Drink Lagos: The Wheatbaker
This week, we went to The Wheatbaker for the ‘elite’ lol. If you’ve lived in Lagos long enough, you know The Wheatbaker is a high-end hotel quite popular for its opulence and Sunday brunch buffet.
We were handed two different menus which, although similar, had different prices and that was a bit confusing. I wonder why my drink buddy - Folarin, was handed the more expensive menu because I’m usually the “bougee” one. Turns out someone forgot to remove the older (and of course, cheaper) menu from the pile; a real red flag. Imagine if I ordered a drink worth N3,500 and got billed N5,000 instead?
For our first cocktail, we ordered the Pink Pussycat, which is a blend of muddled strawberries, sweet coconut cream, banana liqueur, a splash of Cognac and Nectar Champagne. I ordered this because I got a bit curious about how pink they were willing to go lol. My cocktail arrived 4 minutes after the order was placed - another perk of sitting by the bar.
This was easily the best cocktail of the night. Very balanced, the Pink Pussycat gets you buzzed immediately due to the sharpness from cognac and champagne. The Pink Pussycat wasn’t a sweet mess (the name suggests it might be a ‘girly’ drink) and leaned more towards the sour side. Until this cocktail, I had never tried banana liqueur and I was skeptical about the texture. So much so that I had to taste it separately because it was so subtle in the cocktail.
The only downside of this cocktail was the coconut cream that refused to settle, it clouded over the drink till the very end. Just like hot chocolate and the never-ending foam.
The next drink I ordered was the Mai Tai – had to do it for Tiki culture. For such a popular cocktail in Lagos, it doesn’t always turn out the way you’d imagine. Most times, I’ve been served pineapple juice with Bacardi and other times, I was shook – cheers Utopia and Zenbah.
The Man Tai at The Wheatbaker was a refreshing take on it – light and dry rum, orange curacao, triple sec blended with fresh pineapple and orange juice. Fairly tart and citrusy, but not particularly sweet, it pairs wonderfully with whatever meal you order. Rum isn’t too intense so it’s pretty easy to pair with it just about any flavor profile. The orange curacao and rum, alongside orange-pineapple-triple sec blend, simplified the Man Tai yet gave it a standard different from the norm in Lagos.
The last drink Gin Fizz was chosen because it reminded me of its whiskey counterpart – Whiskey Sour. The Gin Fizz at The Wheatbaker is made with Bombay Sapphire, lime, syrup, egg whites, and soda. It was a complete let down, unfortunately. Nothing to do with the bartender or the bar, but the recipe.
Gin is not whiskey’s mate. It reminded Folarin of his bad experience with a Negroni; an awful drink made with Campari and other demons. It was bitter, penetrating and tasted like soda water.
Our mixologists, Monday and Allison frowned when we ordered the drink after our meal because it is an “appetizer drink”. Monday went on to lecture us on drinks and meal palates and we confirmed he was right.
Fun Fact: Wheatbaker has won the “Best Bar” competition at Lagos Cocktail Week for the last two years.
When we asked if Monday was the winner, with a smirk on he said, “it’s a competition for trainees and not the gurus”. Apparently, he was the master behind the apprentice who won and that should tell you everything about this guy.
Bar hopping has exposed a lot of bars in Lagos as pretentious but Wheatbaker isn’t trying to impress you with undue grandiose. Its simplicity is a tactic to engage you in a down-to-earth experience. Perhaps that’s the ploy for its target market – sophistication doesn’t require too much performance.
Good for: After Work Drinks - Date Night - Special Occasion
Food: Full Kitchen
Happy Hour: No | Bottle Service: Yes | Wine: Yes | Beer: Yes
Pussycat - N7500
Gin Fizz - N4500
Mai Tai - N4500
Christina is a TV and Film junkie who also spends an incredible amount of time reviewing skincare products she can barely afford.