Posts in Travel
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)

santoku-restaurant.com

Eat.Drink.Travel: Urban Grill (Accra)
 
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NOSA: If there’s one thing Accra beats Lagos in, it’s the restaurants. Oh, and their power situation is much better than ours. There might more restaurants in Lagos (larger population, duh) but they have us beat on the quality.

FOLLY: And value for money.

NOSA: Urban Grill is run by the same guys that own Santoku and Coco Lounge. If you’ve been to either, you should know what to expect for the most part.

FOLLY: The space at Urban Grill is just too beautiful. It’s very chic and slightly upscale but you won’t feel out of place if you were dressed down.

NOSA: We had lunch at Urban Grill so just imagine how great it looked with large windows and all the natural light coming in.

FOLLY: The restaurant space feels very open due to the glass windows and a mirrored wall. Greenery isn’t absent in the space completely so much that it feels too “modern”. The green wall in the outdoor bar and the upside down plants help strike a natural balance.

FOLLY: Urban Grill’s strongest points are its bartenders.

NOSA: The drinks are very pretty to look at. Like, every single one we ordered was an instagram-ready picture.

FOLLY: The food is great too but, honestly, there’s better in Accra. The drinks, on the other hand, were fantastic - each one except the pink one that was a tad bit concentrated.

NOSA: To start, I got the Urban Tacos. It read better on the menu than it actually looked. Josper grilled beef, tomato salsa and guacamole. Sounds great, right? Well, it was basically beef stew and an avocado on the side. The worst part of it was how logistically challenging it was to eat. I absolutely wasn’t a fan of it at all. Urban Grill let me down big time. All the highs from the cocktails came crashing down when my plate came. 

FOLLY: My starter was obviously much better than Nosa’s. That yellow thing you’re seeing right there is Gari. The gari was seasoned but because gari is so dry to start with - I don’t believe it can take on any flavour at all in its dry state. It tasted like it was fried with some nondescript spice though. It would have been more impressive if the gari was cooked with highly fragrant spice would have added some oomph to the dish. I think scallops are best cooked simply and not for too long; and these were good. I’d never order scallops in Lagos because I wouldn’t know what to expect so rather safe that sorry.

NOSA: My main was the Linguini Carbonara.

FOLLY: I wish they’d paid more attention to the plating of their pasta because while it tasted good enough. I couldn’t help the sigh of disappointment when I got my plate and thought to myself “this is it ??”

NOSA: It definitely wasn’t nice to look at.

Linguini a la Carbonara

Linguini a la Carbonara

NOSA: Also on the bright side, it tasted much better than it looked. A little bit on the salty side, but definitely delicious. A lot of places don’t get carbonara right in Lagos so I was super enthused that such bad behaviour didn’t follow me across the border.  

FOLLY: My main was the Lobster Spaghetti so they could definitely have incorporate the shell in the plating - you know. In the same breath, I must say I really do appreciate that the lobster meat was removed from the shell - this way I probably got more and didn’t have to fight with my food to eat it.

FOLLY: The pasta looks spicy but it really wasn’t (thankfully) it’s really just tomato with some red chillis which I navigated around. The flavour of the dish rested mainly in the chive flavoured butter that collected at the bottom of the plate - delicious.


RECOMMENDED DISH:  Slow Cooked Short Ribs (GHC 180)

yoloxperiences.com

Eat.Drink.Travel: The Houston Hit List

Our Houston visit wasn't the longest, but we tried our best to cram a lot of deliciousness in a couple days. We got in just in time for Houston Restaurant Week and that was our cue to sample local favorites. 

 

Tacos Tierra Caliente

Our Order

Barbacoa Taco, Pollo Taco, Breakfast Taco.

Verdict

It's just a food truck so don't go there expecting a place to sit, but it'll be the best damn tacos you'll eat in this life. It's on every "Best Taco" list for good reason. The staff don't "have your time" so you can trust us when we say it's good. The barbacoa is absolutely magnificent. Also, make sure you get the green salsa.

Price Range

$


Breakfast Klub

thebreakfastklub.com

Our Order

Chicken & Waffles, The Breakfast Klub

Verdict

We checked this out on a Monday morning and the line for a table shot out the restaurant. The locals clearly love it and it's a Houston brunch staple. Everyone comes for the chicken & waffles and the chicken is indeed heavenly, but the Breakfast Klub sandwich is very underrated.

