Posts tagged tapas
The Garden at Nok Is Nothing Short of Perfect

Nok by Alara

12 Akin Olugbade Street, Victoria Island, Lagos

0908 561 4815

FOLLY: The garden menu is Nok by Alara’s latest menu. One thing I love about Nok by Alara is that you can go there several times and always find something new and exciting to try because they have 4 different menus – lunch, dinner, brunch and garden.

NOSA: I can never really explain why I love Nok to other people, but I think this is a big part of it.  

FOLLY: Although there are two of the four menus that do nothing for me, I really do appreciate the diversity and the attention to detail that understands that people want to eat different things at times and in different environments.

NOSA: Exactly. It might not always hit, but the amount of thought put into Nok is commendable. 

FOLLY: For at least a year, the dinner menu was my favorite at Nok but it now appears that the garden menu has come hard and fast for that special place in my heart.

NOSA: The lunch was my favorite until this.

FOLLY: Nosa was running late, and so I took the liberty of ordering for both of us.

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FOLLY: We ordered the Hummus with Suya (beef), BBQ Beef Ribs, Jerk Chicken Wings, Grilled Corn on the Cob, Goat Sliders.

Yeah, it’s a lot but it was just the right amount of food.

NOSA: The menu is very tapas-y. A bit like the RSVP Poolside menu and what Ginger Tapas tried to pull off.

A bit of an aside, as far as I'm concerned, tapas = dim sum = small chops. 

Why on earth hasn't someone started a restaurant strictly for small chops? 

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FOLLY: In summary, I loved everything that we ate at NOK, every single thing. I have no faults to pick at, except maybe the small portion of the naan and the incessant flies but that was all.

NOSA: My favorite thing about Nok is how alte everything is.

I wouldn't have complained about regular hummus, but getting yaji involved? That just took it to another level. I felt like Chris Rock at the end of Kanye's Blame Game.

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FOLLY: Same with the corn on the cob, they didn't just grill it. They made it a bit sticky and added sesame seeds. 

NOSA: Might sound like an exaggeration, but Nok Garden was excellent. 

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FOLLY: Starting with the BBQ beef ribs, this was the first time I had beef ribs in Lagos that weren’t a struggle to eat.

NOSA: It's really hard to find beef ribs in Lagos. It's even harder to find quality beef ribs in Lagos.

FOLLY: Granted, these were mostly boneless but even those pieces that were not, I wasn't haggling with the bone to release my meat.

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The cornbread, I can’t really put into words. If regular cornbread bores you, Alara’s spicy cornbread will change that.

NOSA: It'll change your life entirely

FOLLY: Also don’t judge cornbread based on what Smokey Bones serves cause [redacted], just don’t until you’ve tried it elsewhere

NOSA: I'm not redacting anything abeg. the cornbread at Nok is infinitely better than what Smokey Bones serves. This is like going from a '99 Camry to a '16 Bentley. The gulf in quality is so evident.

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FOLLY: The jerk chicken wings could have been thicker, but the flavor was divine and wasn’t just on the skin.

NOSA: The wings were not memorable for me, but it's not because they weren't any good. They were pretty damn good, but the other items we got were just so much better.

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NOSA: The goat meat sliders were the real star of the show for me. 

FOLLY: The two-bite portion stole my heart.

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 NOSA: Most people will hate the portion, but this didn't bother me in the slightest. The goat patty was as tender as it gets. The guac...the bun....

FOLLY: ... the caramelized onion, and just enough cheese. 

NOSA: Everything was just so delicious. This would never work as a proper burger, but as a slider, it's excellent.

FOLLY: Oh how could I forget the cocktails, as a true Lagos gal, I had the Gidi Scent (rum, scent leaf, lime juice, ginger and lemonade) and the Lagosians (Cointreau, brandy, strawberry, lime).

Both were good, but the Lagosians was the bomb. Sweet and subtly strong (aka you shouldn't feel like you're drinking the liquor straight) as a cocktail should be, in my humble opinion. 

