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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.

Villa Medici 12

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.

Villa Medici 13

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.

The Harbour 6

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.

The Harbour 4

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.

la provence 5

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 !!!!!!!!!!

 

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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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

spice bar 04

SPICE ROUTE- THE REVIEW

Wednesday, 10. 04p.m

Hey everyone,

Writing food reviews has brought me in contact with many fabulous people I never imagined I’d be friends with. I really can’t believe how far I have come, from the girl that rambles on and on about food, to the food writer that I have become today. I couldn’t have done this without you all.  Thank you for all your kind words, encouragement, criticism and even threats sef. It has all made Peju strive to be better.

Recently, I met up with my friends for dinner. These are fab chefs that churn out the good stuff- Chef Fregz, Chef Renee and Chef  Bemigho.  Ollll’ boy, I knew it was going to be a blast. You can imagine how this review went.  Savvy foodies meeting up to review food.  Dinner was at  Spice Route, It is located on Adeola Odeku, the same building with a popular pizza place. The  menu here consists of Eastern and Southern Asian cuisines.

I was shown to the elevator by a polite waiter. Oh wow…..It was totally different from the typical  naija restaurant decor. It had a theme that they followed to a tee! I felt like I was in a totally different place.The decor here was amazing, right from the fabulous stairway (I felt like a  princess walking  down a magnificent flight of stairs  to meet  my prince  charming) to the terracotta guards protecting the imposing image of Buddha to the spice tables and the bangle art wall.The lighting here depicts the atmosphere of a laid back lounge where you could have a nice tete-a-tete, kinda romantic. This could have been because I went at night. We dined alfresco overlooking the main road. The main dinning room was “Moscow” (too cold).

spice bar 04spice bar 08spice bar 10When we called for the menu, the waiter came with 1 copy of the menu, hmmmn, there were four of us, why one menu? We asked for extras, he brought just 1 extra. Until we actually spelt it out to him that there were 4 of us. He  grudgingly brought the extras. Was it  that they didn’t have enough menu cards? Taking about the menu, it was quite well put together in terms of aesthetics.

Renee and I had had our fair share of alcohol for the week and we decided to be good girls. We ordered iced tea, after about 10 minutes,  broda waiter came with our drinks.  Errrr iced tea kwa?  The bros brought us Long Island iced tea. Surely you would expect a waiter to know the difference, of course we sent it back. He came back minutes later with iced tea only this time it was room temperature and it  came without ice!  Hmmn room temperature iced tea? Only in gidi town, iced tea without ice not to talk of sugar rim? Issokay. Before the guy would clear the back of his throat in my drink, I jejely collected it and requested for ice. Chef Renee flatly refused and sent it back yet again, this chic had liver fa. Well, this time the bartender came  himself and asked what the issue was. We explained to him that we didn’t want warm iced tea and explained how we would like  the tea served. He explained to us that it was room temperature because it was freshly brewed tea.  Akiko.  He finally took it and brought back a perfect glass of iced tea. Persistence does pay off.  The final product was nice.  Phewww...all this energy for  just tea.

spice bar 01Whilst we waited , we were served stuffed  poppadum(sp) , jalapeno peppers. with some sort of mint dip with onions. Hmnn, lets just say it didn’t werk at all because none of us could eat  it. We asked the waiter for the name of the dip ; he didn’t know but we knew the base was yoghurt and it had mint  and coriander. The rest was lost on us, possibly a mint chutney i’d say.

spice bar 02We finally placed our orders. For our appetizer we ordered the Dawat-E- Shahjahan( N 5,500-$33)  and Tandoori Jhenga ( N 5,500-$33).  Make una go learn Hindi oh. Well, in simple english, the Dawat-E- Shahjahan was mixed meat platter of chicken, lamb and seafood kebabs. The Tandoori Jhenga was spicy prawns made with select indian herbs and spices. I don’t remember the waiter asking how spicy we wanted it.  When it came, I wasn’t impressed. The dishes were just slapped on the plate with a heap of onions.  Infact, the Dawat-E-Shahjahan looked like overcooked vegetable soup…quite unappealing looking. The Jhenga  was a line of prawns  that had a heap of onions on the side.  Whoever came up with the adage” never judge a book by its cover” didn’t veer far from the truth . I had a piece of the lamb and  I was surprised it tasted that good considering the way it looked. The calamari was even better , crunchy and nicely spiced. I didn’t particularly  like the chicken cos it was somewhat dry. The prawns didn’t  impress me either; in my opinion, the chef  overdid it with the herbs and spices.  Perhaps the Tandoori  Jhenga is supposed to be an acquired taste. The spices were too over powering to enjoy the prawns. It had a bit of a bitter aftertaste because it got charred on the grill I guess.

