Posts tagged steak
Z Kitchen Strengthens the Lebanese Dominance of Lagos' Hospitality Scene
 

NOSA: In another country, with constant power, there’d be a detailed study on how Lebanese families in Lagos have dominated the local hospitality scene. From restaurants to clubs, the best in Lagos seem to have Lebanese hands in them and Z Kitchen is the latest. 

FOLLY: I feel like all the answers are in plain sight and there’s not much digging that has to be done to write this story. I have two jobs and still trying to get my money up so once I’m done, I’ll come back and investigate this for the people.

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NOSA: Located in the old Westafco building on Saka Tinubu, Z Kitchen is run by a Lebanese couple. The husband is the executive chef and the wife, I presume, handles the business side of things. And one interesting little tidbit (read: gist) I found out over the weekend:

the wife’s other siblings run restaurants in Lagos. Her brother runs the Casper & Gambini chain while her sister is none other than our ‘good friend’ Lou, of Craft Gourmet.

(CORRECTION: Lou, of Craft Gourmet, isn’t her sister. Just a really good friend. Her brother runs D Cafe and Rhapsody’s.)

But it doesn’t end there, the wife’s father was the main man at Westafco. 

Look at all the connections!

FOLLY: Come for the food reviews, but stay for the gist. Speaking of gist in Lagos, you know who really has my gist in this city - Lagos waiters.

NOSA: I found out about the Delis/D Cafe split from a waiter lol.

FOLLY: A hobby of mine is finding waiters from existing restaurants in newly opened restaurants, and because I’m annoying I call them by the name of their previous employer (e.g Hi HSE) and then they smile because they also recognize me.

NOSA: Out of one family, we get three of the better restaurants in Lagos. There should be some grad student at UNILAG writing a thesis on this thing because it’ll make for very fascinating reading. 

FOLLY: The professor will probably fail them on the topic choice alone so I see why that isn’t happening anytime soon.

NOSA: And yes, Craft Gourmet is one of the better restaurants in Lagos, but beef is forever unfortunately. Speaking of beef, Z Kitchen has very impressive selection of meats on the menu. There’s a 800g tomahawk  and a 250g ostrich fillet on the menu. We’ve eaten at over a hundred restaurants in Lagos and I don’t think we’ve come across ostrich anywhere. The rest of the menu is just as excellent. Oh, and the owner said the current menu is still a work in progress. They make tweaks every Thursday. 

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To start, we got the Rosemary Focaccia and the Calamari A La Plancha.

Rosemary Focaccia - Fluffy Italian bread topped with confit tomatoes and feta cheese.

We went with focaccia because Chef Benedict made the most delicious one at his last supper club so we, or just me, wanted to get the feeling again. Sounds like something a crackhead would say, but Ben’s focaccia was the most delicious thing.

FOLLY: The focaccia at Z Kitchen was a bit different compared to the one that we’d had at Chef Benedict’s

Z Kitchen

Z Kitchen

Chef Benedict

Chef Benedict

NOSA: Now, focaccia is Italian flat bread with little bit of leavening so the dough rises somewhat and isn’t all the way flat. The one at Z Kitchen took the “flat” in flat bread thing pretty seriously. From the eyeball test, it looks more like pizza than focaccia. But, it was delicious and that’s the part that leaves me conflicted. The feta was an excellent addition and the confit tomatoes took it to another level, but this was no Chef Benedict focaccia. 

FOLLY: I found that the balsamic balanced out the tomatoes and tied everything together very nicely.

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FOLLY: The calamari was recommended by a friend who was dining at the restaurant at the same time as we were, so that informed our second option.

Calamari A La Plancha - Grilled baby calamari tossed with salsa verde.

NOSA: The calamari fared a little better in our eyeball test. I’ve said something on this blog about the direct relationship between vulnerability in animals and how delicious they are. As soon as I saw “baby calamari”, I knew we were on to something.

FOLLY: Ignoring Nosa but it’s more common to find deep fried calamari than grilled/roasted calamari in Lagos restaurants. In our experience, the grilled calamari always tastes rubbery so we tend to avoid. What I liked about the roasted calamari at Z Kitchen, was the chargrill and smoky flavour.

