Posts tagged spring roll
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. 

Fake Chinese > Real Chinese

Zhou Jie Hot Pot Restaurant

42 Saka Tinubu, Victoria Island, Lagos

0813 966 66660813 070 5759

FOLLY: One of the bosses at my old job used to call this place "Chinese Chinese" because the restaurant has no signage in English, just some Chinese letters that no one really knows what they mean.

In fact if you find yourself needing to call those phone numbers above, don't waste your time the lady who manages/owns the place doesn't speak a word of english apart from "this one" and "that one" when she's pointing things out to her staff.

NOSA: I got here before Folly and I swear there was Triad meeting beside me.

At one point, the waitresses brought dumplings and the main Triad guy gets up and goes, "5 DUMPLINGS  FOR EVERYONE!" Proper mob boss stuff. 

Following his lead, I got dumplings too.  

dumplings

FOLLY: These dumplings were the only thing I enjoyed out of everything we ordered and I was so terrified when they arrived cause they looked like crap.

NOSA: Ugliest. Dumplings. Ever.

FOLLY: Personally, I'm not a fan of steamed/boiled dumplings because of how fresh they look, sometimes they are also a bit too smooth and slippery so the texture throws me off. 

Thankfully, these tasted way better than they looked.

NOSA: Yeah, they weren't bad at all. I think it was chicken...

...or dog.

IMG_0933.JPG

FOLLY: We ordered Lamb Chops and we got goat meat ribs. I kept asking the different waiters if these were the lamb chops till Nosa told me to stop wasting my time as they probably are just serving what the Chinese man in the back gives them to serve.

NOSA: LOL, we asked the waiter what type of meat it was and dude said it was goat meat. I told the guy we ordered the lamb chops and dude says, "ehn, the same thing na."

FOLLY: The ribs were seasoned with curry and had weird pockets of fat. They looked way better than they tasted. 

chinese ribs lamb chops

NOSA: So we decided to be adventurous and not get rice like Nigerians. We ordered the Sweet and Sour Shrimp. 

sweet and sour shrimp balls

FOLLY: I'm going to call these popcorn sweet and sour shrimp. Hmm these were overly sweet so after a while became sickening, if we hadn't gotten some rice to eat this with, it might have helped to counteract the sweetness.

NOSA: This thing would've given us jedi-jedi if we finished it. Waaaaay more sweet than sour.

Anyway, our inner Nigerian came out and we got Spring Rolls to round up the ting. 

FOLLY: These spring rolls are the worst I've ever had. Period. In fact, small chops spring rolls are way better. 

chinese spring rolls

NOSA: Fried it all the oil in the world. Oh my God. 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: I've actually been to chinese chinese before this time and I really enjoyed it. What was different then was that I didn't even look at the menu, I came with the foreigns from work and they picked everything. I came with Nosa and tried to decipher the menu and this happened, so it could be that we ordered poorly. 

NOSA: Maybe we should have just ordered the rice we know. 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Steamed Dumplings - N1500

Lamb Chops - N4500

Sweet and Sour Shrimp - N3500

Spring Rolls - N1800

Lessons in Nigerian Chinese

Zenith Water Margin

28 Adeniran Ogunsanya Street, Surulere, Lagos.

0705 543 7004 

NOSA: Before we start anything, I just want to point out how shit the parking is in Surulere. Someone needs to give me a boatload of money and I'll build a whole bunch of parking garages in the place just like downtown DC. That said, we've been planning on hitting this spot up for the longest time. 

FOLLY: I remember it being on the list for MasterCard Restaurant Week last year

NOSA: Funniest thing happened at lunch, we were sat beside a group of RCCG Pastors/Ministers and their wives. I think it was a wedding anniversary or something, but marriage was at the center of their gist.  I nearly pissed myself when they started talking about sex.

"If you can't give her more, engage her in talking"

FOLLY:

"Sometimes the woman is more experienced than the man"

"There can be misunderstanding, let's say the man comes back from work and he's physically tired, the woman will think it's because he has someone else"

NOSA: Anyway, enough cringe. For our starter, we got the Chicken Spring Rolls, Beef Spring Rolls, and Fried Prawns in Batter. Now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever had Beef Spring Rolls before. The beef was so...beefy. Not a bad thing, just different. Better than the nondescript Chicken one, for me.

Zenith Water Margin Spring Roll

FOLLY: These spring rolls looked and tasted like they came out of Small Chops pack and not the kitchen of a Chinese Restaurant. Wave your hands if you understand me. For those that don't, let me explain:

Spring Rolls in Chinese restaurants are always almost perfectly round, never squished, and golden brown to a fault. Argue in your house, or in the comment section if you must. 

NOSA: The Prawn in Batter was a bit of a disaster. The shrimp was as tasteless as the batter was overwhelming. An all round exercise in failure. 

FOLLY: A "goddam tasteless disaster"

Zenith Water Margin Prawn in batter

NOSA: For our mains, we went with their Special Fried Rice and the Grilled Spare Ribs. I really wanted the barbecue spare rib, but it wasn't available so our waiter suggested an alternative.

We shouldn't have listened.

Zenith Water Margin

After trying ribs at multiple places in Lagos, I've concluded that I was a bit harsh on BBQ & Cravings. Sure, it wasn't as good as I expected, but they're head and shoulders above anyone making ribs in Lagos. It's like the one-eyed man in the land of the blind. 

Zenith Water Margin Ribs
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The ribs were way too tough. I was fighting with the thing like it was sallah meat. 

FOLLY: I put down my fork and attacked this head-on with my hands. Then asked for a hot towel when I was done to clean underneath my nails. The rice was "nice", I won't crave it on a rainy day but it was pretty good. 