spice bar 03spice bar 12For the mains, we ordered the Goan Fish Curry (N 2,500-$15)  with the cheese naan bread, the second entree was the  Bhuna Ghosht (N2,400-$14) with steamed white rice (N800-$4). When it came, Chef Fregz said it looked like ata dindin, Chef Renee said it was ofada sauce. I couldn’t stop laughing. Yet again, presentation came into play. The food was just slapped down on the plate, i am not sure they remembered to clean the plates after serving because the sides were messy. That’s a huge turn off. I didn’t  complain because we had  bugged the waiter enough. The cheese naan (Kulcha) was delicious, there was something different about it and it was served hot. The Goan fish curry was very good. The menu described it as  fish  cooked in roasted coconut, fresh mango,  poppy seeds and Indian herbs. Whether it was cooked in all of that, I don’t know but it tasted so dang good. We unanimously awarded it the best meal of the night. It really is a must try with that cheese naan bread.The ata din din Bhuna Ghosht  was like eating white rice and fried stew. That’s definitely not something I would want to eat in a restaurant…at Iya Mayowa’s bukka for a fraction of the price?  Yes I ‘d indulge, the lamb was tender and well seasoned.

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Worthy of mention here is the customer service, despite the fact that  we were not the nicest of customers with our complaints and all, they were still polite and they paid attention to us. When we paid, the waiter came back with the change… shall we  safely assume that things are getting better or did they get served with the Dear Restauranteur letter? They need to pay attention to the plating of their dishes. It is unappealing being served food like that.

spice bar 07spice bar 09spice bar 11We paid (N 28,290-$171) for 2 appetizers, 2 main entrees, 2 sides, 9 drinks. (I  am wondering why we had to pay for rice or naan bread as  side orders , shouldn’t a side dish be served with a sauce?)

Would i go back there? Most likely.

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambience / Aesthetics- 10

Quality of food- 7

Value for money- 8

Customer Service- 8

SPICE ROUTE

36, Adeola  Odeku street

Victoria Island

08080208080, 01-7615555

ekaabo 10

EKAABO RESTAURANT- INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL

Hey lovelies.

How have you all been?  I hope you  have been treating yourselves well, remember you only live once.  Recently, I came across an article on huffingtonpost.com for the lover of cocktails. It was titled “What your cocktails say about you”. Please click here to read about it. I found it funny but it was kinda true….

The hub and I met up with our dear friends for lunch at Ekaabo restaurant at the Intercontinental  hotel, Lagos. I had heard so much about Ekaabo  sunday brunch  but I didn’t take it all too seriously because it was still new so I figured it was  still “initial gra gra” that they  were doing. I bet you know all about the Lagos fad mentality. Also I wasn’t too keen because one of their restaurants didn’t live up to its billing. If u missed my review of Milano Restaurant , please click here.

The dining room at Ekaabo Restaurant  is well apportioned  with optimum use of the space. The layout was tastefully done with gorgeous white skylights suspended from the high ceilings. They also had the imposing champagne wall at the bar like they had at Milano Restaurant.  The most outstanding piece of the décor here is the fountain out on the terrace. With the right lighting, this should be a romantic spot  in the evening for the lovers of alfresco dining. So, to those that have sent emails asking for nice spots for dinner and  romantic spots to propose, this wouldn’t be a bad idea. Did I mention that  for Sunday brunch, there was a live band with one sisi eko  singing sonorously?

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Ekaabo 2ekaabo 8We were greeted by a warm and well clad waitress who showed us to our table. As if on cue, a waiter walked up to us to ask what we would like to drink. He reeled out the list of drinks and I was quite impressed. Well, just so that plate- washing mode won’t be activated after eating, I asked just to be sure that drinks were covered as part of the buffet charge… and yes it was. I believe this  is taking buffet  dining to a whole new level. Your girl ordered  a mimosa whilst we waited for the rest of the clan.

Well, the clan was taking forever so we decided to start without them ( yeah! shoot me Kimps, FBI, Seun  and Funmi)  When we got to the food displays, for a second I was disoriented! There was such a wide variety to choose from. How did these guys pull this off? Talk about being spoiled for choice.  The name needs to be changed from Ekaabo Restaurant to foodie’s paradise  or maybe even chop till you almost quench place. I loved it already. I went to the soup section first. I possibly can’t state everything they had  but I will mention just the ones that caught my attention. Not all the foods were labeled though so I might mix them up.

