The Official IJGB* Guide to Lagos - 2016 Edition

*IJGB (I Just Got Back)

IJGB /eye-jay-gee-bee/ 

The official term used to denote a fresher in Lagos. One who has probably just hopped off a plane at Murtala Mohammed Airport and is ready to pioneer all possible rocks in Lagos. 


Another Christmas, eh? You IJGBs are back in time with your FX stimulus package. Since you've been away, our President has tried to kill us. I can't even laugh at you guys when you ask for the MTN recharge code again. Lagos has done a proper number on us. 

Oh well, while you were away, Lagos changed. Here's the lowdown on what's popping.

 

Where to Eat

Craft Gourmet

Craft Gourmet is the new IT restaurant right now. Remember RSVP when they opened? Yeah, that's Craft now. Sunday brunch at Craft Gourmet is the new Southern Sun Sundays (Southern Sun prices are too much abeg). They have the perfect lighting for all your Instagram and Snapchat tensioning. 

 

BL Restaurant

BL Restaurant has the worst restaurant name in Lagos. They also have the best hummus in Lagos and a top 5 pizza so it all evens out. Oh, the ribs at BL are to die for. 

 

Where to Drink

Zenbah

Cocktail bars have never been a thing in Lagos, have they? Honestly can't remember. But then again, I only 3/4 years of proper Lagos experience. Either way, Zenbah should probably be your pregame move if you have no hands at SIP. You know you IJGBs like speaking english when they bounce you.  

 

My Coffee

Lagos got ANOTHER coffee shop. It's significantly more expensive, but My Coffee has better "food" options. 

 

Where to... Lagos?

#EatDrinkFestival

LOL...duh

OtherNosa OIJGB, LagosComment
EDL Weekender: Food Festivals and Car Shows

EAT: Fiesta of Flavours

NOSA: Food festivals are the move this weekend. There's like 3 of them, I think, but Fiesta is probably the one we'll check out because our fave, Heels in the Kitchen, will be concluding her Fusion tour there. 

FOLLY: Fiesta of Flavours is at Harbour Point on Sunday + Monday. You'll have to pay N1000 to get in.

 

DRINK: Pop Your Bubble Tii Cherry

NOSA: If you've never tried Bubble Tii, this weekend is probably a good weekend to start. 

FOLLY: I will confess I've never had it, but I've always want to try bubble tea. 

 

LAGOS: Classic Car Day

EMEKA*: Calling all vintage car lovers!  Had a glimpse of some vintage rides that will be there and they're too sweet! Can't wait to see all the cars thats come out for the day. Looking forward to taking pictures with them like they're mine. 


OtherNosa OweekenderComment
EDL Taste Test: Craft Gourmet Got Tacos!

 

NOSA: In the last week or so, Craft Gourmet has done some major work on their menu. A lot of new additions and none more noticeable than the tacos. Putting tacos on your menu is like a bat signal for me because I love the hell out of some tacos.

NOSA: I really wanted the goat tacos, but those weren’t available so we had to settle for the chicken and the fish. 

FOLLY: Same here, especially since it was pulled goat as opposed to slices or cubes. 

 

PRICE

NOSA: The Tacos are in the 3500 - 6000 range. The ones we got, in particular, were N4200 for the chicken and N5500 for the fish.

FOLLY: Which to me is a bit expensive - Crossroads level expensive. Before Crossroads lost their marbles and damn near tripled the cost of everything on their menu, it used to be N2800 for their fish tacos. Bottle's "3 Amigos" is also in that N3000- N3200 range currently. 

 

SIZE

NOSA: The other day, I saw a food person on Instagram make “tacos” with pita bread. Don’t think I’ve been that scandalized in my entire life. So it was a bit of a relief when Craft Gourmet offered actual tortillas. If you’re going to offer “authentic” tacos, the least you can do is to not stray from the core essence of a taco.

Anyway, that's for another day.

Compared to other tacos in Lagos restaurants, the Craft Gourmet tacos are bigger than anything you’ll find. 