Damage

$$


Ruggles Black

rugglesblack.com

Our Order

Fried Oysters with Caviar, Crab Poblano Pasta, Paleo Fish & Chips

Verdict

Zagat says it's a combination of Indian, French, and American fare, but that's not really what brought us to Ruggles Black. The big selling point was the very paleo and keto friendly menu. Zoodles? Paleo pizza? And it all tasted oh so good. The paleo lemon cheesecake, in particular, is to die for. 

Damage

$$

rugglesblack.com


Crepeiffel

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Our Order

Casablanca Savoury Crepe

Verdict

This wasn't the greatest if we're being completely honest, but we're adding it here because savoury crepes are a thing and if you're in Houston, you should try some. Do Sweet Paris Cafe instead, however.

Damage

$$

Eat.Drink.Travel: The Los Angeles Hit List

FOLLY: Whenever EDL travels, exploring the cuisine of the new city is definitely a highlight. We've been thinking, for a while, about how best to curate this for our Lagos-focused blog and the idea of the Hit List was born.

NOSA: Each time EDL visits a new city, we'll try out as many spots as possible to create a Hit List for that city so that if you ever found yourself in that city, you'll have a few of our recommendations to start things off with. It's basically a one-post summary of what's hot in the city.

FOLLY: You're welcome.

NOSA: We'll still have the dedicated review posts for really special spots. 

FOLLY: Our first Hit List is for Los Angeles. It was very interesting to visit LA in the weeks following the sad and untimely passing of Jonathan Gold - the LA Times' prolific and Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic. If we'd stayed a few days longer I'd probably have liked to attend the event organized to honor him held at Grand Park. It was a unique memorial in that a number of food trucks were parked around his favorite spots to grab lunch while selected speakers delivered remembrances - how fitting. While we couldn't hit up all of Gold's faves we made sure to have a fave of his, Korean fried chicken, at the very least

 

The Gangjung

Our Order

Original and Hot & Spicy Gangjung, Rice Cake, Sweet Potato, Shack Shack Fries.

Verdict

Two thumbs up. Although after a few bites, the Original Gangjung was sickeningly sweet. The Hot & Spicy is lovely, however.

Price Range

$$


Eggslut

eggslut.com

Our Order

Bacon, Egg & Cheese and the Fairfax

Verdict

You should definitely add bacon to the Fairfax as without it the sandwich is completely homogeneous and it could definitely do with some texture. The Bacon, Egg, & Cheese is safer and if you like your eggs runny, it's the one.

Damage

$


In-N-Out 

Our Order

Cheeseburger Single, Cheeseburger Double, and Animal Style Fries.

Verdict

We prefer Five Guys and so should you. Largely overrated, but you should try it once because it's the tourist thing to do. The locals love In and Out and rightfully so. We would never accept when Ghanaians say their Jollof is better and neither should they. 

PS: Animal Style Fries are a heart attack waiting to happen.

Damage

$


SOCA

soca-la.com

Our Order

Korean Beef Dumplings, Lobster & King Crab Bites, Colossal Tiger Shrimp, Ocean Trout, Peruvian Carne Asada, and 32 oz Prime Tomahawk

Verdict 

The gin bar here puts the very best cocktails in Lagos to shame. The gin cocktails are named by numbers alone and the Number 28 was by certainly Folly's favorite. For the food, the dumplings and the shrimp were a favorites, but the mash that came with the carne asada was particularly lovely.

Damage 

$$$


Rose Cafe

rosecafevenice.com

Our Order

Breakfast Burrito and Avocado & Egg Toast

Verdict

Absolutely perfect for brunch. You absolutely MUST do this one. Mimosas in the outdoor area are the ultimate mood. Rose Cafe is also prime for celeb spotting - if that's your thing.

Damage

$$


Salt & Straw

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saltandstraw.com

Our Order

Almond Brittle with Salted Caramel Ganache

Review 

There was an avocado flavor and another with black olives, but we ordered the Almond Brittle with Salted Caramel Ganache. The Nigerian definitely jumped out. Still, it's very very worth it. 

Damage

$

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