Drink Lagos: House Cafe
This weekend, we went to The House Café and despite its opulence in structure and ambience, we were shocked to have our drinks served with Heineken coasters, err eww. Did this have anything to do with the Lagos Fashion Week? No idea but it was razz.
We tried, severally, to let the waitress know we wanted to see the mixologist but she didn’t really understand our request. We weren’t sure if it was the pronunciation or tempo until we found out she was Cameroonian with a sharp French accent who just moved here.
Folarin ordered the Cool Lava; made with cognac, maraschino liqueur, cranberry juice and cinnamon powder. Bruh! The universe came through and proved that he maybe picks okay drinks when he’s not as grumpy. I loved it, maybe a little more than Folarin did and that’s okay, I generally value things that belong to other people.
Folarin was upset we had to chair another interrogation committee with the mixologist in order to get clarity because the menu didn’t include all the ingredients. We pretty much had to play the guessing game throughout, I mean its fun sometimes but infuriating when you’re just in a mood for a drink and not play!
I don’t remember who came up with what, but this is what I found in my notes for the Cool Lava.
Cough syrup. But good cough syrup.
Probably me, I compare my hatred for things with cough syrup.
The sweet and sour influence is a bit too much in the cognac cause citrus.
Might be Folarin as he despises citrus!
It doesn’t feel like you can taste the cognac till you get to the bottom.
Folarin, it was his drink so had enough time to linger
But if you don’t mind the almost nauseating taste of cough syrup then you’re fine.
Probs me. RE: Cough syrup
Cool Lava was actually delicious and the reason we came up with short notes is because we didn’t quite get the palate. I mean the cinnamon at the rim of the glass was a nice touch. This also doesn’t change our fondness for the drink because it was pretty solid. Although, if you consume in gulps it becomes tiresome, which is very common with fragrant cocktails.
By the way, the bartender shaded our individual heights with the cocktail. When I asked which was which, he sharply responded; “you’re the short one, he’s the tall one”. This chap insinuated that the drinks were somewhat indicative of our height difference.
Folarin kept asking questions because, trust issues. Temple Mount claimed to have – whisky, fresh strawberries and crème de mure. Now, whisky generally has a golden/brownish tone; fresh strawberries would mean it was probably muddled into the drink therefore adding a somewhat pink hue and the crème de mure with its vibrant berry-like colour. This should give us a Temple Mount with quite concentrated liqueur (because whisky) and a deep plum shade. Instead the drink came in layers of colours with a lot of white transparency going on, then whisky, crème de cassis and sliced strawberries layered at the bottom. Yup, we also found out the crème de cassis was used in place of mure, but because they’re similar we decided not complain too much.
Somewhat fun fact: crème de mure is a devised blackberry liqueur very much like crème de cassis. Mure is derived from blackberries, while cassis from blackcurrants
“You never know what’s in your drink till you interrogate these bar men”, Folarin wailed. He was also suspicious that they loosened the drink with a mixer, which the mixologist later confirmed was sour mix.
Taste wise sha, I liked it.
Folarin thought they could do better. He could taste something fragrant like arak (probably the crème de cassis), and felt it was mixed quite well, enough not to taste the alcohol. Is that a good or bad thing though? I mean, are cocktails meant to be deceitful juicy bastards that catch you unexpectedly and knock you out? Or are they meant to be hard core bastards that instantly hit you with an explosion of mystery ingredients bubbling in your mouth? Beats me.
It’s a feel good cocktail like all those Adam Sandler movies you know you shouldn’t be watching but keep replaying because life is stressful and a little escapism isn’t such a bad thing.
Our last drink was the Art of Hour; made with gin, passionfruit syrup, fresh chilli and cucumber essence, it came to frustrate my grumpy friend with copious amounts of pepper in his glass. So this guy can’t stand pepper (probably black pepper as well) and kept lamenting, “FFS, why are we drinking pepper?” The bartender mentioned that this was actually one of the most ordered and loved cocktails on the menu. Folarin would later conclude that the reason people are typically mad in this part of the world is due to their overdependence on pepper.
And I agree even though I liked the cocktail, it was citrusy, savoury as well, due to the cucumber essence that had a slight bitterness too, although not in a nasty way. There was this instant kick from the pepper, I wonder if they used dried pepper as we couldn’t find particles. But then fresh pepper just sounds wild. And this cocktail was wild!
It wasn’t just ginger spicy o, but actual ofada spicy. It was bliss because pepper usually clears up my digestive tract. Or maybe that’s how I’ve been conditioned. Who knows? Folarin couldn’t taste the fruit, just pepper and restricted himself from indulging. It’s like one of those weight loss-smoothie-thingies, but for pretentious alcoholics. I have no doubts about the healing elements of this drink lol it felt like antibiotics. Even though where 2 or 3 Nigerians are gathered, there’s certainly pepper in their midst.
A note to bars for spicy cocktails: Please be sure to specify whether you mean spicy as in ginger, or spicy as in hot sauce. And dear drinkers, if you want to go ahead and indulge then stick to a sip every 3/5 minutes with minimal chattering lol. Unless, of course, you want to wrestle an agbero.
In conclusion, our top rated drink was the cool lava with a whooping score of 4/5. “It would have probably been a 5/5 because the blends were good and alcohol content was moderate, but honesty isn’t The House Cafe’s forte so -1”, Folarin wailed again.
Runner up, was the temple mount with a 3.5/5, this didn’t mark up the cool lava due to Folarin’s indifference for the cocktail. And to be honest, maybe it deserves 2nd place because who knows, I was probably hype from all the sugar in the drink anyway. The Pepper-drink, art of hours came last because who really goes to a bar to drink pepper soup from a glass? (Not even ijaw people).
We noticed they omitted the third drink from the bill, we realised too late and wondered if they gave us as a complimentary treat, after all the damage they caused Folarin? Who knows?
Good for: Dinner & Drinks, Date Night
Food: Full Kitchen
Happy Hour: No | Bottle Service: Yes | Wine: Yes | Beer: Yes
Cool Lava - N3500
Temple Mount - N3500
Art of Hour - N3500
Christina is a TV and Film junkie who also spends an incredible amount of time reviewing skincare products she can barely afford.