spots in Lagos with the help of my G, Denise.


Rich Shawarma

Agungi, Lekki.

DENISE: Our Shawarma sojourn started out pretty nicely. The ambience and aesthetics weren’t bad at all.

[Ed Note: Is anyone looking for aesthetic at a shawarma spot?]

I am particularly glad they had a seating area because the weather was absurd that day.

TOBI: It was raining cats and dogs, lions and wolves. When we finally ordered, we decided to have the Chicken shawarma with one sausage. It didn’t take long at all, but the waiter mixed up our order, which was really weird to me as we were literally his only customers.

DENISE: We asked for chicken Shawarma but we got beef instead. This alone takes about 1,000 brownie points away from him. On the bright side, the shawarma was actually really good. Flavours and meats were discernible, the dressing was just right and the hotdog didn’t stop halfway through the roll. I’d definitely consider getting shawarma here again.

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TOBI: Yes, what she said. I enjoyed this shawarma. It was well favoured, well wrapped, with just the right amount of sauce and spice.

On a very random note, Rich Shawarma wraps their shawarma the only people who used aluminium foil for wrapping.

Damage

Chicken (well, it was actually beef) Shawarma - N1500

 

Verdict

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

01 Shawarma

Agungi, Lekki

DENISE: There was no seating area!

Usually, I wouldn’t be bothered about sitting areas but now that Lagos belongs to Poseidon, one must be wary of water! We had to stand in the rain to get the shawarma.

TOBI: 01 Shawarma is on the same street as Rich Shawarma, but the food is made in a tiny cubicle off a supermarket. And as Denise said, there was no seating area and we were *almost* standing in the rain.

They offer quite a number of options for shawarma and we decided to have a mixed wrap - chicken, beef and sausage. The flavours were distinct and so were the textures.

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DENISE: Well I can’t excuse being kept out in the rain, I must say that this Shawarma was pretty good. We had a mixed wrap and I loved how the flavours didn’t overwhelm each other.

TOBI: I liked that the wrap was a lot more crispy than the first one we had. It tasted familiar, took me back to the first time I had shawarma. It felt like a warm, favourite blanket. It was a little too spicy though, even for a Yoruba girl like me.

DENISE: The meats in it were pretty distinct. You could notice the smokiness of the chicken as well as the chewy texture of the meat.

One thing I didn’t like however was the packaging. The dressing kept on seeping through the packaging and that ended up soiling my trousers.

TOBI: Yes, this part was quite off-putting. The wrap was paper, and the sauce spilled through and it was just a mess. I think foil should be every shawarma guy’s go-to for packaging.

 

Damage

Mixed Shawarma - N1350

 

Verdict

⭐️⭐️⭐️


If you have any shawarma spots that we MUST check out, drop a line in the comments

We Think We've Found the Best Shawarma in Lekki
 

NOSA: We haven’t been shawarma hunting in a really long while. Lucky for you guys, we ran through our budget for the month so cheap eats suddenly entered our radar.

FOLLY: Shawarma's in Lekki are plentiful so one has to be very sceptical. 

NOSA: Meat Up is one place I’ve been hearing about a lot. First, we got a DM telling us to check out the shawarma at Entourage Mall. These Lekki “malls” put me off so I wasn’t really enthused to give it a shot. I put it on our schedule, but like, wayyyy at the bottom.

FOLLY: I'd only heard about from one person. It was a random tweet I scrolled past. 

NOSA: Then, Jola mentioned it. As an OG friend of the blog, we really trust Jola’s taste. At this point, I might have bumped it a little bit on the schedule, but the thought of blowing our entire budget on Shiro dim sum seemed more appealing so Meat Up didn’t get bumped up THAT much.

FOLLY: For the most part Nosa has the food eating schedule down pat. I usually will go most places he says we should go except the odd time when I put my foot down and say "not happening".

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NOSA: Anyway, with our review budget looking real funny in the middle of the month, my coworker mentioned this “new shawarma place” that I just had to try. Turns out it was Meat Up again. I guess we had to check it out at this point.

We ordered a chicken shawarma, with no “hot dog” and little light on the pepper, and the grilled turkey.