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: This might read to you as a love letter to Nok and someone might say this review was bought and I don’t care cause I just want Nok Garden to come and take all my monies because it’s really, really good food. 

NOSA: I've had a bit of Nok fatigue lately, but with the garden menu, I'm back like the prodigal son. Right now, at this very moment, Nok is my favorite restaurant in Lagos

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Goat Sliders - N2000

Nok BBQ Beef RIbs - N2500

Hummus with Suya - N2000

Jerk Chicken Wings - N3000

Grilled Corn on the Cob - N600

 

 

PARKING

Both off street parking and street parking are available. 

Tex Mex in Lekki

La Taverna Lekki

Freedom Way, 3rd Roundabout, Ikate Lekki, Lagos

0817 596 4775. 0817 596 4738

FOLLY: To start, I'm going to tell the story of how our delightful waitress, her bartender, and chef tried to take me for a mug. It's Nigeria and naturally, the POS wasn't working, so we had to go to an ATM to get cash. We asked them to bring change and again naturally, they all said they don't have change. I mean, sure, I could have parted with the N400 and dashed them but they were all insistent that even from their own personal money they have no change to lend the restaurant.

I said okay, and we went to the ATM and I gave the waitress N16000 because I told her I wasn't dashing her N400, and we drove her back to the restaurant to drop her. The babe legit looked like she was about to cry because I said I wasn't giving her the money and it came down to whether she'd have to top up the money with her own N600 or find the N400 change. So, in she went back into the restaurant to look for my damn change and emerged with exactly N400 in N100 naira notes. Sure, it was N400 but the principle. And before anyone asks why I didn't just tip her with the N400, no. 

That said, La Taverna opened a sister restaurant in Lekki that serves a simple tex-mex tapas menu and we went to check it out so we could tell y'all about it. 

NOSA: Thanks to our Lunch Clubs and that CNN feature, a couple of restaurant owners know who we are. As a result, they’re always so super willing to share restaurant gossip or their plans with us, which is kinda cool. 

Related because a couple months ago, Chef Cristian, the head chef/owner of La Taverna, told us he was opening a Tex-Mex restaurant in Lekki. I didn’t (and still don’t) think the market is big enough, but he already owned the property so why not, eh?

The decor is absolutely amazing. It has this very rustic feel to it, from the tables to the walls. It’s how I imagine a bar in some place like Laredo would look like. 

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FOLLY: We started with drinks. A mojito for me and a margarita for Nosa. 

NOSA: My margarita wasn't that good so I'd rather not dwell on it.

FOLLY: Not my first time having this mojito and so I knew it was very good before I ordered it. The margarita is not very good. I also know this from previous experience and so I didn't order it. Nosa, on the other hand, doesn't learn. 

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FOLLY: The mojito would be better if the mint leaves weren't shredded as fine as the leaves in ewedu are, cause then I wouldn't have to be slyly removing leaves from my mouth.

NOSA: The menu is more tapas than actual food. Heavy on the shared plates and all that, just like Ginger Tapas. 

FOLLY: We got quite a nice spread - Chicken Quesadillas. Wings. Chips Bowl. Guacamole & Nachos. Empanadas

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NOSA: We ordered the bowl of chips, which we assumed would be tortilla chips and not cheesy fries. 

FOLLY: This was disappointing and I didn't even like the type of cheese they used. 

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FOLLY: My favourite thing was by far the chicken wings. I ate more than half of them I think Nosa only got three. Oops. 

NOSA: The wings were pretty delicious. They had this sweet kick to it but I can’t quite place my finger on what exactly it was. 

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FOLLY: Next for me was the quesadilla which was really good. It had all the right fillings (no sweetcorn, side eye to some Instagram vendors). 

NOSA: A lot of places try and fail with the quesadillas in Lagos, so I definitely have to give La Taverna props for theirs. 

FOLLY: Props for their guac too. 

FOLLY: The chips were not really nachos but I like how fresh and homemade there were and if anything, I can appreciate them for that.

