Tag Archives: Food

6 Restaurants in Lagos to Reserve Today

The Coronavirus outbreak resulted in the lockdown of restaurants and a careful re-opening, making us think carefully about our movement to certain places. You wouldn’t want to get to a restaurant and find it filled to its maximum capacity. As people stretch their limbs to explore more after being cooped up, it is smart to ensure places you intend to visit can accommodate you. 

Another thing the pandemic did is make restaurants acclimate faster to the digital environment. Restaurants offer contactless deliveries for orders placed via online platforms, and many offer reservations to track capacity in a bid to enforce social distancing. 

While you plan a get-together with your friends for food and drinks, note these restaurants in Lagos offer online or call-in reservation options.

 

  1. Hard Rock Cafe
source: Travel Landers

If you like a mix of great cuisine, live music events, and a calming ambiance for the little ones (if you have any), Hard Rock Cafe is a perfect fit.  You can make table reservations via a contact number on their website; or make inquiries about other services they offer without being in their outlet physically.

Ease the stress of the day with Happy Hour.

 

2. Cactus 

The sweet tooth has a home in Cactus. From pastry like macaroons and croissants, ice cream in different flavors, gluten-free and vegan options to vegetarian meals, Cactus covers this all. With a great view to add to the list, this is one restaurant you should make an online reservation for before you leave your home.

 

3. Ocean Basket

source: Trip Advisor

Ocean Basket has outlets in Lagos Mainland and Island where they serve a gourmet of seafood and other Mediterranean dishes. If you don’t want to place an order for takeaway or delivery, you can always make reservations to dine in and enjoy the treats of the Sea.

 

4. The Grid Restaurant and Winery

The Grid Restaurant is a hub for African dishes. They also have a selection of continental dishes as well as an extensive drink menu. With murals depicting the Lagos environs and Nigerian Art, the ambiance is satisfactorily cozy. 

For safety reasons, The Grid Restaurant requires making reservations first. It is also open for order deliveries.

 

5. Samantha’s Bistro & Grill

source: Cassie Davies

When we talk about reservations opening doors, Samatha’s Bistro & Grill is high on this list. Her doors are open daily only by making reservations which can be done via their website. 

Meals from Nigerian, Italian, and French cuisines are prepared fresh; this gives you a wide range of options to choose from. Samantha’s Bistro & Grills also has a food delivery system.

 

6. Maison Eric Kayser

With dine-in, takeouts, and reservations available in Eric Kayser, you have the luxury of planning for a magnificent time here in whatever way you prefer. Eric Kayser is both a cafe and a restaurant and the menu spans from hot chocolate and ice cream to lasagna and other pasta dishes. It also has both indoor and outdoor dining options.

 

Popina fine-dining restaurant of Ebonylife place is back!

Exciting news for Lagosians as Ebonylife Place located in Victoria Island, Lagos, well known as the classy multi-purpose event venue has reopened it’s luxury dining restaurant, Popina.

Popina fine-dining restaurant is one of a kind and will continue to have the attention of gourmet lovers! It was temporarily shut down on 19th March 2020 to comply with covid 19 precautionary measures and ensure customer safety.

 

Now life is slowly returning to normal and having fewer covid-19 cases, Popina fine-dining is back to steal the show!

 

Famous visible artist, Gerald Chukwuma put together the incredible style and design of the posh restaurant. The interior has a touch of elegant foreign features and a fusion of colorful African culture. There is also an enchanting poolside terrace for those who prefer fresh air and the outdoors.

       

Gavin Blaauw who is the chief chef elaborated on the unique menu having a rich blend of French methods, Italian flavours, native ingredients, and a top-notch meal presentation. 

Now the tip of the iceberg which a lot of people do not know of yet is that there is a 50% discount on three-course meals ordered from the common menu! This offer kicked off on Saturday 22nd May 2021 and lasts for seven days. The final day for this offer will be 28th May 2021.

 

Who wouldn’t want to be present at this glamorous dining with delicious cuisines at just half the original prices? Make those reservations on time now!

 

To book and for enquiries, +2349139264355 and also connect to them via Instagram on @popina.lagos

 

Maize Pyramids in Nigeria

The groundnut pyramids used to be popular  in Kano city of  (northern Nigeria) and proudly pointed out to visitors. Today, we no longer see such and they seem to have become a thing of the past. However, the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN )has set a new goal for its member states to build Maize pyramids to ensure food security for the nation.