I   was a bit confused on how to do this post; do I write everything they had or should I just write about what I ate there?  I decided to do a little bit of both. They had quite a number of soups… goat meat peppersoup, fish peppersoup, and seafood chowder to mention a few.  I started with the goat meat pepper soup , For me it was perfect. It was boneless goat meat with just the right amount of spice in the broth…very well made.

ekaabo 4ekaabo 5a.  My saImon and salsa salad  b. Pasta salad  c. Potato salad  d. Greek salad

I drool even as I write this.   I moved on to the salads, they had about 8 different types, and there was a create your own salad bar as well. I had some of the Greek salad, potatoes salad, the mixed vegetable salad with thousand island sauce. I created one with pasta salad with salmon and salsa sauce…you see why I  suggested that they should rename it the chop till you almost quench place. The salads were amazing, my favourite here was the one I created with the pasta salad, salmon and salsa….that salsa was divine.  I had my salad with sourdough bread. They had about 10 varieties of bread .

To one corner sat a cooking dock with chefs willing to answer questions  or whip up  something different from what was available at the display stands. At this dock sat quite a variety. They had shish kebab, barbecue chicken, shish tawouk ,  waffles, pancakes, sausages,  naan bread, spring rolls, etc. They had  all sorts of dips and dressing accompanying  them.  I had some waffles with maple syrup with grilled chicken and some sort of kebab. I had no complaints whatsoever.  It was all nicely done. At this point my glass had been refilled about thrice. It was time to sit and let my bits and pieces digest a little bit.

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ekaabo 7I moved to the mains, I had some fried rice, herbed potatoes with steamed vegetables,  grilled chicken, grilled beef fillet and some sautéed lamb.  I didn’t fancy the fried rice, It was bland.  The sautéed herbed potato and beef fillet were quite nice and well seasoned too. The chicken was a bit dry. And that lamb, was the highpoint for me. It was nicely seasoned and moist…yum! The guys decided to do some local delights , when I saw the assortments of meats, and the variety of local staples available, I knew these people  had “bad” plans for us. Where was all this food supposed to go? Hian! If you know you suffer from gluttony, be well guided that you should steer clear of Ekaabo restaurant otherwise, you’d blame yourself later.

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a. fried rice b. lamb c, beef fillet d, grilled chicken e. herbed potates f. steamed vegetables.

ekaabo 13ekaabo 14I moved on to the desserts, there were quite a number of them. The problem here was that they weren’t tagged so I wasn’t sure of some of them. There were fruit platters, mousses, puddings  and gateaux, See my selection below. I had some black forest gateau, chocolate mousse, strawberry swirl cheesecake and some combination gateau that I couldn’t put a name to. It wasn’t all wow but from my selection, the strawberry swirl cheesecake , the  white chocolate mousse were really nice. ..you know that melt in your mouth goodness.

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ekaabo 11I could go on and on with the number of  fabulous things I ate here but I would be doing them great injustice if i fail to mention the  customer service here. One word describes the  service here- outstanding! The waiters were polite and attentive to a fault. They are definitely in contention for best customer service restaurant. A friend of mine felt it was because they were relatively new  , she was of the opinion that the Naija factor would soon set in … well if that is the case, I would enjoy it while I still can but I doubt it though.

Sunday buffet costs N9500 per person, drinks were included. On a good day i ‘d scream blue murder but I believe this was  good value for money.

Would I go back there? … Absolutely!

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambience / Aesthetics- 9.5

Quality of food- 8

Value for money- 8

Customer Service- 10

EKAABO RESTAURANT (INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL)

52, Kofo Abayomi street

Victoria Island,

01- 2366666.

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PRIMI PIATTI ITALIAN FUSION RESTAURANT-THE REVIEW

Monday 12.00P.M

Salut Gourmandes,

How have you all been? Thanks to all those who sent me  names of places  to add to the list. This girl went on an eating out spree this past week. I probably weigh a million tonnes right now, its time to hit the gym…..I soo need motivation because I have become  lazy ( well not to eat sha).

I have heard mixed reviews from  friends who have visited  Primi Piatti. Nowadays, before I go to any restaurants to dine, I check online just to be have an idea of the menu and what the restaurant is all about. The site described it as an “Italian fusion fine dining  restaurant  with international celebrity chef, Chef Reme Calvin Obaseki”. Sounds good right?

I went to critique this restaurant with a lover of all things luxurious,  Miss Luxury herself … Omu. I knew I was in for a good time. When we drove into the complex, I was shocked. Did I read the description wrongly?  The compound wasn’t much to write about! It had all sorts littering everywhere, from generators to mechanical parts and all. I didn’t know what to think, if Miss Luxury Event Planner had been here and she was willing to come back then, there’s hope yet.

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pp2pp3I felt a little better  when  I got inside.  It was not luxurious by any means but the  tables were  quite nicely laid out. The décor wasn’t  particularly grand infact it was rather casual…(not the tables) In my opinion it was a casual dining restaurant. The most outstanding thing about Primi Piatti was the view, the open deck overlooks the Lagos lagoon, it should be fabulous for alfresco dining. If you are dining alfresco, you should look out for loungers on a tiny island very close by…Big boy levels thinz.