FOLLY: Most people do three, but Craft's is duo of tacos and considering how big each one is, I think that's fair. 

NOSA: Just look at it, it’s a quarter to a burrito. 

 

TASTE - Fish Tacos

NOSA: There aren’t any rules to it, but I’d have loved it if the fish was battered and fried. Again, there’s not “right way”. This is just personal preference 

NOSA: The fish tacos could have done with some flavor. Everything felt so bland. Maybe it’s my inner Nigerian talking, but some spice would’ve taken this a long way.

FOLLY: First, what I liked: It was remarkable was how fresh all the veggie ingredients in the tacos (and teh pico de gallo) were. Everything was crunchy and the lime in the cream added a much welcome tang to the entire thing.

Now, just like Nosa I also felt the actual fish was missing something. I scooped some of the "mashed avocados" from the chicken tacos on to this and it tasted a lot better. The owner of Craft Gourmet said she feels she may switch these up a bit, and I agree, cause the fish tacos need an extra ooomph. 

 

TASTE - Chicken Tacos

NOSA: The chicken tacos were as solid as it gets. No frills here. Like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. Does a job and keeps it moving. Also like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, it’s boring as shit. Like an empty soul, the chicken is devoid of a personality. 

FOLLY: I fully disagree with Nosa on the chicken tacos and I thought the chicken tasted pretty good and the "mashed avocados" gave it something that the fish was lacking. 

NOSA: And what on earth was going on with the guacamole? It tasted like mashed avocados and not actual guacamole.

FOLLY: That's because it was "mashed avocados" fam and not guacamole, the menu was pretty explicit. 

NOSA: They weren't very good.

 

VERDICT

NOSA: Both tacos were well made, but they feel like they’re missing something. A little something to tie them in. Maybe some sour cream or some cheese. I have no idea, but it just tasted incomplete.

FOLLY: La Taverna chef said the other day that he toasts the tortillas before making his tacos, I think that could also be something here. 

NOSA: Both tasted like something a chef with no Tex Mex experience made. Instructions followed to the T, but nothing exciting. Think Jamie Oliver and his take on Nigerian jollof. Or Gary Neville as a right back. Despite its flaws, you might not find a better taco in Lagos, which is ultimately a big shame. 

Utopia Wants to be Lagos' Next "IT" Restaurant

Utopia Restauarant

Goriola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos

 

NOSA: Gist has it that the guys who ran Rhapsody split up for some reason and one of them went ahead to set up his own thing, Utopia.

FOLLY: Interesting name choice. 

NOSA: Well, not really gist. That’s what the guy who supplies the meat told us. Same guy also owns La Boucherie where I didn’t like my steak. But that’s a story for another day.

FOLLY: He was a really pleasant man.

utopia new restaurant VI-1.jpg
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NOSA: The menu at Utopia is very much like a Chili’s or an Appleby’s. A little bit of everything is what I’m getting at. From pasta to ribs to quesadillas, Utopia is like a “generalist” restaurant. 

FOLLY: Generalist restaurants aren't really that good but I felt Utopia would be different. I should add that they have an extensive (and EXPENSIVE) "From the butchers" section, and they get their meat from the man who supplies meat to everyone in Lagos. 

NOSA: To start, we got the Chicken Lollipops and the Utopia Fries (aka chili cheese fries).

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I liked the chicken pops, but I hated them also. Don’t really know how to explain it with words. I didn’t get an A in WAEC English so you might have to bear with me here.

FOLLY: I didn't like these but I think that's a personal preference and not because these were actually bad (they weren't). 

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NOSA: The chicken pops are basically chicken escalope balls with a whole bunch of “nacho” cheese drizzled on. The cheese didn’t really work for me. Drizzling anything with cheese is a fantastic idea on paper, but it didn’t quite work here

FOLLY: Another person would have loved the idea of spicy cheese. I also think I'm to blame for these I was expecting sticky chicken lollipops and I didn't read the menu description. Actually, it wasn't my fault because the restaurant is poorly lit and the menu text is faint beige on black and so is IMPOSSIBLE to read. Yup, Utopia's fault.  