One of the trends in Nigeria are memes around theories on why egg has become expensive lately. Some people couldn’t understand the cause of this. Although many had been informed that the price of corn had skyrocketed, they didn’t comprehend the consequences.

Maize also known as Corn is a staple food with numerous uses, and all parts of it are useful. From its cob to its leaves; corn serves as food for man (from cereals like Cornflakes and Golden Morn to bakers produce) and its by-product serves in the production of feed for livestock (and chickens which lay eggs are among). Its many other functions result in it being referred to as ‘Yellow Gold’ in some developed countries. That is why the increase in the cost of corn caused a ripple effect in the change of price in many household and livestock items.

There is good news. Recently, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, started on moves to crash the price of corn in a bid to make it more affordable. From the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) reserves, he intends to release about 300,000 metric tonnes of maize into the market. 

Mr. Godwin Emefiele further plans to check critical stakeholders by working in line with government bodies in order to put a halt to the forces manipulating the market and creating artificial scarcity of the product that has caused the hike in its market price.

A fact to note about corn is that it can grow almost anywhere and it is useful not only in Nigeria. This begs the question: why is the bulk of corn used in our country imported instead of grown for home use and exportation when Nigeria has supple lands? 

In order to increase the growth of corn in Nigeria, the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) has crafted the first national maize pyramid in Nigeria; an event is open for the public at the Katsina Town Ship Stadium on the 6th of May, 2021. The program kicks off at 10 am, with activities for 2021 wet season farming. Dignitaries such as the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, the governor of Kebbi State, Alh. Abubakar Atiku, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, is set to attend the event.

It is with this flagship program, MAAN expects the same level of commitment for corn harvest from other state chapters. 

 

My Corn Experience

Bukola says if you order food in a restaurant and there is corn-on-the-cob amongst the options, it is going to be an expensive meal. This is true. It’s almost amazing how this saple food can be transformed in a variety of ways to increase its value, and presence in dishes.

For me, corn holds a special meaning. It reminds me of rainy days and evenings spent looking over a vendor’s open cauldron of boiling water choosing the juciest corn in the lot to buy. It reminds me of cozy moments seated in the midst of my siblings munching on boiled corn all the while telling myself not to think of the regret I’ll have when it gets stuck between my teeth. 

Corn to me is warmth, and as its season approaches though I am not home with my family, I can’t help but be overwhelmed with an unexplainable joy. 

The Naija Corn Festival organized by TBAH is another reason the corn season this year holds a special appeal to me. It is more than just corn; it is me sharing the joy I derive from the food with other people, and learning more of its uses.

It’s fascinating how corn as a food is malleable. Growing up, I only ever ate boiled corn with pear (left to become tender in hot water then rubbed over in salt before eating). I couldn’t imagine any other pairing with it. Although my older brother preferred his corn ‘roasted’, we all ate corn with pear. 

During the mandatory year Nigerian youths spend in a programme called NYSC (National Youth Service Corps), I spent my time outside the state I grew up in. There, I encountered people savouring corn with coconut. At first, I couldn’t grasp how such a pairing would taste, but trying it out reminded me why you can eat a meal in one form, and still be amazed by its flavour when it is made differently. That is the beauty of food.

I became curious about other ways and with other pairings corn can be enjoyed. Some popular meals with corn as a core ingredient in Nigeria are:

Akamu/Ogi: The raw form of ogi is made from yellow or white corn. There is no Nigerian household that doesn’t know ogi. In many homes, having ogi as part of your breakfast is a Saturday tradition.

Jollof Rice and Corn: Nigeria is renowned for its smokey jollof rice recipes. An upgraded form of party jollof rice is jollof rice with corn. It is not uncommon to find sweet corn in fried rice amongst other ingredients, but with jollof rice, it unlocks a whole new flavour.

Igbagwu Oka: This is of Igbo origin. It is made with fresh corn, dried corn, spices, vegetable oil, termites then wrapped in Uma leaves and boiled.

Beans and Corn Porridge (Adalu): This delicacy is made by boiling beans and shelled corn mixed with spices and palm oil.

Corn Fufu: This is made with a mix of corn flour and cassava flour, and enjoyed with soup. It is usually made to cater to a large crowd in parties.

What corn foods have you tried out, and which is your favourite?

 

Turkish tea

 

 

Most mornings when I wake up, my favourite way to start the day is with a hot cup of black tea with a Turkish blend.

