Culinary Delights

  • Culinary Delights
    tarragon

    Tarragon: Dining experience not a restaurant

    Leaving one’s house to go out to eat should be an experience, in whatever form, going out to eat should be an experience different from what you can have at home.  For months now, I have wondered if there are any culinary experiences or restaurants that I have yet to experience in Lagos, and it turns out that the answer was yes. I had heard of Tarragon from several friends and it is one of the restaurants that I really wanted to check out before the end of the year.

    Read Also: Kohinoor the diamond restaurant in Ikate Lekki

     

    tarragon

     

    I had the opportunity to go to Tarragon a few weeks ago, for a belated birthday dinner celebration with a friend. I must say I was really excited because I had only heard good things about the place.  Firstly, Tarragon Culinary Academy is a consultancy, lifestyle, recreational and academic organization that offers first-class culinary and pastry arts training, hospitality service training, hospitality service consultancy operations and management. They embrace global and ethnic techniques while encouraging their students to express their artistic personalities through culinary art. Tarragon is founded and led by Chef Patron – Tiyan Alile and is the creative Dining Space and Culinary Academy. The restaurant insists on not being called a restaurant but a dining experience and I now understand why.  Tarragon offers an exquisite a la Carte Menu and a Chef’s Tasting Menu designed by Chef Tiyan’s team as well as a live demonstration cooking. The menu exemplifies fundamental French and Nigerian techniques which have been redefined to suit modern palates and epitomizes the creativity which Chef Tiyan encourages her students to assume. The Tarragon brand is replicated in the restaurants which is operated and managed as a means to raise the dining standards in Nigeria. What I find cool is that the food in the restaurant is cooked by the culinary students led by head chef Paul Dylan Pieterse which gives a whole new meaning to putting work into practice. Essentially the restaurant serves as a hands-on training facility for aspiring chefs, waiters and service staff.

    tarragon

    Chef Dylan

     

    Tarragon offers an unmatched fine dining experience. As opposed to casual eateries, cafes or family-style restaurants, fine dining caters to an upscale clientele and provides the highest quality of food. A fine dining restaurant has a formal atmosphere, is almost always a sit-down restaurant, and has a fancier menu than most restaurants. Located in Ikoyi, Lagos Tarragon is known amongst Lagosians and Nigerians at large, as one of the top restaurants in Nigeria. 

    As we drove onto Awolowo road into 50 Raymond Njoku Street I kept hoping that the experience would surpass my expectations, because in my mind I had already put Tarragon on a pedestal due to all the good reviews I had gotten from friends. As we pulled into the parking space, we were warmly greeted by the security guard who said: “Welcome to Tarragon”. I found this endearing because I believe that hospitality should start as soon as you arrive on the premises. One word to describe the decor at Tarragon would be stunning. The décor is intentional and classy. The lights were dimly lit and the atmosphere, very inviting. We were seated and a waiter came over with a menu. There’s genuine warmth to this opulent-looking restaurant, and the Haute cuisine-style menus are even more impressive to taste than they are to look at. I was really hungry, so I was worried about actually getting full because often the assumption is that fine dining equals small portions.

    tarragon

    As I pondered over the menu I decided to have the smoked potato and cheddar soup, croutons. This soup was really delicious, just creamy enough yet had accents of flavour that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, nevertheless the combination was simply divine. As my main meal, I had the chef composition: chicken confit potato, sauteed sweet corn, with sauce supreme. It is a breaded chicken that is carefully cooked and plated to perfection.  For dessert, I opted with the apricot pudding which is an apricot based pudding with apple salsa. The apricot was the icing on top of the meal, it was rich yet not too sweet and each bite was heavenly. My guest had the Esacbeche of red snapper, celery, and apple to start and the pumpkin risotto, crispy sage as their main and the dark chocolate for dessert which is dark chocolate, hazelnut cream, salted caramel, and chocolate nest.

    tarragon

    I had the opportunity to meet the new head chef whose name is Paul Dylan Pieterse. A chef who says he found his love and talent for food and cuisine at the age of 26. One day he decided to make food for his family who really enjoyed it and later decided to get experience at a country lodge which led him to get qualified at Warwick chef school in Cape Town. His love for travel and food has enabled him to cook in different parts of the world from Mauritius, South Africa, and as of two months ago, he moved to Nigeria to be the head chef. He specializes in French cuisine and slow-cooked food and is also the instructor at the Culinary Academy.   I asked him what people can expect at Tarragon in the coming months and he said: “Tarragon aims to be the best restaurant in Nigeria, we want people to expect change and experience an unmatched fine dining experience, we want people to forget everything and come have a good time”.