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: You know why they have that high TripAdvisor rating? Well, if you follow Zenith Water Margin on Twitter & Instagram, as well as write a review on TripAdvisor, you get a discount.

ZenithWaterMargin TripAdvisor

It's pretty much a bribe for a good review. You're obvs not going to show your waiter a terrible review and ask for a discount. He might punch you in the face. 

FOLLY: I wish we had gone with the traditional Chinese with a Nigerian flair dishes like Beef in Black Bean Sauce, Sweet & Sour Chicken etc. because something tells me they'll have nailed that. This is because Zenith is a very Nigerianized-Chinese restaurant (this is not a bad thing) because this is what the people want.

In fact, the waiter told us twice that the ribs we ordered had no "stew" and asked if we were okay with that. Most of his customers usually get a chicken/beef in sauce dish with side of rice, and so to him, we were definitely doing it wrong. That said, I strongly believe, we'd have had a different experience at Zenith Water Margin if we'd ordered differently.  Oh well, shoulda coulda shouda.

DAMAGE

Chicken Spring Rolls - N300

Beef Spring Rolls - N300

Special Fried Rice (Cantonese Style) - N1800

Fried Prawns in Batter - N1200

Grilled Spare Ribs (Capital Style) - N2900

The Definitive Ranking Of Nigerian Small Chops

From "I'm not touching that" to "I'm saving it for last"

HONORABLE MENTIONS (They haven't fully blown yet): Yam balls, prawn-in-batter, stick meat, chicken-in-batter, buns, mini shawarma.

10. Mosa

NOSA: If you needed any proof that the terrorists have won, look no further than the existence of mosa.

FOLLY: Mosa should be discontinued. Not like the things that brands discontinue and people start Facebook petitions to bring them back. I mean discontinued like the way Abacha was discontinued, and we all threw parties. 

9. Fish-in-batter

FOLLY: I don't believe seafood should be fast food. Fish should be prepared with care and serious expertise and so there is no place for fish on a small chops plate. 

NOSA: This is another "why" item in the small chops pandora's box. Like, why is this even there? I bet some Nigerian chef was out there with some left over batter from puff-puff and has no clue what do with it. "Well, I just made a boat load of puff-puff. Lemme just dump this sardine in here and fry it for bants". Yes, that's definitely where it went.

8. Cinnamon Puff-Puff

FOLLY: To me, cinnamon puff-puff is like Tinashe. It's up and coming but I'm not sure if it'll ever really blow so guys this one is dicey for me. 

NOSA: This tastes better in theory than it does in reality. Cinnamon and puff-puff, what could possibly go wrong?

7. BBQ Chicken

NOSA: The chicken in small chops packs is about as meh as it comes. Like, "hey, it's chicken. Yippee, I guess". 

FOLLY: They never get the chicken right.

NOSA: That too. It always tastes like making the chicken was an inconvenience.

FOLLY: Plus why do we call it bbq chicken when it's obviously not.

>

6. Peppered Gizzards 

FOLLY: Meh. These are always too oily and too tough to bite into. I can't come to a wedding looking like full take away and be struggling with my gizzard so pass. 

NOSA: Folly is such a princess. Gizzards should be a lot higher. In my opinion, gizzards are elite small chops. Upper echelon small chops. On the Mt. Rushmore of small chops, gizzards are right there.

5. Peppered Snail

NOSA: You rarely find peppered snails in your standard small chops pack. There's only value because it's so rare. If peppered snails fully casted like puff-puff, I'd bet you'd hate it too.

FOLLY: Peppered snails are the only spicy food I will suffer to eat. I'll probably start sweating but I'll still eat mine and ask for the next person's. 

4. Asun

NOSA: There's something about vulnerable animals that makes them so delicious. Lambs, snails, calves, baby goats. No way I'm eating grown ass goat. Jesus didn't die for that. A baby goat tho...

FOLLY: OMG Nosa, you're a terrible person. I hate the idea of veal. You know they don't allow the baby goats to move around so they don't develop muscle and the meat stays tender. 

3. Puff-Puff

NOSA: Puff-puff has been grossly over-ranked. This is Folly's fault. Buns should be in this spot but you people are Philistines and thus, have no clue what buns are. Look, just ask any kid that went to Loyola. They'll tell you.

FOLLY: I once was at a family wedding and asked the waiters for an entire plate of only puff-puff. I don't know what "buns" are and I've never seen one, same way I've never seen a unicorn

NOSA: Let me put you on a little game, something I learned in NYSC Camp. It costs about N5 to make like 10 puff-puff balls. A caterer would rather give you 50 puff-puff balls than an extra samosa. Stay woke.

2. Spring Roll

FOLLY: Spring rolls are okay but I'm kind of over them. They are only nice when they are fresh and crispy and when they aren't they get soggy and chewy. If you ask me, spring rolls and puff-puff should switch positions on this list.  I always exchange my springs rolls for the next person's puff-puff.

NOSA: I don't know what this girl is saying, but spring rolls deserve this spot. Caterers usually get lazy with and I see no reason to hold it against spring rolls. On good day, spring rolls are undefeated in the small chops game. Spring rolls are just like Robin Van Persie at Arsenal. He was never fit, but those 10/15 games he was, the man was goddamn unstoppable.

1. Samosa

NOSA: I'm one of those people that eats all the rice before touching the chicken. I was raised right unlike you savages. Samosa is the last thing I eat in a small chops platter. it deserves the deference

FOLLY: Samosa is the undisputed king of small chops!

NOSA: No debate. Argue in your house. Not interested.