Posts tagged sushi
Eat.Drink.Travel: Santoku (Accra)
 

NOSA: On our last couple trips to Accra, we’ve found some way to miss out on Santoku. Crazy because if you’re visiting Accra and you’re not checking out Santoku, you’re clearly doing Accra wrong. Easily the best Japanese restaurant in the region.

Yes, a sweeping statement.

FOLLY: You will deal.

NOSA: On a serious note, Santoku should be right at the top of your Accra Hit List.

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FOLLY: I sometimes wonder how a Nigerian girl like me, came to loving mushrooms after a protracted period of saying “eww what are those”. It could also be said that I’m simply making up for lost time.

The Shimeji Mushrooms are described as “Japanese mushrooms in butter and soya sauce with spring onion, truffle oil & kinoko sauce”.

In spite of my love for mushrooms, I’d admit I was a bit overwhelmed when I first received a bowl full of mushrooms. I got over it after the first taste and I inhaled the mushrooms as fast I could, and even used the spoon to eat the last bits of the “mushroom butter” because it was incredibly tasty. The flavour is simple in that it’s very buttery immediately, but it becomes more complex and you get hints of the soya and the truffle oil as you eat it.

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NOSA: Izangi’s take on the Tuna Tataki is one of my favourite things on their menu so I decided to give Santoku’s a go. It came in a Japanese mustard sauce that was begging to be in a sandwich.

FOLLY: I don’t really like tuna but Nosa always orders it - I guess he likes it or something. I’ve actually never asked - I should.

NOSA: Folly is razz and she doesn't appreciate good things.

FOLLY: If I barely like cooked tuna, then rare tuna is totes not for me. That said, it didn’t smell fishy or taste horrible, but I’ll probably pass on it next time - like I do all tuna.

NOSA: Behind salmon, tuna is the most elite fish. Don’t let all that canned tuna they forced you to eat as a child mess with tuna’s elite-ness.

Anyway, our final starter was Pork Belly, which we literally begged them to make because it wasn’t on the night’s menu. The begging was absolutely worth it. The pork belly is stupendously good. So good that we considered stopping by again on our way to the airport for a to-go plate. Get this pork belly and the mustard from the tuna tataki in a bao bun, and you’ll probably have the most delicious sandwich you’ll ever put in your mouth.

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FOLLY: We shared a main which was recommended to us by our server Red Snapper & Black Fried Rice. I don’t think Nosa appreciated how well the fish was cooked.

NOSA: I’m not going to say I didn’t appreciate it, but it was fried FRIED.

FOLLY: The outside (the skin) was dry and crispy and then the moisture from chewing releases all the dried flavours - basically it was really good. And then the inside was still flaky and so moist and tasted oh so amazing with the accompanying chilli sauce… Nosa just doesn’t understand.

FOLLY: The rice was exciting to me mainly because of the colour. Gochujang sauce, which is the first ingredient listed, is a spicy sauce that can also be made with sugar.

Gochujang or red chili paste is a savory, sweet, and spicy fermented condiment made from chili powder, glutinous rice, meju powder, yeotgireum, and salt. The sweetness comes from the starch of cooked glutinous rice, cultured with saccharifying enzymes during the fermentation process
— Wikipedia

FOLLY: Santoku’s definitely had sugar as the Black Fried Rice leaned heavily on the sweet side. However, with the fish leaning to the spicy side it worked out perfectly.

NOSA: I was a bigger fan of the rice than I was of the fish, but not sure if I was more fascinated by it or I actually found it delicious.

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FOLLY: That white fish roll was a mistake I wouldn’t make again. It was very rare and very bland. The salmon hand roll on the other hand was great with a popping orange salmon that good salmon should have.

NOSA: The Lobster Maki was my favourite of the lot. The rest of it was passable. Not saying it was bad or anything, but everything just paled in comparison to the pork belly.

FOLLY: I really really liked the cheesecake. I don’t think I can type enough really’s to describe how much I did. It was so milky and creamy (the matcha came through). Honestly, creamy and milky are not words I should use to describe anything I’m eating because of my condition (lactose intolerant) but I didn’t eat it all by myself, we all shared dessert family style 😊


Recommended Dish: Pork Belly (GHC 75)

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Izanagi as a Model of Consistency
 

NOSA: We visited Izanagi over the weekend because our original review felt a bit dated.