After  briefly chatting with Chef Reme, the waiter handed us the food menu.  I was not particularly impressed.  Yes, it was Italian fusion restaurant but there were Italian staples missing. I didn’t see any ravioli or risotto or even veal! For our starter we ordered Chicken Parma, for main entrée, we ordered Chicken Campaniola and the Seafood Platter. We were informed when we ordered that there was no calamari available for the seafood platter. Whilst we waited, we were served  warm rosemary and garlic bread. I almost begged for the recipe for the bread, it was  so good: soft and delicious….. and yes it was fresh!  It was so good that it was when we finished eating it that I realized I didnt take any pictures of it. I don’t remember being offered the wine list.

First up was our starter, Chicken Parma (N4200- $26) choi, some of these description of meals can make you drool to the heavens . The menu described this starter as grilled tenderized chicken breast infused with fresh avocado and pepperdews  with Madagascan black pepper and lemon aioli (to the best of my knowledge aioli is aioli, what is lemon aioli again?! Lagos and feferity ) Issokkay.  Well , it was worth that fancy description. The combination of the avocado and black pepper with well seasoned chicken in cream and cheese was very nice.  I found it a little salty , Omu didn’t think it was. This brings me to one question, what do you do with garnishing your food is served with…ie  chopped rosemary ,parsley etc used to garnish your plate? I don’t always mix it in.

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The main entrees came,first up was my Chicken Campaniola( N5,200-$32). The menu described this as tenderized chicken breasts, pan fried and simmered in mustard, parmesan cheese, rosemary and a dash of amarula and mushrooms. Hmnnnm, ina su beekee, my interpretation of this meal was creamy pasta served with smoked chicken…. small portion of smoked chicken at that. We all know that chicken portions are generally large but this meal didn’t make the cut in that regard. Yet again, I found this meal a little salty. To be honest I was  not wowed. I love my pasta but this was ordinary…not what I was expecting to eat at a “fine dining restaurant”.

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Omu’s meal was the Seafood Platter(N 8,250-$51)… I am not sure I know anyone who loves seafood more than this chic. Without looking at the menu, she ordered the seafood platter sans calamari. So i guess its safe to say it  was jumbo prawns with fish … are snails seafood?The seafood platter said it was, I dont  know oh, Please enlgihten me .  It was served with pasta garnished with green and red  peppers.  I apologize for the quality picture, I couldn’t get a better shot. I felt the sauce on it was a bit much so I couldnt get a clear picture of the orisirisi I had some of the prawns with the sauce  and it was nicely done….  well seasoned and cooked to perfection. I asked Omu how she liked the fish and she said it was very nice. The pasta that came with the seafood platter  looked quite nice…. Miss Luxury liked it too.

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pp7There’s a growing trend I have noticed these days when I dine out. When you go through the menu , it states one thing and does another.For example, the menu describes your meal as  grilled chicken and turkey breast stuffed with parmesan cheese wrapped in ham served with  mixed salad and all what not. When  the food  is served, you get FRIED chicken stuffed with cheese and coated in BREAD CRUMBS served with the mixed vegetables. Common restauranteur, if your menu says grilled, it should be grilled not pan fried.., unless specifically requested by the diner. The menu said the seafood platter consisted of  snail, calamari , prawns  and fish. Only two of these were served in the seafood platter. Yet we got charged the same amount, I was not expecting a discount but throw something else in.

I love the fact that  I can watch the chef whilst he’s cooking my meal, but please if you are going to have an open kitchen (Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen style), I would like to suggest that you  have a kitchen nice enough to look at.  I had a problem with the way this kitchen looked and that “grocery store window” didn’t werk for me at all.  I know some of this is a norm, re -the ingredients display window but if you call yourself a fine dinning restaurant and some of these are on display you will need to reconsider. See the picture below to understand this better.

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When the chef came back, we told him how we loved the bread. He gave us a loaf on the house. So, thank you for the nice gesture.

We checked the restrooms and it was well kept.

We paid N36,000 for 2 starters, and 4 entrees ( we ordered some take out) – i think it was the Spicy Cajun PrawnsPirates of the Carribean ( a starter) and T- Bone Steak.

Would I go back there? Possibly

If you like fancy and luxurious things like Omu , you should visit her website,  its  www.omuobilor.com

MY SCORE CARD

Layout / Ambience / Aesthetics- 6

Quality of food- 6

Value for money- 6

Customer Service- 7

PRIMI PIATTI

1C Admiralty road, off Admiralty way,

Lekki Phase 1.

08128888886