Archive for June, 2019

  • Culinary Delights
    Atmosphere

    Atmosphere Lagos the trendiest rooftop in Lekki Phase 1

    When I came across the Atmosphere restaurant online, the images made me excited to check it out. As I made my inquiries I found out the restaurant was not yet opened, however flipping through their Instagram page one would think the restaurant is fully open and functioning. I was excited to know more about this place, that looked so lively on Instagram. Upon further investigation, I discovered that the restaurant is owned by serial entrepreneur and television producer Tola Odunsi.

    Atmosphere

    It turns out that the reason why the restaurant seemed like it was open online, is because while the restaurant is fully finished the images I saw were from a tasting they had in order to get feedback on their menu from future customers. I thought it would be a good opportunity to check out this Atmosphere and also give feedback on my experience.

    On this occasion, I went with a woman who I really like and admire, Bolanle Olukanni. She is a media personality, journalist and founder of God’s Wives Foundation a self-worth empowerment center/NGO.  Bolanle and I have one thing in common, we both used to live and go to school in Kenya at some point in our lives. We ended up bumping into Sharon Ooja who you some of you might know from the television series Skinny Girl in Transit, Men’s Club and other amazing projects.

    Atmosphere

    The ambiance at the Atmosphere reminds me of a modern rooftop botanical garden. Upon entry, you see the beautiful green leafed decoration and bright lights. The vibe at the Atmosphere is very chic. The space is bright and very spacious. What I love about this rooftop is that it’s breezy and perfect for stargazing, it also has a seating area, which has a giant LED Screen which seems ideal for weekend sport matches and intimate movie screenings. The restaurant is very large, in fact, the Atmosphere has several seating options, two indoors and two main outdoor terrace seating areas.

     

    We chose to sit at the far end of the restaurant outdoors. The breeze was pleasant and the view of Lekki which can be rather chaotic during the day, at night is surprisingly relaxing. The menu was brought over and I decided to have the surf and turf which was served with tiger shrimp, some steak and pasta noodles. The food was tasty. I remember being exceptionally hungry that day, so the waiter brought over some house suya, which was the cherry on top of my dinner.

    Bolanle had the lasagna and she really enjoyed it, I tasted some and it was good, the perfect combination of cheese, tomatoes, mince-meat, and lasagna leaves.  Sharon had the grilled fish, she says it’s her favorite thing on the menu.

    Atmosphere

    Bolanle Olukanni

     

    Here is what Bolanle had to say;

    “Rooftop restaurants always give a feeling of euphoria. The combination of the view and breeze is perfect.  It was very trendy and had a great vibe. I loved my Lasagna and enjoyed all of my drinks. It’s a combination of Jozi and New York in one and I am going to become a regular there”-Bolanle Olukanni.

    The menu at the Atmosphere is extensive, you can pretty much everything from a simple burger to pasta, chicken and seafood-based dishes, African dishes as well as continental. They have an array of signature drinks mocktails and cocktails.

    The food came out on time, it was fresh and tasty. The staff is also very professional and kind. I liked the fact that they had a full staff present despite not being open. Why management made this decision?  Because they want their staff to learn on the job and want to be able to give feedback openly. The management is clearly very hands-on and pays extra attention to detail which is reassuring as this is important for the restaurant business.

    I’m looking forward to coming back again when they are fully open in July 2019. This place will definitely be the next hot spot in Lekki, it is perfect for a large group dinner, hangouts, daily lunches, business meetings and much more. To put it simply… it’s a vibe.

    Who knows… while enjoying the vibe, food, and atmosphere you might run into your favorite celebrity, as the Atmosphere has been visited by many well-known faces. Just take a look at their Instagram page.  Let me know about your experience when you go.

    In the meantime follow us on Instagram @bdculinarydelights  

    Rating

    4.5 stars 

    Contact

    Instagram @atmosphererooftop

    theatmosphererooftop@gmil.com

    (This review was done by  Lehlé Baldé for BusinessDay Media)

  • Culinary Delights
    Chef SIA

    Chef SIA-The Cordon Bleu trained chef taking Nigerian cuisine to the world

    Chef SIA, Simisola Idowu Ajibodu is a budding chef and entrepreneur based in London, England and Lagos, Nigeria. Her mantra, “To Cook Is To Be Happy,” captures her passion for creativity and fusion of great food.

