la veranda 02

LA VERANDA ITALIAN RESTAURANT- THE REVIEW

Monday 10.40 A.M,

Hello people.

How have you all been doing? Thank you for all the feedback on the last post. I would like to point out that I have NEVER received any freebie to review any restaurant. Yes, there have been several offers but I usually turn them down.I turn them down because I need to remain as objective as possible when assessing the restaurant. You shouldn’t  look a gift horse in the teeth now, should you? When / If I start taking freebies? It will be clearly stated that the meal was unpaid for or sponsored. So now that we have cleared the air on that, we will move along swiftly.

It was my friend’s birthday recently and we decided to meet up for lunch at La Veranda- an Italian restaurant In Victoria Island. Hmnnn, how does one do healthy eating  with all these eating out sef? If you have a winning formula, please help a sister out. Please don’t say I should order salad or limit eating out  to my cheat days. For now, I will stick to portion control.

La Veranda is housed at the back of Blowfish Hotel in Victoria Island.To get to the restaurant, you would need to go through the hotel reception and then through the pool side. You can choose to dine alfresco or stay in the main dinning room. The dinning room overlooks the swimming pool.The decor was pretty basic with pink, white and blue furnishing. it will probably sit about 25 or 30 diners. In one corner sits a masonry oven and the end had the cashier’s till. There really isn’t much to say about the decor. I would classify this as warm and comfortable.

la veranda 01

 

 

A polite waiter showed us to our seats and handed us the menu. I wanted a glass of white wine badly but i had to restrain myself so I ordered water and jazzed it up with lemon and cucumber. The girls settled for Chapman. Did you know that Chapman is a Nigerian mocktail?

The menu had loads of Italian staples- Soups, Pastas, Pizzas,Salads and Sandwiches. We asked the waiter what he would recommend and he reeled out a list of things but eventually, we all decided on Pasta- Tagliatelle and Linguine. For our starter, we ordered Gamberoni Pil-Pil and Salmone Affumicato. For mains, we ordered Tagliatelle con pollo, Tagliatellie al salmone and Linguine del mare. No one wanted desserts so I  secretly ordered Tiramisu for the birthday girl.

Quite surprisingly, the meals did not take too long to come, first up were the antipasti. We started with Gamberoni Pil-Pil (N3,800- $20).This was prawns sauteed with probably olive oil and capers served with some sort of spicy brothy sauce. It served with sliced baguette. It had the right amount of spice and seasoning. Delicious. One question I had to ask though? Was it value for money at N3,800? Absolutely Not!!

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Next came the Salmone Affumicato,(N3,800-$20). Sliced smoked salmon served with toast quarters with capers, sour cream, lemon wedge and a sliver of lettuce. Hmnnn, there isn’t much to write about this. There was no actual cooking done by the restaurant. It was all just plated. At least that’s what I think.  For N3,800? yet again, I say this isn’t value for money.

la veranda 02

When the pasta dishes came, it smelled delicious. You know that feeling of just get in my belle already? Everyone claimed theirs was the nicest. My girls  opted for the spicy version of what they were having. Well, mine was Linguine del mare-(N4,200-$23). The waiter described this as seafood and pasta in pink sauce. Hmmnn, when it came, there was nothing pink about it. It was not like the colour  mattered much but  I still wonder why it was called pink sauce .It was very well put together. It had the right amount of the “pink sauce” and pasta cooked right  with the mussels, prawns and calamari  nicely seasoned. The portion was quite generous too. I couldn’t indulge as I would have wanted to because I am doing portion control** double eye roll*. so I ate a quarter and had the remaining packed as take away. On the second day, It tasted even nicer to me. I would have given this an ace if it was better plated. In as much as this wasn’t just slapped on the plate, it wasn’t high on presentation either. A pop of colour would have made a difference.

la veranda 04

I had bites of the Tagliatelle con pollo (N3600-$19.5) and Tagliatelle al Salmon (N4,100-$22). It’s so difficult to say which tasted better. They were both really nice.The Tagliatelle con pollo was tagliatelle tossed in white creamy sauce, with sauteed chicken and mushrooms.Well, this was a bit varied from what they normally serve because  my friends wanted it spicy. You could actually see the pepper flecks in it. It was too spicy for me to indulge in but the owners loved it. The salmon was pretty much the same- just substitute the chicken for the salmon and leave out the mushrooms. The portions were reasonable but I still had a problem with the plating of these dishes.

la veranda 05

 

la veranda 06When it was time for desserts, everyone chickened out. I would have been miserable if we didn’t order that Tiramisu oh. We had the perfect excuse, it was Seun’s birthday!!! and we had to sing her the bee-day song surely there had to be some semblance of a cake abi?. Oh well, I had told the manager beforehand that the birthday girl was with us . So when the Tiramisu(N,2400- $13) was being served it came with a cake sparkler and the birthday song was playing. Her expression when she saw it? Priceless, hahaha. So after the whole birthday song shebang, we decided to split a portion of Tiramisu 4 ways. It was sooo worth the extra calories, a tad sweeter than I would normally like it but it was still the rich creamy mascarpone with layers of ladyfinger biscuits and coffee. When I saw the price, fear caught me sha. Yes mascarpone cheese is imported, yes but the portions and the prices aren’t just at par. Most restaurants in Lagos are guilty of serving over priced desserts and food. Hian 

tiramisu

I did an inspection of the restroom and it was sparkling clean.

We paid N30,280 ($164) for 2 Appetizers, 4 entrees, 1 dessert, 3 drinks,and a bottle of water.

Would I go back there? Absolutely

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambiance / Aesthetics- 7

Quality of food- 8.5

Value for money- 7

Customer Service- 9

LA VERANDA

BLOWFISH HOTEL

17,OJU OLOBUN STREET

VICTORIA ISLAND

08121111222

Thank you for always reading.

