Lessons in Nigerian Chinese
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"
"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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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