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NOSA:  Yeah, the nachos and guacamole had no nachos so the menu told some lies. It was basically chips and guac. I’m not the biggest fan of the chips at Taverna. It’s not bad per se, but it’s just not what I want out of a tortilla chip. If you’ve ever had a Taco salad in a tortilla bowl, the chips are very much like the actual tortilla bowl. 

FOLLY: Exactly, and I like them for being that kind of chips, though not a nacho. 

NOSA: Speaking of chips, the tortilla chips at Cafe Royale are surprisingly my favorite chips in Lagos. Shocking, I know. 

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FOLLY: The empanadas were pretty authentic and weren't meat pie. The key difference is that empanadas have a thin and crispy crust as opposed to meat pie which (should) have a thick and flaky crust. 

NOSA: They remind me of the time I tried to make meatpie when I was little and didn't get it right. Maybe I made an empanada, you know?

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: Along with HSE Gourmet Cuisine, definitely a very welcome addition to the Lekki restaurant scene. 

NOSA: I like it, but I think the drinks could be a lot better. Especially that margarita. But as far as the food goes, it's pretty solid. 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Mojito - N1800

Wings - N2800

Margarita - N1800

Chips Bowl - N2500

Empanadas - N2200

Quesadillas - N3000

Guacamole & Nachos - N2500

 

 

PARKING

Yes, in front of the restaurant. 

The Best Thing I Ate Since...

Crossroads

12724 Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos

01 277 2700

FOLLY: Last night I had the best meal I have had in Lagos since I went to 1415 for Nosa's birthday back in February. Listen, I had so much gladness in my heart. 

NOSA: She's not even exaggerating. She liked it so much that she bumped the post we were originally supposed to put up today.

FOLLY: We found Crossroads in August when we were "touring" Eko Hotel for a Lunch Club restaurant. Yes, touring because we popped into three of their restaurants that day. Then, one of the managers wanted to show us the new restaurant that was opening soon - Crossroads. He also told us they will be testing their menu with free food and drinks that evening. 

NOSA: The free tapas deal was supposed to last till their official launch next month LOL. Man must have underestimated how much Nigerians love awoof.

Error.

Anyway, we got the Chips & Guacamole to start.

Now, these are real chips. Not whatever it is Bottles claims to serve. No shade. The guacamole was fire too.

So far, so good. I really wanted to test their skills so for my main, I ordered the Chicken Burrito

Passed the eyeball test easily. 

Taste test too. I really liked it. Let me put my burrito snob hat on for a second. The burrito is Cali Mexican good, but not Texas Mexican good. That's not a bad thing though because you won't find Mexican food as good as the spots in Texas. Maybe in Mexico, but Texas and Mexico are more or less the same thing at this point. Ask Donald Trump.

What really blew me was the fact they had actual refried beans in thing.

FOLLY: I have no idea what refried beans are

NOSA: When I got a burrito from Bungalows, the rice was on the side and it had no beans so this one impressed me.

FOLLY: I have been craving fish tacos since one Instagram model I went to college with posted mahi-mahi tacos with the caption "pool side in Vegas" on Instagram. Her Instagram is the biggest wash but I will never unfollow her because I'm so sure she's going to become a basketball wife and protect her Instagram. Listen, she already hangs out with some of them, and she recently she got a boob-job and deleted all her pre pictures. Can't fool me though because we sat next to each other for a whole term in Sociology of Law, flourish sha.

Huge segue aside, I had to get the Tacos Baja (Fish Tacos) when I saw it on the menu here. 

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NOSA: These were REALLY good. 

FOLLY: There's not really much I can say about the fish tacos that the word perfect doesn't describe. The fish was gently battered and fried, and was so flaky. I also got a side of spicy coleslaw which was also really good.

It had a spicy kick and also had hints of pineapple in it.

NOSA: I hate every type of fruit, but even I appreciated the pineapple in the slaw. 

FOLLY: When I say spicy, I don't mean asun peppery oh, the fire was very very small. 

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Duh! We couldn't review a mexican place without getting a margarita. I got the classic one and not one of the other fancy ones (next time though) as I really wasn't interested in drinking and just wanted to do a taste test. 