DISCLAIMER: These reviews are my opinion of my dining experiences at these places. They are not sponsored by any establishment unless otherwise stated.

basilico 3

BASILICO ITALIAN RESTAURANT- THE REVIEW

Tuesday, 5.15P.M

Hello Gorgeous,

How are you all?  The Nigerian circle on social media was agog this past week because Miss Kemi Adetiba, a renowned video producer was refused entry into Spice Route restaurant on Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island.  She was refused entry because she was not accompanied by a male . Yes! You read right. I know they have a right to who they admit and all..  but  biko , since when did we need to have male escorts to eat out  or even get soial? Only in Lagos. Absolute balderdash! What’s your take on this? Kemi, (if you happen to see this), even though you are always taunting me with food pictures and harassing my eyes, me thinks you should sue the pants off them for gender discrimination.   * straight faced*

I went out on a dinner date with my dear friend Fola  of the stylefash25 blog. We went to the newly opened Basilico Italian Restaurant on Musa  Yaradua street,Victoria Island.  There was just something warm about the restaurant that drew me in. I tried to figure it out before we  left the place, but I couldn’t . Probably  because I was too carried away with chatting with my dear friend.  I felt the room was a tad sterile with white walls and an odd painting here and there. They had traditional seats with  nicely laid out tables. The best word to describe this would be Warm and Comfortable. OK, I know that’s two words. : ).   There was also an outdoor eating area, this area would be my choice any day of the week if it the weather was fine. I have not uploaded any pictures of the interior of the restaurant  because, the manger came to us and requested that we didn’t take pictures  because management didn’t allow it.

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For once in Lagos, an Italian restaurant is sticking to Italian foods only! No continental meals or a few Nigerian dishes to make the menu look “full”. They had straight up Italian foods. Even the wines and digestivos were Italian . The menu was loaded with Italian yumminess, from salads to soups, bruschetta,  cheeses, spaghetti,  risotto,  ravioli, lasagna  etc.

We ordered the Assorted starter – Basilico style, the artichoke  ravioli with shrimps and basil sauce, Ossobuco creole sauce and saffron rice and mousse al cafe as our dessert. We also ordered  2 glasses of red wine~( I dont remeber the names ) whilst we waited for our food to come.

The waiter came with the bottle of wine, and asked if we wanted to taste it first.  Hmmnn in Lagos?  She gave us tasters and we said we liked it, she filled our glasses. The wine  was served with complementary  fish balls and cherry tomatoes. Oh Lawd, please don’t let this free fish balls be IGG,- if you don’t know what IGG is, I cant help ya … The fish ball was OFF THE HOOK! I  don’t know what kind of fish  was used but it was very well seasoned and it was piping hot! I kinda thought it would have been nicer with some sort of sauce with it, maybe a sweet chilli sauce , but then that’s hardly Italian right? With or without the sauce , it was all forms of amazing.

Basilico 1

The Assorted Starter-Basilico way (N1500-$9) was a combination of Grana cheese cuts, Smoked ham, seasoned yellow bell peppers with cheese and a mini serving of  chicken salad. Move over Dr Dolls, this chef is my new besto….yes I agree that i am a friend for food.  This chef sure knew a way to my belly. I wish  there was a picture of me savouring this starter, that would be some picture though.  The yellow bell peppers was tossed in olive oil,  shaved cheese and some black pepper and  probably some secret seasoning, . the chicken salad was not a salad per se , it was well marinated chicken tossed with carrots. it was my first time having Grana cheese , i liked it . All these “elements” put together was one fantastic combination.

Basilico 2

When we were placing our order for our entree , we requested that the entrees were to be brought together , uncle waiter brought the Artichoke Ravioli with the starter so we sent it back.  On hindsight, we shouldn’t have, we should  just  have enjoyed it whilst it was still hot because by the time he brought it back, it was warm. The Artichoke Ravioli( N3,500-$20) was freshly made ravioli pasta that was stuffed with artichoke and shrimps, . it was served with  basil sauce and some grilled tomatoes. I liked the plating of this dish. The chef added colour to it with the sauce stained plate, the tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. For me, this meal was an ACE! I  had no complaints .

basilico 3

The Ossobuco creole sauce with Saffron rice (N3,500-$20) – this was browned and braised veal that was  cooked sooo tender that it came off the fork without any hassles. The creole sauce was a first for me so I didn’t know what to expect. Alas! It was  brown spiced  gravy. I liked it. It worked well with the veal. I however did not like the Saffron rice. First it was cold and secondly, it was bland. Even salt and black pepper didn’t make it better. It was risotto-ish. I am not a fan of risotto so maybe that is why I didn’t fancy it. To me, risotto is soggy rice, unless I have never had it good. If i am wrong, can someone recommend  a good place to get fab risotto in Lagos?

basilico 4

We called for the desserts menu and I was disappointed. There was no Tiramisu on the list. An Italian restaurant without Tiramisu? What a shame. They had about 3 or 4 items on the desserts menu, ice cream, creme brulee and Mousse al cafe. We opted for Mousse al cafe (N900-$5). I didn’t like the way it was presented but it was delicious. it was a chocolate mousse  with a layer of what I suspected to be condensed milk , it was finished off with a dusting of cocoa powder. The contrast of the unsweetened cocoa powder to the sweetness of the mousse created a perfect balance to this dish. I would still have wanted my Tiramisu but this sufficed in this instance.

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After all the food indulgence , I decided to visit the restroom. Hmnnnnn. I wasn’t impressed one bit. The restroom smelled musky, it was a full sized bathroom with a standard sized bath tub in it. Chai chai.…, this people fall my hand no be small! To make matters worse, when you finish doing your business in there, you would have to use the same towel that probably 10 others before you have used .Not a good way to end such foodie goodness. I hope their management will come across this post and do something pronto.

At a little corner in the restaurant, sat a delicatessen, where they had Italian goodies from savoiardi biscuits, virgin olive oil, espresso , all sorts of pastas. Well, since Tiramisu wasn’t available in the restaurant, I bought espresso and Savioradi to make my own Tiramisu at home.

We paid N 11,650-$67  for 1 starter, 2 entrees, 1 dessert, 2 glasses of wine,and a bottle of water. All taxes were inclusive. Be sure to have cash , as their POS machine wasn’t working on the day we visited.