NOSA: I tasted a bit of suya spice in there. Maybe that was the salsa verde and my razz Nigerian taste buds think it’s suya spice.

FOLLY: After both starters I was very impressed by the quality of the food at Z Kitchen - the ingredients especially were high quality and the cooking was precise. The mains completely won me over and Z Kitchen is one of the best culinary experiences I’ve had in Lagos.

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NOSA: A new month means a fresh EDL budget so we went all out with the mains: Coffee-Rubbed Skirt Steak, Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich and Braised Short Rib Lasagne.

FOLLY: My choice of the skirt steak was influenced by The Kitchenista. She’s always preached the gospel of how a good coffee rub will take steak/ribs to the next level so I had to take her advise.

NOSA: The skirt steak was absolutely killer. Very juicy and packed plenty flavor thanks to the coffee rub.

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FOLLY: A skirt steak isn’t the most tender cut but it packs a lot of flavour, that combined with the deep intense flavour of the coffee really made this come alive. It’s fair to assume that the coffee would be over powering but that’s not the case, the coffee rub creates a deeper complex flavour for the meat - mostly savoury with the ever so slight sweet tinge.

NOSA: This would work perfectly in a steak sandwich, you know?

FOLLY: Speaking of sandwiches, I took one bite of the chicken sandwich and I determined it wasn’t for me. It had both vinegar and pickles and that’s basically poison to me so it became a hard pass.

NOSA: The slaw + honey mustard combo in the sandwich is a bit overpowering and might not be for everyone, but I liked it. In fact, that was the exact reason I liked it and the reason Folly hated it. It might be a bit of an acquired taste like Guinness. 

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NOSA: The lasagne, a guest favorite according to our waiter, was my favorite of the lot. That’s partly has to do with my love for lasagne and how good this lasagne was. In equal measure.

FOLLY: I could only have a limited quantity of the lasagne due to my body’s inability to digest lactose but this was divine. I wouldn’t get into the cheese because I was deliberately trying to avoid it, but the meat was the most amazing tender (buttery soft) pulled short rib. The best part is that it’s suitable for non pork eaters because they use beef ribs. I stan an equal opportunity lasagne.

NOSA: Best lasagne since Velvett?

Update

NOSA: After reading this review, a friend sent us this message below lol

Please edit your review of Z kitchen. Y’all didn’t talk about the space. It’s literally the most fucking beautiful thing in Lagos.
First off, it’s practical. Chairs and tables are perfect height for each other. They gave me a BAG STOOL!!! That beaten metal wall is what I need me tombstone to be made of.

It’s a lot of seating without feeling choked. That white utensil wall is sooo cute! Color scheme on point and the stuff is all made in Nigeria so... yaaasss
Those shaved wood chairs in the wine lounge!!!

Nahhh see when/if I open a restaurant, I won’t even have staff cause I’d have spent all my money on decor. This is nicer than abroad restaurants
— Friend of the Blog

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: Favorite new restaurant this year. Definitely worth the revisit.

FOLLY: I’ve never been this impressed by a new restaurant since RSVP. That’ll probably make some people not visit because they think RSVP is just hype. If that’s you, you’re only doing yourself not me.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Rosemary Focaccia - N3500

Calamari A La Plancha - N5000

Coffee-Rubbed Skirt Steak - N12000

Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich - N6000

Braised Short Rib Lasagna - N8000

 

PARKING

Can fit 5-6 cars 

At NOIR, the Experience Takes Center Stage
 

FOLLY: It's purely coincidental that the bar review and our food review came out in the same week, but it's a new spot and everything wants to know if it's worth the hype. 

Our bill at Noir was the most amount of money that Nosa and I have spent on a single meal together. You can do the math by adding up the damage section. We actually decided to throw out a budget after looking through the menu because we didn't think we could really review NOIR by trying one or two dishes, and so we decided to go all in.

Fried Calamari in Batter

Fried Calamari in Batter

NOSA: There's Tarragon and NOK, maybe Sky Lounge to some degree, but I think NOIR is Lagos' first real brush with "Fine Dining". I might be wrong and I'm open to a debate in the comments.