Don’t look at it as your regular tea mix because it’s famous around the globe, rich in ingredients, tasty like none other, and has great health benefits! Whether or not you’ve visited Turkey, you most likely must have heard about Turkish tea. 

 

Turkish tea is made with black tea and is drank differently from how the British take theirs. Turkish locals take their tea black without milk or lemon but with sugar.

Turkish tea is produced in Turkey, in Rize province, and is actually prepared as black tea however it is world known for it’s rich red colour. The unique tea came about to be in the late 1930s, from a plant called Camellia Sinensis and a fascinating feature of the tea is that it’s produced without any additives or chemical substances.

 

Traditional Turkish tea is usually made in a double teapot, the bigger pot is used to boil up water, then it’s poured into the smaller teapot containing the tea and it’s allowed to brew for 15 minutes before drinking. 

This tea remains special and has stayed popular because of its many health benefits. One of the many ingredients in Turkish tea include flavonoids which have antioxidants and can help prevent high cholesterol, heart attacks, weight gain, stroke, high blood pressure, etc 

 

According to British dietician, Lesley Reid~ “The common cuppa is well-known anecdotally for its stress-relieving properties, but scientists have found that it can actually reduce anxiety levels by up to a quarter. Research has also shown that black tea may even help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in adults with mildly high cholesterol levels.”

Modern-day Turkish tea bags can easily be found in local supermarkets around you but any day you find yourself in the beautiful country, Turkey, be sure to try out a nice cup of traditionally made Turkish tea. 

 

Food vs Drinks

Every time my group of friends and I plan an outing, there is always a tug of war. When exploring a new place, is it better to go for food or for drinks?

It is a popular belief that one of the ways to explore the surprises a culture holds is through the delicacies peculiar to them; Italians have pasta prowess, Parisians are pastry masters, and Nigeria is where you go for Jollof rice. These countries have a gourmet you would love to try when you travel there, but the popular idea is to go for food.

Food does have a wide range from vegetables to meat, grains to legumes, and all are made with different spice combinations in different parts of the world. But, what about drinks? 

Drinks span from the alcoholic to the non-alcoholic variety like sodas, wines, cocktails, mocktails, herbal teas, coffee and so much more. It is amazing that many countries and cultures have drinks that are also peculiar to them and their recipes have been passed on. Some examples of these drinks are palm wine in the Philippines, eggnog in the UK, and mate in Argentina.

Many cocktails and mocktails we have in bars today have been blended into menus worldwide and it is almost impossible to tell their origins. 

So, is it better to go for food or drinks when exploring a new place?

A lot of times, the mood and the person or persons involved determine the choice. Some people are picky eaters and would not go out of their way to eat unfamiliar dishes while others love the thrill of the unknown. With picky eaters, it is usually safer to try out drinks instead. Group hangouts with a lot of interaction intended, also tend to talk over drinks. 

Sometimes, it’s the food. A lot of joy comes from trying out different flavours especially when one knows it is not something they get to try all the time.

My friends and I will always go with food over drinks and choose to chew while simultaneously trying to talk at the same time.

Lagos Restaurants to visit on a Budget

My friend Vanessa and I sat in silence trying to count the places we had visited in Lagos in the last three months. This yielded abysmal results, but we comforted ourselves with the thought that Lagos is an expensive place to even breathe in. 

It didn’t change the fact that we were slowly becoming inept in social interactions and our outdoor lifestyle was suffering greatly, and this couldn’t be blamed on Coronavirus alone. We sat with plain sheets in front of us and our phones keyed on the Instagram page of a food blogger, Foodmap, to create a list of places to visit in Lagos with a five thousand naira budget.

O’Shey Bar & Chops

The first thing Vanessa and I agreed on was we were going to celebrate our re-entering into society with drinks, music, and generally a good time. And because drinking is more fun with company, in the nighttime, and on Fridays; it became a group outing on a Friday evening.

source: foodmap

O’Shey Bar & Chops offers a spill of cocktails, mocktails, and chops ranging from #500-#45,000 with a cool ambiance, funny wall notes, and great music to crown it all. 

With our 5k budget per head, it was more than enough to call it a successful outing back into society.

MyYa’s Cafe

Excluding the fact that I am obsessed with the word ‘Cafe’, MyYa’s Cafe was high on our visit list because it teleports you into Saturday no matter the day of the week you are in.

With waffles made straight up on your order, you get the privilege to watch the waffle iron heat up and dazzle your nose with the batter preparation. Also, choosing the toppings for your waffles has never been more exciting with the variety on the list.