Would i go back? ASSOLUTAMENTE!!! ( Thank God for google translation)

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambiance / Aesthetics- 7

Quality of food-  9

Value for money- 9

Customer Service- 8.

 

BASILICO ITALIAN RESTAURANT

15, Musa  Yaradua street,

Victoria Island

08068447246

Thank you for always reading.

DISCLAIMER: These reviews are my opinion of my dining experiences at these places. They are not sponsored  by any establishment unless otherwise stated.

 

 

 

CJ5

CAFE JADE- THE REVIEW

Sunday , 12.05 P.M

Hello to the good people of Foodieland,

I have been quiet right? I know and  I am almost certain you are tired of my apologies.  Work has been very hectic. You know I have to work hard and extra hours too to be able to afford this my eating out habit (hahaha)... I have not gone out to eat in five whole weeks!!! I actually went to check my calender to be sure. I need to do better, please bear with me.

.Recently, I met up with my friend  Funmi for Lunch at Cafe Jade. I was a little confused with the name because i kept thinking it was Jade Garden (The Oriental Restaurant). They are different…very different.  Cafe Jade is a small restaurant that will probably sit about thirty people. The sitting area is rather small but the space was well managed with lounge sofas to one side and formal dining chairs to the other side.  A television at one end and the other end by the entrance had the mini bar. It didn’t have a particular theme, but it was clean and tidy. It was somewhat too compact for my liking.Good things come in small packages abi? Lets see….

dinning room

dinning room

CJ7The menu was not elaborate. It was simple easy meals, It ranged from breakfast to sandwiches, pasta and finger foods. Even the beverage list was simple! They did not have alcoholic beverages on the menu , even though I saw some bottles up on their bar shelves. For cocktail perhaps?  Have you been to any restaurant or cafe in Lagos that didn’t sell alcohol?

For our starter, we ordered the spicy chicken wings. For mains, we got the chicken curry with rice  and  Spicy Prawns with boiled sweet potatoes. I ordered sweet potatoes because I am /was tired of  eating rice. I am not sure a day passes without eating rice. Hiannn. We also ordered the virgin Pina colada (N1,000-) and good old Chapman( N1000-). I learnt a trick a while ago from an older friend. When ordering chapman or any drink with ice, you get more value for your money when you order with ice in a different glass, that way you get more of the drink and you can add ice at your pace so it doesn’t get too watered down. We did that with Funmi’s chapman and it worked!

CJ

The drinks came with the chicken wings ( N1700- $9), When it came, I realised the waiter didn’t ask how spicy we wanted it to be. Well, it was nice and juicy and it wasn’t too spicy, you know the type that you would like to chew to the bone but your are busy forming? yeah..that type. One question please, Do you enjoy chicken wings or pizza when you eat with fork and knife? If you answered yes, na OYO you dey. 

CJ2

The Pina Colada was a bit watered down. I complained about it and the waiter apologized and promptly brought back a glass of thicker Pina Colada. It was alright…just alright. Funmi’s Chapman was a bit too concentrated but remember we asked for it without the ice which was supposed to water it down? so be mindful of that when doing the trick.

CJ3x

The food came promptly. First up, was the Chicken Curry – (N3,700-$21). It looked nice and it was not just slapped on the plate. I had food envy instantly because mine didn’t look as good. I took some from it and i really liked it, The curry sauce was thick and it had just the right amount of seasoning. The vegetables was crunchy and chicken was moist and well seasoned. Commendable also, was the portion of this meal .The chef was not miserly with the accompaniment. I  didn’t try the rice but Funmi said it was nice.

CJ5

The menu stated that the Spicy Prawns – (N4,000- $22) as grilled prawns served with green pepper.  When my meal came, it was peppered prawns, like pan fried prawns in tomato sauce, in my chef fregz voice- ata dindin. Infact, i’m almost sure he used the same sauce that he used for the spicy chicken wings for the prawns as well.You dont believe me?  See the pictures and tell me what you think. Why do restaurants in Naija do that? You describe the meal as one thing on the menu, when it is served, it is served as something else, yet you charge the same! I didn’t complain about it which is very unlike me , I was too hungry to. Yes the sauce was nice but that was not what I paid for . The sweet potatoes was cold and just slapped on the plate. I  didn’t like the way this was served too, He could have garnished the potatoes with some herbs and butter. This was just slapped on the plate with oil seeping onto the potatoes. There is no point writing about it again as I have already described it . it was just the same sauce as the chicken wings

CJ4

They didn’t have any desserts that day so we decided to go to Sweet Kiwi In Lekki Phase 1 for Fro-yo. Hmnn, it was sooo good. I have realized the need to do a series of non- restaurant posts soon.i.e .Best place for  burgers, pizza etc so watch this place for what’s coming.

For two entrees, one starter, two mocktails, one bottle of water ,we paid about  (N11,600 -$67).The waiter brought back the change after he signed off on the bill. All taxes were included.

Would i go back? Probably.

 

SIDE NOTE

Remember  the Lost in Lagos restaurant  week sweeptakes I posted sometime ago? Well, I bought some of the lunch voucher for my self and my hub . I also entered for the food photo contest. All I had to do was send pictures of my meals at the restaurants and tag @city chops and @lostinlagos12 on social media . I was super chuffed when i got a tweet and mail from them saying I had won a hamper from @angelikasthehomestore. I won?  How?  I have crap luck when it comes to winning stuff so this got me on a good day. I hope someday SOON, I will announce that I  have won biggggg money or something like that.* winks*.  When I went to pick the hamper from Angelikas on Akin Adesola in Victoria Island, I almost exchanged Mr U for all the fabulous crockery and displays items  they had there. LOL. I need to go back there. Y’all should check them out  too.AngelikasAngelikas.2jpg

 

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambiance / Aesthetics- 5

Quality of food-  6

Value for money- 7

Customer Service- 8.5

CAFE JADE

Plot 1139, Bishop Oluwole street

Victoria Island

Lagos

 

Thank you for always reading.