FOLLY: All together, we ordered 6 different things if you include dessert. We started with Fried Calamari in Batter and NOIR Rillettes.

Whenever we go to a new spot, more often than not, we order the fried calamari. It has little significance but it's become a thing we do.

NOSA: TL;DR Calamari is delicious.

NOIR Rillettes

NOIR Rillettes

FOLLY: As a result, we've had some really interesting calamari experiences: too long, too tough, or too oily. The most interesting has been chin chin calamari at RSVP and the worst was the "stewed" calamari at Bangkok.

NOSA: Unlike Bangkok, NOIR's calamari didn't disappoint. They didn't overdo it with the batter and the calamari-ness of the calamari wasn't overwhelming. If you didn't know, the latter is a real thing that happens. Experienced it Zanzibar.

The NOIR rillettes is NOIR's take on pork dumplings. The plating felt a bit lazy and uninspired. And at N3500, it didn't give me what I expected. It was good, but it still disappointed me a bit.

FOLLY: They were much smaller than we expected and the dough overwhelmed the rillette. The sauce was a professional's take on wasabi and soy sauce - LOL. As my friend remarked, the wasabi hits you on the nose but it finishes sweet. 

NOSA: Per the description on the menu, it's just ginger and soy, but yeah, it doesn't taste like it.

Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli

Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli

NOSA: We went all out a bit with the mains: Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli, Seared Salmon Fillet, and 250g Beef Strip Loin.

FOLLY: The ravioli was my favorite item that we tried at NOIR.  The roasted red pepper and tomato sauce (I think) that it was served with was also perfect. 

NOSA: It was a tomato sauce and yes, it was perfect. I think I dunked my fries in it at some point. No shame in game. The ravioli, too, was so goddamn delicious.

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FOLLY: And my least favorite? The salmon. I couldn't stand the "creamy pea soup" thing that it was plated in and the salmon itself was just the slightest bit tasteless. The cripsy skin was fantastic though.

NOSA: Folly is razz because I liked the Salmon and the "creamy pea soup" wasn't bad.

250g Beef Strip Loin

250g Beef Strip Loin

NOSA: The most interesting part of our lunch was definitely the steak.

FOLLY: It was a bit of a chore to be tasked with making one's steak.

NOSA: Apparently, it's actually a "thing"

Steak Stones are a widely available stones that can be used for cooking steaks, as well as many other cuts of meat or fish. They are extremely similar to the stones and rocks used in the ancient technique of hot rock cooking, which is the oldest known cooking technique.
— Black Rock Grill

NOSA: The whole DIY thing has that Korean BBQ vibe. They dump a bunch of meat on your table and tell you to figure yourself out.

FOLLY: After I enjoyed the finished product I truly did not mind because I could make it more to my satisfaction than they might have in the kitchen.

Steak Stone

Steak Stone

No matter how much you emphasize when you order it, in our experience in Lagos, your steak comes out more cooked than you requested, so being able to control that cooking process was great in that regard. 

NOSA: I think that's the very idea behind steak stones too. I was doing some googling and found the science behind it. It kinda validates the idea and what not. Also, after our little experience at La Boucherie a couple years ago, it's certainly a valid solution.

The principle of steak stones is a very simple one. As a result it is still used today and despite huge advancement in cooking technology and equipment over the last 50 to 100 years, nothing has been able to come close. The undeveloped cooking skill is used by remote tribes around the world, as well as in the most trendy restaurants and cooking establishments. Unlike more advanced cooking methods, steak stones will not burn food and will ensure that food is cooked evenly throughout, reducing the risk of food poisoning caused by undercooked parts of food. As well as all of this, cooking with steak stones requires absolutely no fat or oil, which makes it a far more healthier alternative than practically every other cooking method available.

Food can be cooked, served and eaten on steak stones. Due to the fact that they retain heat very well, it means that the steak stone will remain hot for approximately 20 to 40 minutes after being removed from the oven. This also reduces the possibility of food going cold once it has been removed from the oven, which makes it an ideal method of cooking for busy restaurants.
— Black Rock Grill

FOLLY: I even think we made the best steak we've had in Lagos, shame if you're reading this that you'd never get to taste it. My only regret is that our original selection (rib eye) was not available so we ordered the sirloin begrudgingly. 