FOLLY: We also tried to visit a new “superfood/juice bar” but the staff on duty didn’t have ingredients to make most things on their menu so we decided to walk out before we’d regret everything.

NOSA: The pictures from our old Izanagi post were taken on my old iPhone 6 so they aren’t popping like. EDL has “bought” me an X now so a revisit was definitely due. (PS: Please help me convince Folly to sanction an Xs Max so we can take more popping pictures)

FOLLY: I don’t recall EDL buying you an iPhone X, so if you did so that’s misappropriation also theft and you’re going to pay it back. Yeah, our camera lens has recently “given up the ghost” so we only have Nosa’s iPhone X for pictures now.

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NOSA: To start, we got the Krispy Rock Shrimp. Just a couple steps away from our normal Bang Bang Mushrooms. Basically tempura shrimp tossed in soca sauce, rock shrimp is a fixture in most pan-Asian menus. Izanagi’s take on it was a little disappointing. You might call it “dull”, in fact. Soca sauce is supposed to pack a little heat, it’s Caribbean after all, but the one at Izanagi had no such heat. I mean, I ate it all, but it was still disappointing.

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FOLLY: I didn’t read the menu description because Nosa spotted this and ordered it. If I had read it I may have found it disappoint like Nosa did if I knew it was supposed to be spicy - I didn’t. I found it crispy for sure, and the dressing was more tangy than spicy. There was definitely lemon in there. I didn’t find it dull but it wasn’t impressionable. If you’ve ever tried it, you’d know the Bang Bang Mushrooms at Izanagi are very impressionable and is one of those items you’d already mentally plan to order on your next visit.

NOSA: Folly went with the Spicy Beef Ramen. Ramen is really just fancy Indomie. You are not going to change my mind. It’s my phillistine hot take and I’ll go to the grave with that. This and “Fela is overrated” are two positions I’m never backing down from.

FOLLY: If I recall at Metisse, you were quite excited to order the Pho, so what exactly is the difference with Ramen? If you like ramen, you’d definitely enjoy this. I don’t know how many spots in Lagos serve ramen but this was excellent. I worry about ordering these broth noodle dishes because I sometimes find the broths tasteless, thankfully this wasn't. I also loved that the beef was not over cooked - you could still see the pink spots in between the slices.

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NOSA: Because I don’t play that Indomie stuff, I got the Norwegian Roll (Unagi, Crabsticks, Salmon Skin and Salmon Teriyaki Sauce). This is my new favorite roll at Izanagi. Over the the Izanagi Dragon.

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NOSA: Maki rolls always get a bad wrap from the purists because it’s not “authentic”. You know, like Kung Pao Chicken and Chinese food. That’s their business abeg, I like what I like. Maki rolls are a fantastic way to get into sushi. If you’ve ever been wary about getting into sushi, maki rolls are a great way to get into it. Start with something as basic as the California Roll and work your way up.

NOSA: Whenever we visit Izanagi, the order is usually the same. Maybe we spice it up with a new maki roll, but it’s always the standard “starter + roll”.

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FOLLY: I mean, everyone already knows the sushi and maki at Izanagi are great so I felt that we should delve into other aspects of their menu. For what it’s worth, I think Izanagi is a fantastic date night spot and is also great for the above 40s crowd because they have the pockets to afford it.

NOSA: We decided to be a bit more adventurous this time so we ordered the Temaki. Temaki is hand rolled, often conelike, sushi. Rolled in seaweed, aka nori, and stuffed with rice, Temaki looks like a funky ice cream cone. We went with the Tempura Hand Roll (Ebi Tempura, Cucumber and Garlic Mayo) and the Crispy Spicy Salmon (Spicy Salmon, Tobiko, Tempura Crisp and Mayo).

NOSA: I really don’t think you’re meant to eat it with your hands, but that’s what I did.

FOLLY: We didn’t have any cutlery apart from chopsticks so we couldn’t even slice it.