DISCLAIMER: These reviews are my opinion of my dining experiences at these places. They are not sponsored  by any establishment unless otherwise stated.

 

 

rtweek_banner

RESTAURANT WEEK SWEEPSTAKE

Hey people,

How have you all been?

To those who have said they couldn’t afford to dine at some of the restaurants I have reviewed, here’s the perfect opportunity to dine for a fraction of what it cost normally. This is made possible by  Lost in Lagos Restaurant Week sponsored by Mastercard . It starts on the 7th  of April and ends on the 17th April, 2014. Its featuring over 20 premium  restaurants –  La Scala,  Bazaar, Ginger Tapas and Grillz, Rhapsodys Ikeja & Victoria Island to mention a few.

A 3 – course lunch is  served for as low as N4,400 per person. 3 course dinner is N6,600  per person. You will get a further 10% discount if you pay with your Mastercard.  Sounds too good ehnn?  This is certainly one awuf  that wont run your belle! 

 

They have been generous enough to offer one of my readers free lunch at one of these restaurants , who knows, I might be generous enough to make it two readers. To read more on the menu and participating restaurants please follow this link

To Enter

1. Simply tell me why you deserve  the free lunch…. easy right?

2. You must live in Lagos

3. You must be a  www.theservicecriticng.com subscriber or  follow me on twitter – @Pejuu or  on Instagram -the pejuu 

 

Sweepstake ends on the 14th of April , 2014. ( You must use your coupon by the 17th of April 2014)

 

Thank you for always reading.

The Critic.

355 restaurant 5

355 RESTAURANT & LOUNGE – THE REVIEW

Thursday, 10. 06P.M,

Hey People,

How have you been? I know I went AWOL yet again. I apologize, its been rather hectic at work . The life of an entrepreneur in this town is not for the lily- livered . May God bless the hustle.

I don’t particularly fancy reviewing  new restaurants but quite a number of people have spoken to me about this restaurant so I finally caved in. I chose to go during the week because restaurants are generally calmer then, unlike weekends when the chefs have to work under so much pressure.

I asked my friends who recommended 355 Restaurant what they liked most about it  and they unanimously said it was the theme.  The decor is New- York themed- places, landmarks etc . The furniture and lighting were contemporary, with a slight twist with stone wall tiles. They had street name tags adorning the walls. At the reception, there was a large framed picture of the Brooklyn bridge with a backdrop of the New York skyline. The menu cards were done like New York subway map. This was quite ingenious in my opinion. I really fancied the fact that it was a No Smoking restaurant. Phewww! Good bye to the smell of stale dinning rooms. This is quite a small restaurant, but the space was well utilized.  I felt it was kinda tight …. a little bit

355 Restaurant 3

355 Restaurant 8

355 restaurant 2We were met by a smiling waiter who introduced herself and showed us to a table, we sat for a couple of minutes and decided to change tables. We realized we were sat near the rest rooms. while it didn’t smell foul, it was quite odorous with a strong disinfectant smell emanating from there .

355 Restaurant 7

We were handed the drinks  and  food menu. The menu was quite extensive… hopefully they had everything they advertised. They  had some Mexican , Italian and American staples. Breakfast was available all day too! Will it still be called breakfast though? hahaha. Anyway, I ordered a bottle of coke ( I had been craving this BADLY) with some corn chips and salsa. My date wanted nuts but they didn’t have any, so he opted to share  the corn chips. For the meals, we ordered the Chicken salad, Prawns Aoili, smoked Salmon with mashed potatoes.

Our drinks , Corn chips and Salsa ( N700- $4) came together. I loved the corn chips, the salsa was a No-No, it was way too watery and it tasted off . I can’t explain it. I told the waitress who promptly took it away and replaced it with another bowl, this time less watery but just as off and bland. I had my corn chips plain.

355 restaurant 1

The food took a bit to come. I was taken a little bit aback when the salad  I ordered as a starter came together with the main course. we had to keep the salad aside to go for the mains otherwise they would both cake up. We decided to share both meals so that we could have a fair assessment of the meals

We started with the Prawns Aoili  (N3000-$17), I didn’t particularly enjoy the pasta in this dish.  It was cooked right but it wasn’t memorable . For starters, it was almost cold. I  had to ask for salt and black pepper because it was bland. Could the chef have forgotten to add seasoning? The pasta was served with chili sauce. I don’t fancy spicy food per se but I decided to try some of this. It then dawned on me that maybe the  chili sauce was meant to be mixed in. I added some to the pasta and it tasted much better. So what happens to people that don’t eat spicy food? Will they be forced to eat this too? I felt like I was eating pasta and stew with Prawns. Talking about the Prawns, I don’t know what the chef did to it, but it was delicious!

355 restaurant 6

355 restaurant 4

We promptly moved to the baked Salmon and mashed potatoes (N5500-$31) . When I was ordering this,  I don’t remember the sauce she said it would come with it, but  I know she asked me to choose. When the meal was served, it was without any sauce or gravy (see picture below). Was I supposed to chow down the mash and salmon like that?  so I asked her. She came  with the same spicy chilli sauce. My date asked me  if the sauce was  generic to all their meals.  I didn’t have an answer oh. As always, I added black pepper to my mash. First bite- cold mashed potatoes with lumps in it! o ga oh, ( its possible that the mashed potatoes got cold because we did the pasta first) but then how long  did it take to eat the Pasta? The mash was cold and lumpy but it tasted alright. The Salmon was BEAUTIFULLY done, moist on the inside and the outside  was slightly crisp. I could live on this for days, I decided to try it with the spicy sauce. It was even better. I must have downed a  50 cl bottle of water just to water down the sting of the sauce. It was way too spicy for me but it tasted darned good.

355 restaurant 5

After all that water and spice, my tummy could take no more , I didn’t touch the salad. I requested  for it to be packed as take away. I had over done it. I didn’t bother looking at the dessert menu.

All that food ,water and spice had driven me to lazy mode. ( covers face in shame). I did not check the restrooms out but if I could smell the disinfectant from outside, I wonder what it smelled like inside.