    To my surprise, while the portions are smaller fine dining portions the food is very filling. I was very full after leaving the restaurant which is an indication that the ingredients. I almost did not want to take out my phone to take pictures because I just wanted to live in the moment and enjoy the experience. The dining area is visionary and it is obvious that they were trying to achieve a certain look and feel with the décor and ambience of the restaurant. The restaurant seats exactly 22 people on the table and chairs and also has space for about 6 at the bar. Recommendations are a necessity in order to avoid any disappointment. I recommend this restaurant to anyone who wants to experience out of this world service and hospitality, those that see value in fine dining experiences and want a very intimate and exclusive place to dine. The food and drinks are of very high quality and the service is the best service I have experienced in a Lagos restaurant. They have monthly themed events like Jazz night. Just call to make an inquiry.

    The restaurant even sent us a thank you email after we left. I found that to be a great finishing touch. I will definitely be back and encourage you all to experience this fine dining experience.

    Reservations

    0817 762 6031

    Total 

    N 69,200

    Rating 

    5 stars

    (This review was done by Lehle Balde on behalf of BusinessDay Media)

  • Culinary Delights

    Breakfast at Orchid Bistro in Ikoyi

    “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” a saying that has been said many times over, but did you know that the word breakfast is a combination of two words ‘break’ and ‘fast’? which essentially is intended to mean to break one’s fast from the dinner the night before. I learnt  this as a child and was fascinated by the clever use of the two words.  Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day.

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

    For this edition of Culinary Delights’, I went to Orchid Bistro located on 40 B Raymond Njoku Street in Ikoyi for a breakfast meeting. I have been there a few times before, but never early enough for breakfast so I was particularly excited to be having a work meeting there, even if It was   7am. Orchid Bistro in Ikoyi is a really beautiful and clean space that as you may have guessed by the name is filled with orchid flowers. Plants have the ability to brighten and open up any space and I find that space is even more pleasant with the amount of greenery and bright flowers they have in and around the restaurant.

    The restaurant itself is a mixture of a café, restaurant and bar all in one which surprisingly works perfectly. The food at the Orchid Bistro is tasty and carefully made. On previous occasions, I have had the oxtail before and I remember being very satisfied. There is nothing better than eating food and feeling that the food was carefully prepared I decided to go with a traditional English breakfast which comprised of 2 sunny side up eggs, sausage, tomatoes, hash browns, baked beans, and brown toast. English breakfast is one of my favorite breakfast meals because not only can you find it anywhere in the world, but it is also very filling and can often keep me full until dinner time. The English breakfast at Orchid Bistro comes with tea, coffee or orange juice and I had tea because, in my opinion, nothing goes better with English breakfast than tea.

     

    The origins of the traditional English breakfast dates back to the 13th century.  It was the gentry who initially introduced the idea of the full English breakfast in the 14th century. They considered themselves the guardians of the English countryside and heirs to the Anglo Saxons and saw fit to implement the social qualities of great country houses, where large, lavish meals for important people were often hosted. The gentry also considered breakfast the most important meal, a message which is still prevalent to this day.

    The Orchid Bistro experience is a pleasant one overall. This café with its orchid garden is definitely a breath of fresh air. A gourmet cafe and restaurant that caters to those with a sophisticated pallet.  It is perfect for coffee and cake with a friend, lunch or dinner or a business meeting. You can stop by for a full meal, pastries, desserts, and or drinks and you are guaranteed to find something you like.