NOSA: I held it like a little Japanese taco and stuffed it in the mouth. Pause. There’s no way chopsticks would work with this, but I’m a noob so maybe it’s me.

FOLLY: The Temaki was very delicious. You’d think that because of all the rice that this would be tedious. First of all the rice is sticky thus making it taste a bit nice but the seaweed balances out the volume of the rice and then the fish also helps to make everything taste less monotonous.

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NOSA: For such a little thing, it’s plenty expensive. If I made a little more than I currently do, this would probably be my thing. As an upwardly mobile (read: money is no too dey like that) millennial, this can’t click as a regular thing unfortunately. “Broke with expensive taste “is really what I am, word to Azealia Banks.

The Crispy Spicy Salmon was super delicious. There’s a lot of rice, but you don’t really notice it because the salmon and the nori swallow it all up. For a split second, I wondered why I’d never ordered the temaki before. Oh right, it’s 3k for a single roll. Makes sense.

Izanagi is still my favorite sushi spot in Lagos. They’ve really been so consistent over the years. The Izanagi Dragon, for instance, has tasted the same way every single time I’ve ordered it since 2015. You really don’t get that level of consistency from Lagos restaurants.

FOLLY: It’s that Japanese accuracy from the sushi chefs.

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: 10/10. Would recommend.

FOLLY: If it wasn’t so expensive, it'll be one of my favourite restaurants in Lagos but sadly it’s firmly out of my league price wise.

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Norwegian Roll - N6200

Chilli Beef Ramen - N8500

Tempura Hand Roll - N3300

Crispy Rock Shrimps - N7000

Crispy Spicy Salmon - N3300

Tempura Cheese Cake - N3900

 

PARKING

Not a lot. Maybe 3 or 4. Ripe for extortion.

Sushiholic, Lekki’s First “Japanese Restaurant”, is FINALLY Open
 

NOSA: After “months” of Instagram teasing, Sushiholic finally opened shop. They really made a lot of noise about being the first sushi bar in Lekki so we’ve had them on our to-do for a minute now. When the initial launch date got moved forward, I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect much from the place - blame that on my Lagos restaurant paranoia.

FOLLY: I was seriously convinced that maybe their chef didn't get visa so they had to postpone the opening. 

NOSA: Sushiholic is a bit different from your typical sushi experience in Lagos. It’s no Izanagi, or even Fusion. It’s very… fast food. Think Tantalizers, but for sushi.

FOLLY: Haba! Tantalizer is a bit too far down now. It's not like Tantalizers AT ALL.

NOSA: I’m not referring to the food here, but the atmosphere. When you walk into a NOK or an RSVP, those spaces give off a significantly different vibe than when you walk into a Tantalizers. Industry people call them Quick Service Restaurants (QSR). Sushiholic is a “Sushi QSR”. Lagos’ very own YO! Sushi.

FOLLY: That I can co-sign definitely, a sushi QSR, but definitely not Tantalizers but for sushi.

NOSA: The first person you see when you walk into Sushiholic is the Asian chef. Authenticity, I guess. He might even comfort you a bit. You would be forgiven for thinking the chef is Japanese, but he’s actually Filipino. If you do go to Sushiholic, you should definitely sit by the sushi bar with Chef Jun. Watching him make your roll is definitely something you want get on your snapchat. The guy is masterful at it.

FOLLY: He did everything so casually and was also quite anal about cleanliness. Or was it eye-service but he made a concerted effort to clean and wipe everything as he went along. 

Royal Set

Royal Set

NOSA: I may be speaking from limited “sitting by sushi bar” experience, but I’ve made sushi before. Tried making a couple of rolls during an International student thing in college and it was hard as hell. Watching this guy knock out our large order in 5 minutes absolutely blew my mind. 

FOLLY: I wouldn't normally order any of these platters at a sushi restaurant, I prefer to be a bit more involved in the selection process but I was pretty exhausted and hungry so I managed to convince Nosa into ordering a platter. He kept asking if I was sure and I could tell he wasn't that into the idea.