Are you wondering why I didn’t write about the salad?  Well, I was so high on water and spicy sauce that I forgot to take the packed salad. I remembered when I was miles away. I called the restaurant to ask why it wasn’t given to me. The gentleman I spoke to apologized and was nice enough to offer me another salad whenever I was in the neighborhood.

There is an outdoor lounge / smoking area. Right by the parking area. (I forgot to take a picture)

Would I go back there? For that Salmon, oh yes!

For 2 bottles of coke, 1 bottle of water, 1 starter, 2 mains and 1 appetizer, we paid N14,580. All taxes inclusive.

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambiance / Aesthetics- 7

Quality of food-  7

Value for money- 6

Customer Service- 8.5

355 RESTAURANT & LOUNGE 

9A,Oko- Awo close

Victoria Island

Lagos

08079213638

Thank you for always reading.

DISCLAIMER: These reviews are my opinion of my dining experiences  at these places. They are not sponsored  by any establishment unless otherwise stated.

Villa Medici 03

VILLA MEDICI- THE REVIEW

Monday 11.42 A.M

Hello Valentine and Valentinas ,

Sooo, the Love season is here again . There are all sorts of deals on dinning, flowers , romantic getaways etc. Shall we say Valentine’s day on a Friday will be plenty chaos in this town? Plenty nlaru (sp)  things* winks*. I sometimes get uneasy with all the commercialization going on with Valentine’s day. I recently read an article where there was some sort of bidding contest on who would “win” the services of a Michellin star chef that would  dinner cook a four or five course meal  for 2 people for $100,000. yes you read right, 100 grand!!! Biko wetin he wan carry cook am? I am not being  judgmental  but that will feed all of us from my village. LOL.

It was my Sugar’s birthday recently and we went out for dinner at Villa Medici. It used to be known as Medici to the best of my knowledge so I guess the name change  occurred recently. Villa Medici is a fine dinning  restaurant that serves intercontinental dishes leaning ever so slightly to the french cuisine. It doesn’t have a set theme  but it’s quite well put together : contemporary paintings on the wall, an odd mask here, antique light there. It all worked  together nicely. The table setting was informal- neatly laid out. I would like to describe this restaurant as an upscale  and romantic restaurant.

Villa Medici 02

Villa Medici 03I must say, that for a Monday night, Villa Medici was packed.  Some  sort of private party I  later figured. We were given a table in a quiet corner. Our assigned waiter  handed us the drinks menu. The drinks list was quite extensive.  We ordered the Virgin Bellini (N1000- $5.5) and the Apple Colada.(N1,800-$10.5) He came back swiftly with a basket of artfully wrapped  toasted garlic bread and some dinner rolls.

Villa Medici 05Villa Medici 01

Whilst we waited for the drinks, he handed us the food menu. The food list was extensive. They had quite a number of  dishes that were different from the norm for Lagos . This was the first time I was seeing Carpaccio and Frog legs on a menu in Lagos ( I am not saying it doesn’t exist).  We ordered a smoked Salmon and Prawn salad, Seafood ragout, and the Fillet Steak Royale.

The starter was the smoked Salmon and Prawn  salad (N3600-$21).  The picture shown below doesn’t do this plate justice at all. I was too impatient to eat to have gotten a better shot. I apologize.  I liked the presentation. Most restaurants where I’ve had this salad,  serve the  prawn and salmon on a bed of greens but this was the reverse. The salmon  and prawns were served as the bed with the greens in the middle. The greens were tossed in some sort of vinagriette . I didn’t bother  asking the waiter what it was . Miss gulu had reared her ugly head. I added a dash of  lemon juice to it and gobbled it in no time.  I found the prawn perfectly cooked. The salmon was  a tad too salty from the curing i guess. I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Villa Medici 06

The 1st main course was the Seafood Ragout (N5,750-$33) served with Potato Tatin and steamed vegetables. The first thing that came to mind was that I had ordered seafood stew, it looked just like that. Hmmnn, It wasn’t slapped on the plate just like that but it was not that interesting to look at as well.  The menu stated that  it was light Prawn broth with Seabass , mussels, Prawns  and calamari. It was chunks of  sauteed Calamari , Prawns and Fish tossed in tomato sauce garnished in parsley.. It wasn’t a broth and there was no mussel in the dish. The seafood was well cooked  but I found it to be a bit under seasoned. When it comes to potato tatin, I am quite queer, I like it with a crust. I would prefer to eat the crust than the baked potatoes itself, This had a bit of both, so I loved it.The steamed vegetables was fresh and crunchy and it added the some colour to the dish.

Villa Medici 11

Villa Medici 10The second main course was the  Fillet Steak Royal (N6,750- $40) served with Potato Tatin and steamed vegetables. When I placed my order for this, the first question  the waiter asked was how well done I wanted it to be. If you are a regular reader of my posts you probably know the automated answer by now. Steak well done please. I am a typical naija chic that must eat all things overcooked . hahaha. Well he said to me ” ma’am may I suggest that you  try the medium -well done  so that you can enjoy it better. He explained that  steak well done  often tastes tough to chew. Hiaaan see me  see wahala oh? Well, I agreed to steak medium well. When it came it didn’t look too bad,it had mild  traces of pink. Four  thick slices  of span seared  steak was served with  reduced mushroom sauce. It was well seasoned and flavourful . I hate to admit that it was actually less chewy than what I normally had.  I shall do medium – well from now on. It was served with the same potato tatin and vegetables. I absolutely loved it. If only I could “thief ” that reduced mushroom sauce recipe… Note worthy is the portion size , it was not baby portions like most restaurants  in Lagos serve.

Villa Medici 09

Whilst  going round taking pictures for this post , I got talking with the manager of the restaurant. He was a charming chap who asked if everything was alright. He was probably wondering why I was taking the pictures. I later introduced myself to him and he instantly recognized the  name. Hmnnnn…endangered species move. I need to start thinking of disguises when I go out to eat now oh or else…….Anyway, I introduced him to the hub and told him it was the hub’s birthday.