I liked the margarita, it wasn't overly strong like the first one I had here when they weren't fully open yet. It really reminded me of the margaritas at Guadalajara - the dingiest Mexican restaurant that I ever knew. 

NOSA: Oh, they have a Coronita, but with Star instead. A Star-rita perhaps. I have to check it out next time I'm here.

Beer Margarita

 

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: I love the space at Crossroads. It is a large hollow rectangle and the bartenders are all in the centre. Nosa's panoramas kept getting messed up so you really have to rely on your imagination or go there yourself. 

NOSA: Finally we have a decent Tex-Mex spot in Lagos. FINALLY. Not like I haven't been crying out for it anything. The cocktails are a bit on the pricey side so I can't really OD in that regard, but the food is decently priced. I'll definitely be here again. I'll probably come here solo a lot. 

FOLLY: Solo rocks is highly frowned upon by me. 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Frozen Classic Margarita - N2000

Guacamole - N2000

Grilled Chicken Burrito - N2800

Baja Tacos - N2800


You Asked and We Listened

This restaurant has closed down

Ginger Tapas n' Grill

Ologun Agbaje Street, Victoria Island, Lagos

0818 781 3511

FOLLY: So we went to Ginger Tapas way back when no one used to read this blog. We thought it was so-so, and haven't been back since. A reader left a comment last week and suggested we check it out again, and Nosa was all in but I wasn't.

I tried to dodge but Nosa is persistent and he'll just keep suggesting it till you're out of excuses. 

NOSA: Well, I always felt like never gave Ginger Tapas the benefit of doubt. That whole "hair in guacamole" thing could've been a freak occurrence. 

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FOLLY: Not having much interest in this adventure, I let Nosa order for us when we got there. He ordered the Ginger Q Chicken , Patatas Bravas, and Honeysuckle BBQ Ribs. Oh we tried to get Chips & Guac but the Chef said the avocados weren't ripe enough, thoughtful of him, no? Ripe avocados would have been nice though.

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NOSA: We ordered the Ginger Q, which I'm so sure is the BBQ chicken at Ginger Tapas. That thing isn't BBQ

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FOLLY: The Ginger Q chicken was nice, but wasn't what was described on the menu.

NOSA: The chicken tastes like chicken suya from Buka Hut. 

ginger tapas patatas bravas

FOLLY: The Patatas Bravas were potato cubes sauteed in palm oil. Again the menu didn't describe these as such. If it did, we for sure wouldn't have ordered them. I can buy this on the road for a fifth of the cost or go home and DIY it for even way less.

NOSA: The dip was a little disappointing, I don't know what I was expecting, but this wasn't it. The palm oil potatoes were strangely endearing. Like, in my head I'd go, "this is the last one" and somehow I'd take another. 

FOLLY: There was also one flavour I couldn't quite place my finger on in this, it might have been cinnamon. 

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FOLLY: The Ribs were by far the best item we got and they were also as described on the menu which was a relief.

NOSA: The ribs were so tender. Not "fall off the bone", but really tender. Might be the second best in Lagos, right after BBQ & Cravings.

FOLLY: Obviously with tapas, you expect the portion sizes to be smaller but I felt like at least a fourth rib would have made this plate complete. ps. If we're keeping tabs, worst ribs so far would be at Zenith Water Margin.

NOSA: Abeg abeg, don't give me that "tapas" thing. They're mad stingy with these ribs. At N3000, this comes out to N1000/rib. You can buy one chicken+beef+sausage shawarma from Best. You can't sell me on the quality either, for the same price you get more quantity AND quality at BBQ & Cravings.

FOLLY: All facts.

POSTSCRIPT

FOLLY: Ginger Tapas is a good restaurant. It's just not a place I'll ever go to when I'm hungry because you'll have to spend a lot of money to get a decent amount of food, which is not the point of tapas. It's perfect if you're going out as a group and the point of the meet-up is to socialize and NOT to eat, in that case you can just order a bunch of tapas to complement your conversation. 

DAMAGE

Honey Suckle BBQ Ribs - N3000

Ginger Q - N1600

Patatas Bravas - N1500