A 5k budget couldn’t get you anything better or in a more cozy setting.

The Chops Factory

One undeniable fact is that a lot of Nigerians love small chops. We were on that list, so imagine a place where their forte is small chops, finger foods, and grills. It was terribly hard not to hide in the kitchen and haunt it for life.

source: the chops factory

The Chops Factory menu was as exciting as the taste with combo prices ranging from #600-#12000. A splurge could not be resisted, but one can definitely sit comfortably amongst the cute greenery and enjoy one of Nigeria’s favourite menu on a 5k budget.

So Fresh

Vanessa periodically is on some kind of fruit-based or green diet, and that is why it made sense to add a healthy meal place to the list. 

source: sofresh.ng

Parfaits, fresh-pressed juices, salads, sandwiches are So Fresh’s territory, and having a filling bite that doesn’t make one smile while chewing and spit it out behind in the presence of company is a feat for ‘healthy’ dishes for me.

You can definitely fill up while being healthy and still be on track with your spending budget.

5 Curious Food Choices

One thing is absolutely certain – I love food. If I were to be paid by the hours I spent fantasizing about food, I’d have been a millionaire ages ago. 

To me, food is like falling in love over and over again; it is a constant resurgence of excitement knowing I am about to eat something delicious and it amps up like butterfly wings flapping furiously if it is something I haven’t tried or have been curious about for a while. 

I know it is because of this intense relationship I have with food, I find myself thinking about the taste of certain meals I have never tried before.

There are certain dishes my soul believes will leave a permanent mark on my taste buds simply by staring at pictures of them or recipes of them, and as a result, my brother suffers the brunt of countless food experiments that turn out edible, but most times inedible.

With the year tapering into my favourite part because of the Harmattan weather, my curiosity about these dishes has been revved up. 

BUBBLE TEA (BOBA TEA)

I love tea. One of my fondest memories with my father was trying out his collection of different flavoured teas he kept in a special cabinet in the kitchen. 

Because of our shared love for it, I was very proud to be the one to make his select choice of tea for the day where he never let anyone else. Together, we would sit and sip tea without uttering a word to each other as the scent of flavoured tea drifted around us. This is partly why I am curious about Bubble Tea.

Bubble Tea originated in Taiwan in the 1980s but is served today in almost every part of the world. The distinctive factor of Bubble tea is the addition of black or white boba pearls which are made from tapioca. 

There is a wide variety of Bubble Tea flavours but its main ingredients are tapioca, milk, brewed tea, creamer, and sugar.

TACOS

One show that was gold for me growing up was ‘Victorious’ on Nickelodeon, and in an episode heavy on inference from the movie ‘The Breakfast Club’, Robbie and Cat try out tacos for the first time. This scene added tacos to my curious food list.

Tacos are a very popular Mexican dish and are usually made with corn or wheat tortilla folded around a filling of beef, cheese, spices, and vegetables. I can’t get over the sound of crunch when biting into it; my inner foodie knows I’ll love this dish.

MACARONS

The day I stumbled into the video-making process of Macaron, was also the moment it got bumped high on my curious food list. Macarons are like babies; sensitive, expensive, and need a lot of patience to make.

Macarons originate from Italy. It is a small cake or cookie made from ground almond powder or coconut, sugar, flavouring, and a number of other ingredients to give a crispy yet chewy and melty feeling. Or so it has been described, I can’t wait to find out for myself.

They are small, cute, colourful and simply a delight to stare at.

BUNNY CHOW

I am a bread lover. Growing up, my mother indulged this with the strong stand that over time I would get tired of it and simply give it up. Mornings with my family growing up had bread in it, and on the days it didn’t I longed for it. Decades later, I haven’t still gotten over bread.

Bunny Chow or Bunny is a South African dish made with hollowed-out bread filled with curry. The curry consists mainly of meat chunks, a selection of aromatic curry spices and beans, as well as a number of ingredients.

It is popular street food in South Africa said to have originated from Indian South Africans in Durban. As long as it is paired with bread, I am sure this combination would be orgasmic.

KIMCHI

My curiosity over Kimchi goes beyond the health benefits of this dish of fermented vegetables like cabbage and radish made with various kinds of seasonings to give it a sweet and sour texture.

It is the picture of exploring an entire culture system with this food that has been on the menu for Koreans for ages, and hopefully finally understanding why a Korean meal isn’t complete without Kimchi, especially when that meal is ramen.