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

NOSA: Like the true fatasses we are, we couldn't pass on dessert. The Tiramisu, itself, was fantastic, but the little ice cream it was served with tasted like Supreme Ice Cream

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: NOIR was a great experience for me. The price point is definitely too steep for me for every day dining so I will be forced to save NOIR for very special occasions.

NOSA: Like every "fine dining" thing anywhere, it's more about the experience than the food. Don't come here expecting to eat till you're full. Just go down the road to Brown's Cafe for that.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Fries - N1200

Mojito - N2800

Seared Salmon Fillet - N9500

NOIR Rillettes - N3500

250g Beef Strip Loin - N15800

Tiramisu Cake - N3500

Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli - N6800

 

 

 

PARKING

About 10 spots all together, might be a struggle when the restaurant is busy. 

The Grill Steakhouse: The Ghost of Date Nights Past
 

NOSA; There are four "hotels" in the Eko Hotel property. A bit like Federal Palace Hotel in that regard. Unlike Federal Palace, however, all the "hotels" are functional. In one of these "hotels", the Grill Room is nestled.

FOLLY: Eko Suites to be precise.

NOSA: It's a bit funny that it's taken us three years before we got round to reviewing the Grill Steakhouse. I think we have to get through all the restaurants in Eko Hotel before the year runs out.

Appetizers

Appetizers

FOLLY: We still have Casa Chianti and Ocean Breeze left to review. 

NOSA: Real Lagos residents are probably familiar with the Grill Steakhouse. If I remember correctly, it was proper date location when Oceanview was still a thing. That old.

To start, we got the Salmon Roll and the Buffalo Chicken Wings. I decided to try their Restaurant Week (RW) menu, while Folly ordered off the regular menu.

The Salmon Roll took me by surprise because it was far from what expected. When I saw the "cream cheese" and "salmon" in the menu description, a fancy spring roll wasn't what I expected. Although the fact it was on the "Hot Appetizer" section of the menu

It's just like that time we ordered the Goat Roll at NOK and it was a spring roll with goat meat in it. We were fully expecting something sandwich-y like a lobster roll or something.

Salmon Roll

Salmon Roll

NOSA: From the RW menu, I got the Buffalo Wings. This, too, was another surprise. With the Salmon Roll, the L was on us. This surprise, however, wasn't our fault. Buffalo Wings are, like, a universal thing. You can't place battered chicken lollipops in front of me and call them Buffalo Wings. I'm no mug!

FOLLY: Like Buffalo wings are characterized by the sauce they are slathered in but these were dry and crispy fried. They didn't even put pepper sauce like the rest of the Lagos restaurants.

NOSA: The real sad thing about this incident is that the chicken lollipops were actually pretty good.

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FOLLY: They really should just have called them by the appropriate name. 

NOSA: I opted for the Grilled Beef Tenderloin for my main. Perhaps I shouldn't have expected too much, but the quality of the beef was shamefully poor. No way this was the SA Beef. It was cooked medium rare, albeit unevenly, as requested. For a steak on a 12k 3-course menu, perhaps I shouldn't have expected too much, but I expected anyway and the Grill Steakhouse let me down. The peppercorn (i think) sauce it came with helped significantly.

SA Beef Tenderloin

SA Beef Tenderloin

FOLLY: Funny story, we both think someone sprinkled some pepper soup spice into the black peppercorn sauce. We were both thinking it without the other person mentioning it. 

Half Rack of Beef Ribs with Coconut Prawns

Half Rack of Beef Ribs with Coconut Prawns

NOSA: I really liked the prawn in Folly's surf & turf. The coconut really came out to play.

FOLLY: Compared to Nosa's steak, my main was pretty good. The ribs were the benchmark in tenderness - like it wasn't hard but still a bit far from slide of the bone tender. At times it was a struggle to cut but that was more so as a result of the regular dinner knife I was given. Flavor wise, it wasn't memorable but it was BBQ

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NOSA: Maybe it's a thing with the RW menu, but the Oreo Cheesecake was no such thing. It was just a mish-mash of some jam, some cream, and some chocolate.