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When we called for the desserts menu, the waiter left like he was going to bring it. Some minutes after, no waiter, no menu . As if on cue, the lights dimmed  and the husky voices came up with the birthday song, we were pleasantly surprised. It was such a thoughtful gesture .  He was given a  chunk of cheese cake with Happy birthday written on the plate. With the free cheesecake, we didn’t need to order desserts again. Just by some stroke of luck they read this, Thank you guys. I still called for the menu to see if there was anything interesting on it. There was no list, it just said desserts from the trolley. It was (N1,800- $11). I was able to get a picture of the trolley whilst another table was being served. I am not one to look a gift horse in the teeth but the cheesecake would have been nicer with a little less gelatin.

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For lovers of alfresco dinning, there’s a lovely outdoor area .

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For 1 salad, 2 mains, 2 cocktails and a bottle of water , we paid N23, 280-($137) inclusive of all taxes.

I went to inspect the restroom, yes it was clean and the mini sitting area was daintily done up but it had a smell, like disinfectant had been used. The connector pipes for the WC  were rusty. I know this will be overlooked by some but its a fine dinning restaurant, its not appropriate .

Would I go back there? Oh yes!

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambiance / Aesthetics- 8

Quality of food-  9

Value for money- 8

Customer Service- 9

VILLA MEDICI

1, Babatunde Jose  street

Victoria Island

Lagos

08191495381

DISCLAIMER: These reviews are my opinion of my dinning experiences  at these places. They are not sponsored  by any establishment unless otherwise stated.

The Harbour 3

THE HARBOUR – THE REVIEW

Hey People,

Monday 11.30P.M

Recently, I came across an article about a deli owner closing his restaurant briefly for attitude adjustment of his staff. Read  here . Attitude adjustment?! Is that remotely possible in this clime? I am not sure about that. I came across an acquaintance’s rant on twitter some time  ago on  a highbrow restaurant  she went to in Lagos. Whilst dinning, a fat rat  ran across the dinning room. Her friend who went there at a different time had a similar experience.  she said the restaurant offered them 10% discount on their meals  which they declined and business continued . Question is, what stopped them from closing temporarily to fumigate their business premises? Things you see and hear in this town.

I recently discovered  what I would like to call the best kept secret in Lagos. A friend of mine told me about it actually. The Harbour at the Westforsters . It was a bit tricky getting to the location because the numbering is quite haphazard and  it is tucked away on Queen’s  Drive , Ikoyi. Initially, I thought it was a hotel, I later found out that it was short let  serviced apartment whose  restaurant and bar were open to the public.

The Harbour 1

The Harbour 2This building  reminds me of those charming mansions on Bishops Avenue that make you drool and think of how big you would like to be when you “ grew up”.  The dinning room was not particularly large, it would probably sit about 30 people, what it lacked in size , was made up for in the  simple Victorian décor which was  tastefully done. The lounge music playing and low lights here gave off that romantic vibe. You know the kain place wey na wantintin thoughts go full your head? It was that kind of place. The view was amazing! They also had an alfresco dinning section overlooking the Lagos  lagoon and the swimming pool.

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The Harbour 8Hint hint : To all those lovers out here if you want to go  somewhere romantic for valentine’s day, here’s free advise, this is the place for you.

A smartly dressed waiter  introduced himself  and handed us the drinks menu. It was not extensive , just bit and pieces of different  kinds of drinks. Mr U & I ordered soda……double side eye.  After ordering drinks ,we were given the food menu.  They  had sandwiches, salads, pizzas and soups , pastas , stuffed chicken, and a few desserts. In as much as I was not particularly pleased with menu listing, I quite appreciated that they kept it simple enough i.e no fancy name that I couldn’t pronounce.

For the starters,  we ordered  the Prawn Salad with grape fruits. For the mains, we ordered   Seafood Pasta and  Baraccuda fish with sautéed potatoes and vegetables.

The Prawn Salad (N3,000-$17) came first. I liked the plating, simple yet interesting to look at. This salad was sautéed prawns served on greens, with a side of grape fruit and oranges.  I asked the waiter for the dressing  and he said there was none. Hmmnn .  He said we should try it first to see if we needed any more dressing. The chap was sure right. The salad had just the right amount of  dressing. I don’t know the exact dressing but  it  worked so well with the salad. He came back to ask if we still wanted it and we said No. He had this “yeah we got them”  look on his face as he walked away. The salad was served with toasted baguette.

The Harbour 3

The main courses came together. We decided to start with Seafood Pasta (N,4600-$26). You know when you look at food and your mouth waters? That’s what happened when  I saw the seafood pasta. The plate looked like it had too much going on but believe me when I say it all worked well for this dish.  The pasta was tossed in spicy cheddar cheese sauce and Asian sugar snap peas,carrots, shrimps, mussels and  broccoli. Right in the middle of this was a sauteed jumbo Prawn with a side serving of cheese. Tres delicieux !!  I would definitely give it an ace.

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The Barracuda  with vegetables (N4000-$23). The fish was pan seared and served atop seasoned fresh vegetables. It was served with  herbed baked potatoes , garlic butter and some pepper sauce that I refused to touch out of fear of  it being spicy. The fish was  a bit under spiced on its own but the garlic butter and a bit of salt perfected it . The herbed baked potatoes was  nicely done. slightly crispy on the outside  and and soft inside.  And those vegetables, crisp and nicely seasoned!

The Harbour 5

Worthy of note here is the  portion sizes, it was  just right. By the time I was done sharing  the three dishes  with Mr U, I didn’t have room for water not to talk of dessert. Yes I skipped on dessert. Even I was taken a little aback about that decision. Besides the desserts menu, was quite uninteresting and expensive. Why should I buy 2 scoops of vanilla and chocolate ice cream for (N2,200-$13)? The jazz no catch me reach. I am beginning to think I need emoticons for such situations as this. Ishhh.

