Drink Lagos: The Grill by Delis

It's really unprofessional to start a piece by going off on a tangent, BUT… just bear with me for a bit.

What's the deal with all the new, nice restaurants in Lagos having these lazy, uninspired names? 

The Backyard? The Grill? The House? 

What's next: The Oven, The Parking Lot, The Mortar & Pestle? Mortar & Pestle is a dope name, however. A little note to all potential restauranteurs: the name of your establishment must match all the serenre you're putting in the ambience and the menu. 



Rant over. 

We visited The Grill by Delis on a Friday night, and decided to focus on 3 different cocktails: NestOilCheeky Smile and the Malaika On Fire.

NestOil, eh? I wonder what could've inspired the name for this whisky-based cocktail? Oh, yeah, across the street from the Grill lies this imposing structure that has changed the Victoria Island skyline. Like the building, the cocktail makes its presence known and is certainly not for the faint of heart. 

Incredibly smokey but delicious, the NestOil tastes like an Islay-based scotch. Inquiring a bit further, I discovered they actually use a Glenfiddich, which is less smokey then other scotches. Turns out the whisky is infused with a smoky tea to give it a bit of a punch. Definitely an A for effort. 

Presented in a copper chalice reminiscent of a Moscow Mule, this mix of flavors make it great for an adventurer's tastebuds. To fully appreciate it, you need to “enjoy” it slowly and indulge in the maraschino cherries. The sweet will counter smokiness for yet another interesting cross section of flavors.

Cheeky Smile

Cheeky Smile

The Cheeky Smile, our second cocktail, was the mildest of the cocktails sampled. Not in a bad way either. It is a gin-based cocktail with a hint of elder flower shaken into a margarita glass (no ice). This drink is basically an easy-breezy refresher; it is a what would be called a "summer drink”. We don't have summer in Nigeria but there's heat so…I guess you can drink this all year round. 

It is the white wine of The Grill's cocktail menu, and is also a unisex cocktail because…gin.  

(Ed Note: Are cocktails gendered?)

The only complaint I have is the Cheeky Smile is that it’s a bit weak-sauce, which isn't acceptable given how much it costs. When a drink is made with no ice, the potency or lack thereof shows quite a bit. This tastes like a good cocktail that HAD ice in it and has been allowed to sit for 20minutes. An additional shot in the shaker wouldn't hurt. 

Just saying.

Malaika is not just a great name and the subject of many a pop song, it is also the best cocktail on The Grill’s drink menu. Tequila-based, the Malaika on Fire is served with rosemary and half a jalapeño (Holler@your peno). Absolutely great use of tequila. 

Tequila has been reduced to shooting with lime and salt, a precursor to very bad decisions It also plays a non-memorable role in a Long Island Iced Tea. Congrats on your reinvention, tequila. Good on ya. The Malaika on Fire is the sleeper hit of the menu. And the jalapeño pepper is delicious (we must jollof everything sha).


The Grill by Delis have great unique cocktails, if a bit expensive (everything is > N3,500), but this seems to be standard fare for the new establishments. The service is unbelievably slow, however. I sat at the bar and cocktails still took about 20 minutes, on average, to get. And this includes multiple reminders to the bartenders about my order. Maybe it's a Friday thing. 


Good for: After work drinks - Pre drinks - Date Night 

Food: Full Kitchen

Happy Hour: No | Bottle Service: Yes | Wine: Yes | Beer: Yes



NestOil - N3500

Cheeky Smile - N3500

Malaika on Fire - N3500

"BBDD" is a cocktail aficionado, owner of the Literati Clothing brand, part-time comic book writer, photographer and full-time energy specialist. Also, cofounder of the legendary pop-up bar BarNOMADIC. He will DESTROY you, Thanos-style, at karaoke or airhockey.