FOLLY: The middle section was not even cheesecake. It was a mousse.

 

POSTCRIPT

NOSA: Considering its the cheapest hotel on the property, I guess it's only fair that the restaurant delivers as its expected to.

FOLLY: I actually suspect Casa Chianti is cheaper and that the Grillroom is priced comparably to Ocean Breeze.

NOSA: Actually, looking at the receipt again, this place is kinda expensive

 

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Salmon Roll - N4200

Buffalo Wings -??

SA Beef Tenderloin - N12000

Half Rack of Beef Ribs with Coconut Prawns - N10500

Spicy Potato Wedges - N1500

Oreo Cheesecake - N4200

 

PARKING

It's Eko Hotel. The parking is a bountiful

Ikeja Gets a Taste of Fine Dining

CUT @ Renaissance Hotel

38/40 Isaac John Street, Ikeja GRA, Lagos. 

0908 780 5555

NOSA: Folly told me a Marriott opened up on Isaac John and I didn't believe her. The street already has two big hotels on it, a third would be overkill.

I was wrong.

Someone built a Marriott on Isaac John.

FOLLY: My initial reactions were:

  1. This restaurant is too expensive to have a paper menu
  2. This restaurant is too expensive to be in the lobby. 

NOSA: I'm not going to lie, the place is beautiful despite Folly's issues. Ikeja has been missing an IT restaurant for a while now, and it looks like the steakhouse, CUT, at Renaissance Hotel is ready to fill that void.

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FOLLY: Their starters were incredibly weak. The only one we were half interested in trying, we felt didn't warrant the N9500 price tag so we skipped alladat and went straight for our main course.

NOSA: The starters might be the only thing that disappointed me about this place. 

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FOLLY: Nosa had the New York Steak while I had the Daily Surf & Turf.

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NOSA: The steak wasn't the most tender, well, compared to my ribeye at Talindo. Actually, that's a terrible comparison because a ribeye should always be more tender than a strip. The strip was as chewy as I wanted it and that slice of fat on the edge was the most delicious thing ever.

FOLLY: The more crispy (read: burnt) part of the fat was even more delicious.

NOSA: Another thing I loved was the chimichurri sauce (not pictured). It went so well with the steak. 

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FOLLY: The daily surf & turf was a tenderloin steak and a salmon fillet. I selected the potato au gratin as a side. 

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For the potato au gratin, the chef went with the sharpest cheddar he could find. I know this might not work for some, but it was absolutely delicious and tangy. 

NOSA: I got the grilled vegetables with mine. Oh, you have to pay extra for sides. It so ludicrous. My grilled vegetables were great but not great enough to justify spilling an extra 2k for. But as I couldn't just eat a steak alone, I opted for it.

Scam.

FOLLY: Heist

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FOLLY: The salmon was my favorite thing I had at the CUT. The hard and salty exterior was bae (see what I did there? #saltbae) and the inside was flaky but not overcooked that it was dry. 

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I asked for my steak to be cooked medium and it was. It had just had a little bit of pink on the inside and less juices running through it compared to Nosa's.

It was very tender (as expected because of the part of the animal that it's cut from), but it was desperately lacking in flavor. I hated my mushroom sauce (they used canned mushrooms), but Nosa's chimichurri was very much up to the task so I stole from him.

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: Ikeja desperately deserves something that is better and bigger than Orchid Bistro. I mean, Orchid Bistro will still serve its quaint purposes, but before the Cut, if you wanted a more upmarket meal, there was nothing in the area.

NOSA: I liked the food at Cut, but I hate the prices. Like Folly said, it's good as a treat. You definitely can't eat all the time regardless of what tax bracket you're in.

FOLLY: Another thing I really liked about the Cut was that if you wanted a glass of wine, you're not limited to one cheap and unknown "house wine", but you can actually order most of their wines by the glass. 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Potato au Gratin - N2000

Daily Surf & Turf - N9000

New York Steak - N14000

Grilled Vegetables - N2000

 

 

PARKING

Underground parking available.