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NOSA: The chili cheese fries were incredibly disappointing for me. They weren’t bad per se, but I expected they’d taste a lot better compared to how it looked. These were like cheesy stew with fries. 

FOLLY: This were okay but didn't blow me away. I prefer what HSE Gourmet did. 

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NOSA: The real star of the show was my main, the Brazilian Pork Ribs. Now, I have no idea if those were actually Brazilian ribs, but I can tell you for a fact that the ribs were delicious. They aren’t the most tender, but they were tender enough. 

utopia new restaurant VI-7.jpg

FOLLY: I kept trying to ask Nosa JAMB questions and man was like "Can't you see I'm eating". I had the Pesto Shrimp Linguini.

NOSA: Folly’s pasta needed a lot of salt. 

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FOLLY: Entire plate was bland, even the shrimp. 

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NOSA: Her whole plate was like the chef has never seen seasoning in his life. 

FOLLY: Also told me lies as the pasta should have been linguini and not spaghetti.

POSTSCRIPT

NOSA: On the whole, I’d come back. The food didn’t blow me away, but it’s good enough to warrant a revisit. 

FOLLY: Even if just for their cocktails. They made a solid Caipirinha, on the first attempt too, unlike some people... 

VERDICT

DAMAGE

Mojito - N2500

Caipirinha - N2500

Utopia Fries - N3000

Chicken Lollipops - N3900

Brazilian Ribs - N12500

Pesto Shrimps Linguini - N6500

 

PARKING

They need to sort that out. 

Where to Eat in Lagos This Month

Today, we go over our reviews in November and select a couple of our favorites for you to check out this month. This month, there’s a heavy helping of Lekki and a couple best-kept-secrets.


Jamski

Of all the Jamaican spots springing up, this is by far the most authentic of the lot. Authentic in the sense that the only Nigerian you’ll run into is the security guard. It’s still rough around the edges, but that adds a certain charm to it. 

Eat.Drink.Lagos Review

Ologun Agbaje Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. 

catering@jamskinigeria.com

 

Toasties by BiscuitBoneBlog 

We’ve seen her grow from a blog for recipe experiments to an actual physical location. We’ll be honest, there’s an emotional attachment to this one. You can’t, however, deny her culinary genius. You have to try the Steak and Egg toastie HAVE to, the pesto is amazing. 

Eat.Drink.Lagos Review 

Nakenohs Blvd. 4, Bank Rd (Murtala Mohammed Drive), Ikoyi, Lagos

0908 016 1647

 

La Taverna - Lekki

A Tex Mex restaurant in Lagos is a risk. A Tex Mex restaurant in Lekki is downright crazy. La Taverna has bravely jumped into the Lekki restaurant space with a strictly Tex Mex menu. Only time will tell if the market is ready. Their margaritas won't blow you away but you can't go wrong with the Jameson Ginger or their classic mojito. 

Eat.Drink.Lagos Review

Freedom Way, 3rd Roundabout, Ikate Lekki, Lagos

0817 596 47750817 596 4738

 

Gidi Gourmet

Unlike others on this list, Gidi Gourmet doesn’t have a physical location. This lack of physical location hasn’t stopped them from serving the best comfort food Lagos you can get for a lunchtime delivery.

Eat.Drink.Lagos Review

0803 419 3311

 

HSE Gourmet

Lekki is going through some sort of dining revolution. The old restaurants that exist solely for the purpose of laundering money are on their way out and proper restaurants are on their way in. HSE Gourmet Cafe is one of the latter. Their menu has a lot of Asian influences but there's also a ridiculously good Shrimp Po Boy and spiked iced teas that you should probably try out. HSE Gourmet is a Lekki must-eat.

Eat.Drink.Lagos Review

Plot 2 Emma Abimbola Cole Street, Lekki 1, Lagos.

0703 031 88290809 086 5298