FOLLY: But the attendant decided we couldn't have possibly known what we were doing and proceeded to put not one, but TWO sausages in the shawarma. 

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NOSA:  Now, I don’t have a problem with this, but Folly does and we were splitting the shawarma. If you, like Folly, are very averse to pepper, you might have to pull those dudes by the ear and make sure they get your order right.

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The shawarma, itself, was a delight. Absolutely loved it. Top 5 in Lagos, or maybe just Lekki, as far as I’m concerned. In fact, Top 2 and it’s not 2. That’s how good I think it is.

FOLLY: Personally, I felt the shawarma was alright. The sausage really threw me off because I've always prided myself on not being a Philistine so this was my first taste.

NOSA: Shawarma without sausage is joke stuff abeg.

Anyway, I must add that it lacks a bit of structural integrity so this is not the shawarma you want to order for date night. You need to devour this one in the privacy of your home.

Before i forget about it, the turkey was pretty good as well.

FOLLY: The turkey was too hard but take my opinion with a grain of salt cause I only had one bite.

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NOSA: It’s very hard to mess grilled turkey up and these guys didn’t. Actually no, it's easy to mess up turkey. I've had some terrible grilled turkeys in my lifetime now that I think about it.

 

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: I'll definitely get the shawarma again.

And again.

And again.

FOLLY: Just one again for me, for now. Let me re-evaluate without those nasty hot dogs.

 

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Shawarma - N1500

Turkey & Yam - N1600

 

PARKING

Like, 3 or 4 spots.

La Mango is Ikeja's Diamond in the Dirt

La Mango

2 Adekunle Fajuyi Street, Ikeja GRA, Lagos

0808 264 6670. 0819 191 4220

FOLLY: A La Mango review has been on the shelf for a while now. 

NOSA: This is my fault, I think.

FOLLY: Honestly, I'm not sure why we put it off for so long.

NOSA: I thought it had to be razz because of the name so I was never keen. In my defense, the decor at La Mango is falling apart. The place needs some major renovation and the pool needs some cleaning because, my god, it is filthy.

FOLLY: Based on what I'd heard, La Mango was really good for shawarma and so I thought that was all there was to it. 

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FOLLY: Oddly enough, of the three things we ordered at La Mango, the shawarma was my least favorite. Initially, I ordered the mixed shawarma but the waitress came to notify me that they were out of beef and asked if I'd like a chicken one instead, I said that was fine. 

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NOSA: I liked the shawarma unlike Folly.

FOLLY: First impressions of the shawarma was that it was quite flat so not a rolly polly kind of shawarma. 

NOSA: The sauce has this maggi thing to it that I really loved.

FOLLY: I was not adequately whelmed on its flavor as there was just too much Maggi.  

NOSA: We're polar opposites on this thing, you know?

FOLLY: It terms of uniqueness, the only thing that stood out as different was that this had finely chopped pieces of pepper (ata rodo) in it.

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FOLLY: After the shawarma, we decided to split a starter and a main. Originally ordered the special hummus but it wasn't available so I settled for the Crispy Chicken Wings and Penne Pesto.

NOSA: The penne pesto absolutely blew my mind. It took forever to come out so I figured the chef was in the kitchen making an abortion of a plate.

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FOLLY: Likewise, the Penne Pesto blew me away. It was extremely well made.  

NOSA: The penne was perfectly al dente, the chicken was full of so much flavor, and the pesto was actually pesto.

FOLLY: You could also tell that this pesto was freshly made. This might seem like an exaggeration but I don't know where I've eaten better at a Lagos restaurant. I found Talindo's to be a little too dry, and Umutu's to be too watery. If this was the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, La Mango's pesto is the perfect bowl of porridge.

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FOLLY: The chicken breast slices weren't too dry. They were flavorful and complemented the pasta well - didn't steal the show. I missed the pine nuts in La Mango's iteration, however, not enough to throw a fit about their absence. 

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FOLLY: A quick word on the chicken wings.