    Trained by the esteemed Le Cordon Bleu London, Chef Sia, with a long-term focus on opening her own restaurant,  is currently living a life of respect, innovation, and passion for both people and food. As a Chef, her aim is to reinvent the image of Nigerian flavors using fresh produce and creating a new avenue for all foods to coexist.

    It’s not every day you get a proper Chef hosting a dinner in Lagos, so I was excited to go to a private tasting a few days before her roundtable along with some amazingly talented Nigerian culinary  gaints like Chef Benedict, Chef Alex, Chef Duharte, Chef Obehi amongst others as well as food writers and bloggers.

    Chef SIA

    As I arrived at the Ikoyi residential address, I was excited to taste the mouth-watering food I had previously seen on the menu. The tasting was an opportunity to taste the food items on the menu and give feedback in time for the actual roundtable.

    Chef SIA

    The dinner started shortly after we arrived and after a brief introduction of the menu by chef Sia, the dinner was off to a good start. On the menu was  Panko fried plantains with rodo jam and oxtail pepper soup, which is slow cooked oxtail in a pepper soup gravy with ehuru pie crust. The next dish was fish banga with poached fish which was really tasty. I really enjoyed how rich and balanced the dish was. The flavor permeated through each inch of the fish. The next meal was the rosemary lamb which was rosemary tuo with penja roasted lamb. I like how we got to taste different meals that all complimented each other. We ended the meal with the Chef ‘s crumble which is mixed fruits topped with lavender gari crumble and a petit fours which is mint bliss jelly and Zobo truffle. Overall I found the food experience unique and the food tasty.

    Chef SIA

    I had the opportunity to speak with Chef Sia and find out about her passion for food and culinary experiences. Excerpts

    What inspired  you to become a chef? 

    When I was much younger, let’s say between the ages of 6-8, I was fascinated by baking and cooking. I watched my grandma and mother cooking and was always transfixed. Fast forward to boarding school, my favorite class was Food Technology and I knew then that I wanted to be a chef. 3 degrees and a few jobs later, I decided to go to culinary school and I have not looked back

    How do you describe your cuisine? 

    This is an easy answer for me. I attended Le Cordon Bleu London, where they teach primarily French cuisine. I was quite motivated to use the techniques, I learned to recreate Nigerian dishes. Our traditional dishes are bold and flavor so there is no reason why we can’t re-imagine the way they are presented. For instance, our Jollof Rice can be turned into a rice cracker that is served with ponmo mousse and rodo oil. Why not if not!

    Is the chef business profitable in Nigeria?

    If you are a well-known brand, guests are more willing to want to experience your cuisine. My long-term goal is to open an exclusive modern dining restaurant feeding 15-20 people with a long tasting menu, showcasing locally grown food that is in season. I do hope it is profitable but I am happy for my passion to be experienced through food.

    How has your experience at Ikoyi the popular Nigerian restaurant in London, helped you grow as a chef? 

    Ikoyi has been a wonderful experience. It has allowed my mind to broaden about the wide potential that the West African ingredient has. Having worked  in other restaurants such as Cut at 45 Park Lane, I can boldly say that Ikoyi has been the best learning experience.

    Is the world ready for West African cuisine to become mainstream, similar to the way Italian and American cuisine is?

    East African Cuisine (Ethiopian for instance) is fairly popular. I would say right now it is a novelty. A one time experience with bold flavors. It is going to take a little time (with the help of eager foodies) to take our food to the world!

    What is your favorite Nigerian dish?

     Haha, this is a very difficult answer to give. I would say anything with plantain from gizdodo to mosa to boli to fried & boiled.

    How do your build your clientele?

    Engaging guests can be difficult especially when attempting to sell a service related to food. There can be a tendency to solely focus on social media, however, that does not always translate to guests reserving a seat. I rely a lot on recommendations and over time have built relationships with loyal guests.

    This culinary experience was different than just going to a restaurant to eat, it brings a different flair to your average dinner party and I look forward to booking Chef Sia for an experience or attending the next round table in the near future

    Chef SIA

    To book an experience with Chef Sia contact

    info@chefsia.com

    Rating is 4.5 out of 5

    Total- N25,000 per person

    (This review was done by  Lehlé Baldé for BusinessDay Media)