FOLLY: Cactus is not a new restaurant and so, this is a mini-review of a few items on their most recent menu update. It isn’t a major departure from the menu they relaunched with last year, but it’s important to note that this is actually the third menu the team is releasing since they re-opened in late 2018.
For example, the second menu they released earlier this year removed the Tortellini Truffle Bake that we had in this review, however, it's back in this menu.
NOSA: A decision I strongly disagreed with. I’m glad sense finally prevailed.
FOLLY: Overall, each section of the menu has a maximum of one or two new introductions which are clearly marked. We started with the Summer Rolls. We chose this for two reasons:
Being price sensitive
Our main courses were carb-laden so we decided to balance it out with veggies to start.
NOSA: Yeah, this one wasn’t for me and I knew it.
FOLLY: Nosa struggled greatly because he really wished there was salmon in the Summer Rolls. If someone at Cactus reads this it just may happen on the 4th menu iteration, Nosa.
NOSA: They really need to look into it. Those sushi rolls with mango and avocado have already laid the template for the taste profile. it’s all easy work from here.
I hardly eat cold food that I need to chew because I have very sensitive teeth. This was the reason why I was so upset at my first visit to Salma’s. We ordered a fish dish that I didn’t expect to be cold, so when I put it in my mouth, I nearly lost my mind from the pain and discomfort.
As you’ve probably deduced, the summer rolls were a lot colder than I was comfortable eating.
NOSA: Maybe it’s cold because the summer is hot. You get?
FOLLY: I needed to deconstruct them into smaller pieces so they didn’t hurt my teeth. I really am an old lady. I use Sensodyne and drink with a straw; I’ll see my dentist soon and find out if there’s more I can do.
FOLLY: On arrival of the plate of Summer Rolls, I was disappointed in the presentation because the menu showed the summer rolls vertically on a round plate.
NOSA: Yeah, it looked like it was put together hastily. The chef, or whoever, didn’t seem to care about the instagram picture I wanted to take. I mean, it’s bad enough that I had to settle for the vegetarian option.
FOLLY: Secondly, the person that wrapped the summer rolls just folded them in a heap. Very minimal effort as you can see from the images. The mangos were noticeably absent but otherwise, I appreciated the freshness of all the other vegetables. I felt like I did a good deed to my body in anticipation of the dairy and pasta I was about to consume.
FOLLY: Moving on to the mains. The Mac & Beef was the most Instagrammable thing on the menu so we ordered it.
NOSA: It's almost like they picked it out of a manual to going viral as a restaurant. Very savvy marketing driven approach lol.
FOLLY: For our second main course, the choice was much harder. However, we were certainly not getting a N7200 pizza so once we narrowed down to the Chicken Milestone or the Alfredo Pizza, the choice was much easier.
FOLLY: At this point, I must digress and state categorically that Cactus pizza prices are absolutely RIDICULOUS. La Taverna, PizzaRiah, La Veranda all have their pizza sub N5000 so Cactus is really here WILDIN out.
NOSA: I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but the burger isn't as messy as it looks. The mac is not really "inside". It’s a burger with Mac & Cheese on the side and not a Mac & Cheese burger. Made it very functional and easy to eat.
FOLLY: The Mac & Cheese was good. It’s not a Gourmet Mac & Cheese so it didn’t have all the fixings: blend of cheese, crunchy breadcrumbs on the top with a gooey core, and so on. It had was an epic cheese pull that I wish we caught on Boomerang.
NOSA: Yeah, it’s not some fancy “five cheese” Mac & Cheese, but it gets the job done. The whole thing is very very filling. It’s a proper carb overload.
FOLLY: The burger surprised me because it was a lot more deliberate than I had imagined and not just about the 'gram.
NOSA: That’s the most surprising part of it all. If they messed up the burger, I probably would’ve let them get away with it. But as a standalone, the burger holds up pretty well.
FOLLY: The top and bottom buns of the burger were slathered in a sweet and salty barbecue sauce (let’s call it swalty), the patty was moist, and the amount of Mac & Cheese that was in the burger was just enough for the burger to remain functional. The simplicity also made it just perfect cause anything else (lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc.) in there would have been overkill.
The Chicken Milestone was not IT for us.
NOSA: The less said about it, the better. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s going to happen here.
FOLLY: The pasta side was very very bland. It desperately needed salt and pepper. I honestly think they simply forgot to salt it. It went from a 3/10 to a 6/10 once we added salt and pepper.
NOSA: The Chicken Milestone is pretty much a chicken parm for intents and purposes. Here’s how they describe it in the menu:
Fried breaded chicken breast topped with tomato spicy sauce and mozzarella cheese. Served with a side of Alfredo pasta.
Sounds like chicken parm to me.
FOLLY: The chicken itself was not any better. The spicy chilli tomato sauce tastes exactly like Classico Marinara sauce. I’m talking down to the down to bruised and soggy tomato chunks and the wilting herbs. Don’t take my word for it though, maybe Cactus did make their own and were going for that artificially sweet taste.
NOSA: The tomato sauce tasted very artificial and I refuse to believe it didn’t come out of a jar they bought on a Sunday at Deli’s. The Alfredo needed salt as well, but I guess they leave it up to you to decide how much hypertension you want.
FOLLY: They have three new desserts on their menu that I really wanted to try but I didn’t want to eat any more food. I’m sorry I let y'all down but a big thing about this blog is trying things that we actually want to eat and not just for the sake of it.
From my undocumented experience, Cactus is strong on desserts and sweet treats as I often pop in for just that. I can’t speak for gelato/ice cream, but a few readers felt Cactus was missing in Tobi’s piece here on the best vanilla ice cream in Lagos so that must count for something.
NOSA: It’s still a pretty safe pick for dining out in Lagos.
FOLLY: Honestly speaking, the menu updates are minimal. Cactus is still a Lagos darling and is perfect for families
Summer Rolls - N3500
Mac & Beef Burger - N7200
Chicken Milestone - N6200
Parking spaces are readily available and are adequate for the restaurant’s traffic.