Talindo is the Best Lagos Restaurant You Aren't Going To

Talindo Steakhouse

7B Karimu Kotun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos

0802  365 5880

FOLLY: A little while ago Nosa and I were having a conversation with a gentleman about which restaurant in Lagos he thought was the best, his response was Talindo. After this review, I'm inclined to agree with him. I've always thought that 1415 was the best restaurant in Lagos because they deliver great food and exceptional service. The thing is Talindo also does that too, great food and exceptional service, but at a lower price point albeit in a less nice environment. 

NOSA: The price is really what took me by surprise at Talindo. I didn't expect it to be so...cheap.

And is it really a less nice environment? 

FOLLY: Talindo is "tight" compared to 1415, but then again 1415 is in the lobby and I have a thing against "fine dining in the lobby".

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FOLLY: Our starters were simple, we had the coconut prawns and the involtini di carne. The coconut prawns were as the name implies, the involtini di carne, however, is meat stuffed with zucchini in the most delicious chunky garlicky sauce that Nosa couldn't stop drinking. 

NOSA: That thing was delicious, please, imagine eating with rice and stop fronting. 

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FOLLY: The coconut prawns were decent. I was disappointed that they gave us tiny shrimp, I feel as though these should have been made with larger prawns. The quality of the prawns/shrimps just felt disingenuous to me.

NOSA: The coconut shrimp could've been a lot better.  Not taste wise, but I expected some more, a larger portion, maybe.

FOLLY: On the taste, the coconut is not in any way overwhelming. It's actually a secondary taste that comes after you've bitten into the shrimp. 

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All steak-ed out from the previous day's escapades, Nosa and I opted to split the ribeye and a pasta dish. Small mistake I made was to order the meat to Nosa's specification which is medium rare, I usually go a little north of that with medium. 

NOSA: Probably the best decision you made because the steak was so bloody good.

Tender, juicy, with a little chew, and some pink in the middle. Absolutely perfect. I knew Talindo had great steaks but I didn't expect to be so blown away by the rib eye.

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FOLLY: I chose the rib eye because no other cut of meat has the amount of fat that a rib eye does, and I felt that'll contribute to the flavor. Talindo gave us a very generous 350g of meat and this baby was thick. Sadly, I couldn't really enjoy the steak because it was a bit too rare for me but I had a few bites.

NOSA: Probably because you didn't get a steak knife. Don't blame the meat. 

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FOLLY: Yes, that's definitely why. I didn't like the pinkness of the steak because I didn't have a steak knife. Makes perfect sense. The meat itself didn't disappoint me, I just couldn't eat much of it on account of the rareness. 

NOSA: For our pasta, we got the Penne Pesto. 

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 FOLLY: The color of the pesto initially threw me off because I'm used to it being a lot lighter in color. Notwithstanding the color, it was a delicious pesto pasta. The pesto was rich and thick and pine nuts were toasted and had a nice bite to them. The penne was also a perfect al dente.

NOSA: The penne actually surprised me. I'd have let Talindo slide if the pasta was rubbish considering it's not their forte, but they surprisingly exceeded expectations. Oh, and it's low-key wallet friendly. 

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FOLLY: Best brownie in Lagos and I loved that it's served on a hot plate. Dessert is often overlooked in Nigerian restaurants so I love that Talindo put some pizzaz into the presentation. Also, it's a real brownie and not vanilla cake with Bournvita. 

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NOSA: This is definitely the most snapchat friendly dessert in Lagos. If you weren't already washed by Talindo, the brownie will definitely push you over.

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: Talindo is great for date night and other similar private intimate dinners. 

NOSA: For a place so good, I'm surprised Talindo isn't fully booked every night. Best steak in Lagos...easy. 

 

VERDICT

 

DAMAGE

Penne Pesto - N3800

Rib-eye Steak - N9500

Talindo Brownie - N2800

Coconut Prawns - N3400

Involtini Di Carne - N4500

 

PARKING

Limited parking inside, but street parking is also available.