    Rating

    Food- 4.5

    Service -4

    Ambiance- 4

    Price

    N4500

    This review was done by Lehlé Balde on behalf  of BusinessDay Media 

  • Culinary Delights
    wheatbaker

    Saraya deli a flavourful buffet experience at the Wheatbaker

    It was the 18th century, and in France, that the modern-day buffet was developed which soon spread across Europe. Serving a meal to oneself has a long and interesting history, but the original term buffet referred to the sideboard where all the various types of food was served, although, eventually this style of eating was converted to modern-day buffets. When I get ready to go to a meal that involves a buffet, I typically try to not eat anything before so I can have enough space to thoroughly enjoy the different food options.

    Read More :  Maison Kayser a taste of Paris, in Lagos


    I happened to be in Ikoyi for a meeting not too far from the Wheatbaker on 4 Onitolo road, so I decided to pop in for a quick lunch. The Wheatbaker is known to be an outstanding hotel in Lagos. It is timeless, luxurious and the story behind what we know as the Wheatbaker is quite an interesting one. The hotel is named after Amos Stanley Wynter Shackleford was born in the Maroon community of Charlestown, near Buff Bay, Portland, Jamaica, he was and industrialist and entrepreneur who started his career in the railway industry and when jobs on the Nigerian Railway were advertised in Jamaica, he took the opportunity offered and left for West Africa in 1913.

    He went into business on his own, setting up a bakery on a small domestic scale. This business flourished, and Shackleford introduced new production and marketing methods. The business expanded into other Nigerian towns, and in the 1930s into the then Gold Coast and he became known as the ‘Bread King’ and the bread as ‘Shackleford’. He eventually sold out and retired in 1950.

    The story of Amos Stanley a Jamaican who opened a bakery in Nigeria might explain why the bread is so fresh and delicious. The Grill Room which is one of 3 restaurants at the Wheatbaker is situated by the pool and offers an array of food options from roast tomato basil soup to  beef carpaccio and all the high-end steak, seafood and poultry you can imagine. I was very pleased to see the design and the amount of food present and exploding with excitement! They also have nutritious salads as well as vegan and vegetarian options.

    The Chef’s name at The Grill Room is Jannie Melis. When asked about his inspiration for his food he says “I just like to use good quality ingredients and allow the food to speak for itself is my main philosophy when it comes to cooking.” The buffet food was very flavourful and that is what I like the most about it. The wide selection of food originated from many places around the world. Something to take note of would be the beautiful cheese spread which you can scrape-out to your heart’s desire. Another notable point at the buffet would be the meat station which features several types of cuts from around Africa and South America. Every piece of food I ate from the smoked salmon, various cheese from gouda to cheddar, to the basmati rice and Indian flavored chicken, steak, lamb, and fresh vegetables. The Grill Room takes inspiration from Nigerian climate, South African and local cuisine, grills, seafood, pastas and much more.

    Wheatbaker

    I tend to stay away from buffets because I worry about quality control for large numbers. I worry about how each piece is carefully cooked because let’s face it not everyone knows how to cook large portions while ensuring each portion is equally delicious. Whenever I’m at the Wheatbaker out of habit I usually order straight from the menu but I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed my buffet experience at the Wheatbaker and can say that the food is of top quality and it is fresh.  As it was a rainy day, I had tea with my meal.  I particularly loved the English breakfast blend, it was delicious and had a hint of cinnamon. A perfect blend for a rainy afternoon.

    The Wheatbaker is a go-to place for many reasons, comfortable stay, a relaxing spa experience, great dining options, and event spaces too. It’s one of my go-to places in Lagos and I highly recommend it. It’s perfect for a business meeting, brunch on Sundays, afternoon tea or a midday lunch.

    Total – N11,000

    Service -4

    Taste  -4

    Value – 5

    This review was done by Lehlé Balde on behalf  of BusinessDay Media 

     

  • Culinary Delights

    Kohinoor the diamond restaurant in Ikate Lekki

    It was a rainy Sunday afternoon in Lagos and as work would have it we had a scheduled meeting for Sunday at 1 pm. As a food enthusiast, I was trying to find a place suitable for a Sunday lunch meeting. I decided to call my friend Edache Obe who is the founder of Dacheo Media a digital marketing company and Lagos Foodies Association, an official group of food lovers across Nigeria. He suggested we try out Kohinoor which is located on 72 Kusenla Road Ikate, Lekki.