Have you tasted any of these foods, and what foods are on your curious food choice list?

Croissants in Paris

Do you have a food obsession? 

Food obsessions are like an upgraded form of food cravings and I know this feeling well because when I was younger, I used to be obsessed with croissants even before I tasted them.

My first experience happened quite accidentally later that year. It was the end of a school day, the sun was hot and I was standing by the ice cream wagon fantasizing about the flavour I would get when my gaze snagged on a yellow wrapper in a refreshment kiosk with the word CROISSANT on it. Of course, it was too pricey for me so I saved up a week worth of my lunch money until I was able to buy one.

I still remember the feeling I had biting into the baked flaky outer crust to crash into soft buttery insides filled with rich melted chocolate. It was more than just croissants; it was the taste of discipline, longing, and yumminess. 

It tasted like victory, and my food obsession grew even stronger from then.

Years later while I watched an episode of ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ where a sister had a craving and flew to the country of origin to sate it, my mind drifted back to croissants. Although Austrian in origin, croissants are most popular as one of the top delicacies to try out in Paris and are paired with a variety of foods from whipped cream to fruits like strawberries.

It might be because the name sounds so exotic saying it out loud feels like you are immediately teleported mentally to a quaint cafe at a corner in Paris feeling a gentle breeze flutter the scarf around your neck while you take in the scenery with warm croissants between your fingers, but this pastry is a must-have.

 

I’m no ‘Emily in Paris’ but the lure of croissants, romance and a healthy dose of curiosity puts Paris as my next travel destination. 

What food are you willing to travel the globe for?

Next stop — Bole Festival

Let’s play a game named: Live, Ditch, and Travel. 

In this game, you are given three states in a country. From these states, you select one you would like to live in, another you would rather ditch, and one you would love to travel to.

Are you ready? 

Let’s pick three renowned states in Nigeria; Port Harcourt, Lagos, and Abuja. 

Before you make your selection, I’ll tell you mine. But, because nothing can top the scale of excitement when it comes to exploring new things, I’ll give one fact about the state I would travel to.

After a 10-Hour Road Trip to Port Harcourt, the state was still unknown with her own cultural system, social preference, tourist sites, and local delicacies to explore.

I was excited to see what Port Harcourt had up its sleeves and one discovery that would take me back there anytime is actually what the state is most popular for.

There are certain things that are regarded as facts in life like how you’ll die if you didn’t breathe or the knowledge that the sun is scorching. This is one of them: the best Bole is found in Port Harcourt.

Hear me out, prior to my experiencing the orgasmic taste of Port Harcourt’s bole and fish combination, I was largely indifferent to it. 

Bole is a ripe or semi-ripe plantain that has been roasted on a metal mesh suspended over hot charcoal until it is well cooked on the inside and tan on the outside. Growing up, in Benin city, bole was sold by food merchants on the roadside with toasted groundnut. Although it is a nice combination, I wouldn’t lose sleep over it. 

Ripe and un-ripe plantain, all you need for bole.

In Port Harcourt, Bole is like a standalone meal and sold in restaurants as part of the menu. It is usually served with spicy tomato and pepper sauce fried in palm oil giving it a unique taste loaded with spices alongside juicy and savory roasted fish. Together, the sweetness of the bole, the juiciness of the roasted fish, and the spiciness of the tomato sauce balance one another to give a sublime taste.

Bole – stand alone meal at Portharcourt restaurants

I can’t tell if it is because the tomato sauce is made with palm oil or this taste can only be unlocked in Port Harcourt because Bole anywhere else doesn’t taste like the variety I had in Port Harcourt.

Port Harcourt’s Bole and Fish delicacy are so popular there is a festival called The Bole Festival- a food celebration created in 2016 in dedication to this delicacy. 

There is no better hangout than one crowned with food. 

To celebrate the rich culture and heritage of the land, The Bole Festival is unrivaled in its scenic arrangement where people of all ages and social classes are joined for a day in laughter and sampling of culture through food. 

Bole Festival 2016

The best bonds are created over food and shared experiences, and it is an experience to have once in your lifetime. Even better with a group of friends to point out all you miss on this unforgettable trip.

That been said, I would Live in Abuja (why not? The delights here also need a movie creation of its own), Ditch Lagos (No offense to this state that never sleeps), and Travel to Port Hartcourt.

What State would you Live in, Ditch, or Travel to?