NOSA: We ordered The Royal Set. 6 different rolls of 4 pieces each: 

  • Sesame California Roll
  • Tobiko California Roll
  • Tobiko Naked Salmon Roll
  • Tobiko Crazy
  • Crazy Crispy
  • Crispy Crazy Salmon

FOLLY: I wasn't even very detail oriented in the selection of the platter, I just wanted one that had at least one tobiko roll and salmon roll. 

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NOSA: Sushi might be a Japanese thing, but “crazy rolls” are of American origin. Only one country is capable of producing such gratuitous mayo laden rolls of deliciousness. Ordering a crazy roll is probably ultimate faux pas to sushi purists, but Eat.Drink.Lagos has never been about purists or the establishment.

FOLLY: Nosa doesn't even like real sushi, maki rolls all the way.

NOSA: Crazy rolls are delicious and I’ll be damned if anyone takes them away from me. The crazy rolls at Sushiholic are no different. Utterly delicious. What didn’t whelm me enough was the California rolls. I normally wouldn’t order a California roll because even I think I’m better than that but it came with set and you can’t switch it out.

FOLLY: Neither would I, but the sesame california roll was oddly enough my favourite. The entire exterior was totally covered with sesame seeds and I loved the texture it added to the roll.

NOSA: I’d complain about the lack of structural integrity, but I dunked it in soy sauce so it’s my fault it completely disintegrated.

FOLLY: I think what actually happened was that you accidentally dropped it splattered.

NOSA: On the bright side, the rice didn’t taste like soap, which is something I’ve experience with sushi in Lagos. 

Salmon Dragon

Salmon Dragon

Next up, we ordered the Salmon Dragon. For the price we paid, it wasn’t worth it. Dragon rolls are the sushi bar version of the upsell, they’ll almost always disappoint you.

FOLLY: Like it did me. I was most disappointed because the tempura shrimp on the inside tasted like imitation shrimp which is unusual for tempura as imitation crab/shrimp is more common in plain maki rolls and not tempura.

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NOSA: They look shiny on the menu to reel you in. Don’t fall for it. 

Moving on, my favorite maki roll on the day was our final one - the Lekki Peninsula. 

Lekki Peninsula Roll

Lekki Peninsula Roll

Smoked Salmon. Cream Cheese. Avocado. Lemon.

FOLLY: I googled it and found out that this roll exists in quite a few variations. I was so surpised with how generous the chef was with the smoked salmon. He first put a big chunk and I was like wow, and then he cut off another piece of comparable size and added to it. Then he wrapped it in smoked salmon (at least the top half)

NOSA: If you love smoked salmon, you should definitely order this. It generally doesn’t sound like much, but it was so so delicious. I also didn’t expect to like a roll with lemon in it, but here I am singing its praises. 

FOLLY: The rolls itself tastes very different dependent on whether you dip it in soy sauce or not. You totally lose the tartness of the lemon if you do, and the cream cheese also "disappears" tastewise. I preferred it plain, if you do go, you should try it both ways.

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: By virtue of having no competition, Sushiholic is the best sushi spot in Lagos lol. Jokes aside, I’d definitely go again. It’s no Izanagi but it’s firmly on the same level as Fusion

FOLLY: I live in Lekki, it's totally convenient to pick up on my home.

NOSA: Oh, they deliver too!

VERDICT

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DAMAGE

Royal Set - N15000

Salmon Dragon - N8000

Lekki Peninsula - N3500

 

PARKING

Decent. Can take 5/6 cars.

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

Nigerians Try Sushi For The First Time

FOLLY: This was easily the most fun video that we ever shot. It was also so smooth from a logistics standpoint because the EDL Studio is fully set up. Nosa and I are still learning the work in terms of being YouTubers but it'd definitely a fun adventure. Video bloggers clearly have all the fun. 

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That said, we put a call out on Twitter for Nigerians who have never tried sushi before and the feedback was overwhelming.

Of course, there were some people who had definitely tried sushi before who were pretending slash lying and we got a lot of questions asking how we'd know.

 

It's not foolproof but we are able to tell genuine from ingenuine. We sent invitations to some people who were ingenuine but they eventually fessed up because of how the invitation was worded. Reverse psychology at play there. 

Thanks to our lovely readers (I don't know if they want to be named) who volunteered to face their fears and try "raw fish".