    Read MoreNoir Lagos- The quintessential French restaurant in Lagos

    Ikate seemed far in my head but without the weekday traffic its a breeze to get to.

    Kohinoor

    On this occasion, I had a lunch meeting with my boss Oghenovwoke Ighure who is the Executive Director of the Department of Strategy Innovation and Partnerships at BusinessDay Media and Linda Ochugbua who is the digital sales manager at BusinessDay Media. They are both incredibly accomplished and intelligent individuals who are responsible for furthering so many important causes in relation to business, entrepreneurship and policy change in Nigeria and beyond. It is a great privilege to work with both of them.

    Read More: Discover Vanilla Moon where flavor and sophistication are king

    As I entered Kohinoor, I was blown away by the decor, the artwork and the attention to detail and effort put into putting the space together. The decor is out of the box yet classy. A high-end modern sports bar is the description that comes to mind. They even have authentic vintage motorcycles on the inside as decor, which is something I have never seen before in Lagos. After doing some research we found our that the name Kohinoor was birthed by the owner’s many visits to India. He came across the name “Kohinoor” and was intrigued by it. In India, Kohinoor is one of the rarest diamonds in the world. As one who appreciates some of the finest things in life, he was taken by the name & decided to christen his luxury restaurant, bar & lounge “Kohinoor Lagos”.

    Kohinoor

     

    The waiter greeted us and brought over the menu. The menu is vast at Kohinoor and one will never run out of options. The menu is a blend of continental and African dishes. After much deliberation and some help from our waiter, I decided to have the T bone steak which came with french fries and vegetables. The steak left a little to the imagination but the fries were very good and the veggies were fresh.

    Kohinoor

     

    Here is Linda’s review of Kohinoor;

    “Kohinoor is a well-planned and structured restaurant. I totally fell in love with the ambiance when I stepped in. The staff were extremely courteous and polite right from the doorman to the waiters. One other thing that will catch your attention is the wall paintings, the lighting, decoration, and the seating arrangement. I am still smiling at how impressed I was with their skills of paying attention to every single detail. The drinks came in quite quickly and it was nice. The chicken wings were extremely and spices were perfectly blended. The food was ok and we had a variety of spicy finger foods comprising of chicken wings, samosas, goat meat, etc. It was a nice restaurant and I am delighted that I found this new spot in Lekki”.

    Kohinoor

    Linda Ochugbua, Digital Sales Manager at BusinessDay Media

    Kohinoor is more than a restaurant as it organizes weekly theme nights such as Salsa dancing, Karaoke, Game’s Night, 90’s night and much much more. it’s perfect for all types of occasions; birthdays, business meetings, date night, lunch, brunch or dinner.

    Kohinoor Lagos serves an array of delicacies, both continental & African, to satisfy the palates of all irrespective of what their preferences are.

  • Culinary Delights
    Vanilla Moon

    Discover Vanilla Moon where flavor and sophistication are king

    It was a beautiful sunny Saturday in Lagos, after a long work week most people look forward to Saturdays. There is a saying that goes ‘Saturdays are for weddings’ and that might be true for some, but for me, Saturdays are usually for relaxation and if time permits, catching up friends usually over lunch or dinner.  
    This edition of Culinary Delights’ is the 17th one and I would like to thank all our avid readers, who read the column every Friday and provide constructive feedback. At this point, I feel as though I have been to or at least heard about the majority of restaurants in Lagos, so discovering this weeks’ restaurant, Vanilla Moon restaurant came with an inexplicable kind of excitement. The pictures of the restaurant alone oozes an atmosphere of grandeur.
    I scrolled through Instagram and as I usually do and stopped by the My Crawl App page, a digital platform that shares events places and things to do in Lagos. The platform was created by Bukky Karibi Whyte, CEO of Robert Taylor Media. As I was scrolling through my Crawl app’s Instagram page, I came across Vanilla Moon, a brand new European restaurant in Victoria Island. What attracted me to the place was how bright and fresh the pictures looked online. I believe that it is fundamental for restaurants to have an online presence. Let’s face it, the world has become a digital place and increasingly people look online for vital decision making. The majority of places I go to are either recommendations from friends or online. Restaurants that are not maximizing their digital audience are missing out on huge chunks of the economy.
    Discover Vanilla Moon