For 1 salad, 2 main dishes, 2 bottles of  soft drinks , we paid N 14,735. ( Taxes were included) And NO! the waiter didn’t bring my change! After such nice service? Booooo.

Would I go back there?…. Absolutely.

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambience / Aesthetics- 9

Quality of food-  9

Value for money- 8

Customer Service- 8

THE HARBOUR

70, Oyinkan Abayomi street ( Formerly Queens Drive)

Ikoyi.

Tel: 07046126577, 014484100-3

DISCLAIMER: These reviews are my opinion of my dinning experiences  at these places. They are not sponsored  by any establishment unless otherwise stated.

Ginger's Tapas & Grill.4JPG

GINGER TAPAS N GRILLS

Sunday, 11.45 P.M

Hello My Lovelies,

SWEEPSTAKES

I promised to do another sweepstake and here it is. Another opportunity to review  a restaurant with me.

In 50 words or less, tell me your best or worst  dinning  experience f0r 2013.

To Enter:

1.Please send me an email with the subject title   - MY BEST OR WORST  DINNING EXPERIENCE OF 2013  to thecriticng@gmail.com

2.You must be 18 0r older.

3. Since this is for theservicecriticng.com  faithfuls, you must follow @pejuu on twitter, subscribe for the newsletter on this site  OR  follow thepejuu on Instagram.

This sweepstake ends by midnight on the 26th January,2014. The winner will be announced shortly after .

You are probably tired of all the “Happy New Year song” so I wont add to the headache of the broadcast. I wish you an “awesometastic” year ahead. The word  “awesometatsic”  was borrowed  from Toke Makinwa by the way.

GINGER TAPAS N GRILLS

I recently discovered  a tapas restaurant in Lagos - Ginger Tapas N Grill. For those that don’t know what a tapas is, tapas are Spanish appetizers or mini Spanish cuisines. The idea is to order  different  tapas to make a full meal. The decor and layout were quite nicely done in bright colours and  contemporary furnishing.  To one side sits a semi open kitchen ( you can see the chefs making the meals but not the meal itself .  next to this, is a cozy lounge with soft lighting and comfy sofas adding  a homely touch to it. On the opposite side of the lounge  is the main dinning room. The main dinning room will sit about 40 people. I would like to describe this restaurant as a laid back place you can have a decent meal and a nice conversation.Ginger's Tapas & Grill. 8 JPG*I apologise for this grainy picture*

I don’t particularly remember what drinks menu had but it was not exactly extensive . I ordered the White sangria – N1800 ($10) and Miss diva ordered Chapman N1000-($6).Whilst we waited for the drinks, the food menu was handed to us. The food menu was more of  Spanish staples with a Nigerian twist to it.  They had cold and hot tapas ,desserts and some continental dishes.The drinks came promptly and we ordered our meals. My white sangria was nice, my only complain was that it was not chilled. We ordered Guacamole and Chips, Empanadas,  Cinnatains,  Smoked salmon salad, Molten brownie with ice cream.. yeah I know it seems like a lot for two chics to eat but remember they are tapas!Ginger's Tapas & Grill 2

First up was the Guacamole and chips-N2200($13). Guacamole is basically an avocado dip/sauce usually served with chips or fries.  I didn’t read the smaller prints  properly to see that this  Guacamole was served with tortilla not like there was anything wrong with it. I was just more conversant with it being served with nachos. I didn’t knock it off though, when it came, It looked quite nice and it was not just slapped on the plate. We tried it and both loved it. We gobbled it all in no time and almost asked for seconds, but then I realized that there was no point . we had other dishes coming. We did order a second helping of the tortilla though because we had some Guacamole left. Well worth it.Ginger's Tapas & Grill 1

Next up was the Empanadas-2300 ($13). You can liken Empanadas to samosas or meatpie. i.e stuffed dough, baked or fried. We had the option of minced meat or chicken. We opted for minced meat served with a salsa dip. There were 2 large pieces cut down into 4. It was quite nicely made.The salsa was amazing. I know they are tapas, hence the portion, but the money paid, was not commensurate to what was served. I have decided to overlook this because it was very well executed. Still…

Ginger's Tapas & Grill 3

The smoked salmon salad- N6000- ($35)  was served next and I was impressed with the presentation. At this point, I had to send my compliments to the chef. The ” smoking salmon salad” as the menu called it was  grilled chunky salmon  served on a bed of beets, greens, aubergine , carrots and tomatoes. It was garnished with breadsticks.  I am no lover of beets but this was different, I absolutely loved it in this salad. I found the grilled salmon a  little oily but it didn’t take anything away from the deliciousness of the salad. I could eat this all day, everyday- well if it was free of course. At 6K a pop?  all day , everyday will probably be twice a year. Maybe Ginger TapaS n Grill is for Lagos bigz boyz and gehlz. Dont judge this girl please.

Ginger's Tapas & Grill.4JPGThe Cinnatains N600($3.5) as you may have guessed, is fried plantains dusted with cinnamon syrup or sauce. I wasn’t particularly keen on this . I guess its because I have gotten used to eating my plaintain seasoned with salt. It could also be because the plantain was not cooked through. It did not werk for me.

Ginger's Tapas & Grill. 5 JPG

I almost always have room for desserts….dessert time is my happy time. For dessserts we ordered the molten brownie with ice cream. N1,800-($11) .Hmmnn, when this came, My dear restauranteur letter came to mind. I was pained, for me to have complimented the chef on his presentation  earlier and then he serves me dry cake (mini cupcake) as brownie and then serves it with runny grainy vanilla ice cream is a slap on my face, I almost sent it back but Miss Diva said we should leave it. Plus we paid premium for it! Who pays N1,800 for brownies and ice cream? well in Lagos we do! Common guys, you have good stuff going on here! why mess it up with the dessert?  … and the price too. Get a pastry chef or send them off to be trained properly. This put such a damper on everything for us. My diva of a friend  decided to eat the cinnatains with the ice cream, what normal person does that anyway? Hmmnn… silence is golden. She said she imagined it to be her favourite dessert, banana fosters. ishhh.