Things La Mango did right:

  • Used soft chicken
  • Split the drummette from the wingette
  • Battered the wings
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FOLLY: Things La Mango could have done better:

  • Used less batter on the wings
  • Been less heavy handed on the curry
  • Serve it with actual chili mayo, as the menu said, instead of mayo and then chili separately.

NOSA: The chicken wings were alright. Great as something to occupy your mouth while you get a post work beer. Beyond that, not really.

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: Shame I live quite far away that I can't pop in for that pesto more often. However, if I find out they deliver to my office, in there like swimwear. 

NOSA: I really want to visit again because we walked on the safe side with our orders because we feared for the worst.

FOLLY: There are a couple of things I would like to point out, however, that aren't best in class for a restaurant that La Mango did. The service wasn't great as the waitress was always out of sight (we were seated outside), the crockery was mismatched, and the food took longer than 30 minutes to arrive. 

NOSA: That's what made the pesto penne so surprising. Despite the subpar effort on the aesthetics, the actual food was really damn good. It's so confusing.

 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Star - N500

Penne Pesto - N3200

Chicken Shawarma - N1100

Crispy Chicken Wings - N1700

 

PARKING

You can't tell from outside but they have a small parking lot at the back.

Searching For The Best Shawarma In Lagos: Sphinx

Sphinx Fast Food

Mega Plaza. 14 Idowu Taylor, Victoria Island, Lagos

01 775 3582

NOSA: Like many people, my first encounter with shawarma was at Mega Plaza. The old Mega Plaza too, not this new one that looks like the final level of an RPG.

FOLLY: My dad took me to Mega Plaza all the time for the shawarma and pizza from La Pizza. Remember when La Pizza was still on the right side where they sell those safes? Now it's a random corner now and I don't know if anyone still goes there. 

NOSA: Old Mega was really the spot back then. They had that really expensive TV that I’m pretty sure no one ever bought. For the longest time, Mega Plaza shawarma was the basis for all shawarma comparisons.

FOLLY: Every time I was in Lagos on holiday from university, Mega Plaza shawarma was an important stop. I had to visit my grandparents and I had to buy shawarma.

NOSA: Until Ebeano shawarma stole my heart, but that’s a story for another day.

FOLLY: That's not a shared experience but enough on the nostalgia. 

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NOSA: Last weekend, we went back to check out Mega Plaza shawarma. They give you two options like Shawarma & Co., but we decided to go Lebanese style for authenticity. Lebanese people really missed a trick with this shawarma thing. Lebanese style doesn’t have sausage and they have fries in their shawarma. 

FOLLY: I want to play devil's advocate/food purist so I'm going to say Lebanese style is better. This is because Nigerian shawarma stopped being shawarma the day y'all savages showed yourselves and started adding sausage. 

NOSA: Sure, taste is subjective etc, etc, but without a doubt, Nigerian-style > Lebanese-style. Nobody is changing my mind. You might have to find me and engage in fisticuffs to convince me.The shawarma was just so dry. From the dry “meat” to the dry fries to the dry pita. Everything is just lumped together and there’s nothing linking it all. 

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FOLLY: It was indeed quite dry. The garlic wasn't even overwhelming, and the taste was gone from my mouth in a couple hours, and you know garlic usually lingers. 

NOSA: You know what? A little “hot take” for you guys: Nigerians did well when we bastardized shawarma. 

Yes, I said it.

That said, why hasn’t anyone thought of mixing both styles?

FOLLY: The mayo + ketchup + garlic sauce will be flames. 

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NOSA: This is really a shawarma post, but we got hummus too and we can’t go through this post without mentioning it. Their hummus is a little different from normal hummus you find in these Lagos streets. It’s not very thick, but the beef is fried into it.

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FOLLY: It's also very oily, but the beef is fried chunks and not minced like I'm used to. I think it adds a great flavour profile to the combination of bread, hummus, and meat i.e it tastes better than the minced meat version. 

NOSA: I wish I could find the right words to explain it. Look, just try it next time you’re there. 

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: Glory days are over.

FOLLY: And all we have are the memories. 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Lebanese Shawarma - N1400

Hummus with beef - N2000

 

 

PARKING

It's N200 and N100 on weekdays and weekends respectively, to park in the Mega Plaza lot.