Ginger's Tapas & Grill. 6 JPGWhilst we were waiting for the bill, the owner came round to ask how our meals went ,  she introduced herself to us. I found her amiable and savvy about being a restauranteur. We shared our opinions with her and  she wrote them down. Hopefully they’ll look into some of our complaints we laid. We inspected the restrooms and it was sparkling clean.

When we were leaving, we discovered there was a gazebo outside for the grills and alfresco dining. I loved it. I know that’s where I would definitely stay the next time I visit.Ginger's Tapas & Grill. 7 JPG

For four tapas ,1 dessert, 2 drinks and a bottle of water, we paid N 16,650- ($98). What saith thou?  Pricey I would say.

Would I  go back there?  Most definitely.

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambience / Aesthetics- 8

Quality of food-  7

Value for money- 7

Customer Service- 8

GINGER TAPAS N GRILLS

The Cosmopolitan

6A, Ologun Agbaje  street

Victoria Island.

0706969097, 08187813511

la provence 5

THE CRITIC’S 2013 / SWEEPSTAKE

At the beginning of this year, I remember saying we would take one day /post at a time till I am able to post weekly. This year I did 25 posts of restaurants in Lagos, Who would have thought? Last year, I was barely doing a post a month. I ask myself sometimes if it’s actually worth it ,but you my dear faithfuls have helped me more than you will ever know. Can I say thank you enough? I don’t think so!

This post is about the best dinning moments of the year 2013. Shall we call it the service critic’s award? OK let me not get ahead of myself here, but you catch my drift abi?

Based on the restaurants I blogged about, my categories will be

1. Best Dinning experience

This was more difficult than I thought it would be. Finally, I shortlisted to two.They are

(1) Uptown Restaurant 

(@) Restaurant La Provence

WINNER- UPTOWN RESTAURANT

uptown 2

2. Best Value for Money

(1)Rhapsody

(2) Spice Route

WINNER-SPICE ROUTE

 

3. Best Ambiance

(1)Rhapsody

(2) Spice Route

(3) Uptown Restaurant

WINNER- SPICE ROUTE

spice bar 08

4.Best Customer Service -

WINNER-  EKAABO RESTAURANT

ekaabo 15

5.Best Meal of the Year - This was a tie . I couldn’t wriggle my way out of this one.

WINNERS: (1)The  Grilled Salmon Fillet with mashed potatoes and vegetables from  Uptown Restaurant

uptown6

(2) The New Zealand Lamb and sauteed potatoes from Restaurant la Provence.

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For good measure, I decided to do the worst dinning experience of 2013( please  close your eyes if you don’t want to see this).

6.Worst Dinning Experience of 2013.

I had 2 contenders for this category.

(1) The Voyage Restaurant  – Radisson Blu hotel

(2)  Orela Grill House.

OR 10photo

WINNER:  THE VOYAGE RESTAURANT.

 

SWEEPSTAKE.

Last week, I promised I would do sweepstake and here it is!. Another opportunity to critic a restaurant with me.

In 50 words or less, tell me your best or worst  dinning  experience f0r 2013.

To Enter:

1.Please send me an email with the subject title   – My best or worst dinning experience in 2013 to thecriticng@gmail.com

2.You must be 18 0r older.

3. Since this is for the service critic faithfuls, you must follow @pejuu on twitter and  thepejuu on instagram.

This sweepstake ends by midnight on the 11th January,2014. The winner will be announced shortly after.

Thank you for being a part of my 2013.

HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!!!!!!!!

 

vacay 6

HAPPY HOLIDAYS/ THE FOODIE’S ADVENTURE.

Happy Holidays my darlings,

I cant believe its Christmas already, we were all screaming happy new year just a coupla days  ago. Time does fly indeed.  If you are in Las gidis,  you have probably been having a good time with all the  shows, concerts and owambes that have been happening.If you are like me, that hasn’t done a single fun thing this festive period, now is the time to make your 2013 holiday a memorable one. I have no idea where to start though. Suggestions anyone?

It has been yonks that I have posted a review, how I have missed you all. I am sorry it took so long to reply your emails. I think I have everyone covered now. Thank you for your patience with me. I have been AWOL because I have been on vacation and also because work has been unbelieveably  hectic . I decided to do something different with this post. This was my vacation in pictures, the foodie bit of it.

Whilst I was editing the pictures,I asked myself how i actually ate all these foods. Yes I did, imagine how many gazzilion calories it was? Well, it could have been a gazillion calories , i limited my full meals to once a day and I walked miles and miles everyday on the beach. My jeans definitely felt  a lil tighter at the end of it but not half as bad as i thought it would be . This chic indulged but then, it was a holiday! so if you plan to indulge this holiday, please be sensible about it. if you must indulge, make allowance for exercise and stay active too.

It would be way too tasking to do a review of all these restaurants  I ate at , so I decided to give you my  food vacation in pictures- a sort of pictogram.  It ranged from street foods, to take out ,to michellin starred restaurants.

Vacay 1

Vacay 2

Vacay 3

vacay 4

Vacay 5

vacay 6

vacay 7

vacay 8

vacay 9

vacay 10

vacay 11

vacay 12

vacay 13

vacay 14

vacay 15

vacay 16

vacay 17

vacay 18

vacay 19

vacay 20

vacay 21

vacay 22

vacay 23Vacation destination: Marbella , Spain.

Restaurants I dined at:

Messina

La Moraga

Il Ristorante

Hard Rock Cafe

La Sala

Vacation Destination 2: London, United Kingdom

Prezzo

OXO

Varpiano

L’arte

Wafflemeister

Wok to walk.

This food adventure  further opened my eyes to some of the major gaffes going on in the restaurants in Nigeria. Both restauranteurs and Patrons alike have a long way to go. I also appreciate how far we have gone but there’s still so much room for improvement.

Since its the season for  giving, I am feeling generous, I will announce a new sweepstake next week and also reveal my best and worst dinning restaurants and experiences for 2013.Watch this space.

Whatever you do , be mindful of the reason for the season. Stay safe please.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!