    On this beautiful Saturday, I had lunch plans with my very good friend Basheer Tosin Ashafa. BTA is the MD/CEO of Cantagali Limited, a full-service, a niche-oriented and growing business group comprising companies such as Cantagali Limited (real estate marketing, property development, and facility management); and Triequity Capital (Investment & Finance). Basheer is very intelligent and our conversations are always very mentally stimulating. 

     

    As I entered the restaurant I had a big smile on my face because the outdoor decor was stunning.

    Discover Vanilla Moon

    The building reminds me of a modern french maisonette, reminiscent of a building you could easily find in Bordeau France.  Let’s just say Vanilla Moon made a great first impression. It’s the kind of space that gives you a feeling of happiness and joy just by being surrounded by the design and aesthetic. I have noticed a trend that a lot of new restaurants are incorporating green grass carpets and flowers for their outdoor dining areas. It was clear from the moment I walked in that this wasn’t your average restaurant. The ambiance was soothing, the décor was spectacular, and the staff was unpretentiously courteous. 

    Discover Vanilla Moon

    As I made my way inside I was greeted by a hostess who showed me to my table that Basheer was already seated on. As soon as I sat down they came to take my drink order and shortly after they took my food order. I wasn’t sure what to order so as usual, I asked the waitress to come and make a recommendation. As the restaurant is new she called the chef who is a gentleman from India, and while speaking with him I found out he had recently relocated to Lagos for the job. He recommended that I have the petit de Pollo, which is chicken on a bed of mashed potatoes with creamy mushroom sauce. I had it with mashed potatoes and spinach. It was really filling and tasty. I finished the whole plate and was extremely satisfied. 

     Basheer Tosin Ashafa, MD/CEO of Cantagali Limited

     

    Basheer had rib eye steak medium rare with mashed potatoes and spinach as well. It looked like 250g of deliciousness, I almost wished I ordered the same thing as him.

    Here is what he had to say

    It was clear from the moment I walked in that this wasn’t your average restaurant. The ambience was soothing, the décor was spectacular, and the staff was unpretentiously courteous. Need I say that the drink had a taste of elegance and I could bet that it came from the best mixologist in town, who took his time to recommend the various drinks. I particularly enjoyed the chef and his team taking out time to engage us and get direct feedback on the quality of the meal. The only downside for me was the few staff that  around the restaurant, which seemed a bit awkward. Overall, I had a great evening and I recommend Vanilla Moon to anyone who has great taste”.

    Vanilla Moon is located in a leafy by-lane of Victoria Island, Lagos. The menu is curated with an array of European dishes raging from a tapas menu that can take you to any outdoor Spanish market, fresh-house made pasta, steak room, sharing boards with Charcuterie, Sliders & Fondue. There is also the ruffle Mac & Cheese, Vanilla Moon Lobster Thermidor, and Twinkle Twinkle Tiramisu. 

    Discover Vanilla Moon

    The ambiance is perfect for a night out with friends, a date night or even a weekend brunch with loved ones. Equally works for outdoor/indoor dining. 

    Contact: Instagram: @VanillaMoonLagos 

    Total

    Petit de Pollo N6000

    Rib Eye N 14 000

    2 Mocktails N 7000

    N27 000 

    Rating 

    4.5 stars

  • Culinary Delights
    nok by alara

    Nok By Alara African cuisine with a twist of fine dining and sophistication

    Through the help of the internet, years before I ever imagined I would be working in Lagos, I read an article about a luxury concept store called Alara. There was something captivating about the bright orange and creative exterior designed by renowned architect David Adjaye.

    Nok By Alara

    NŌK Garden Evening Time

    Alara, meaning “the wondrous performer” created by Reni Folawiyo is dedicated to design, fashion, art, food, and culture. From a global perception perspective, it would surprise me if there is any restaurant as highly regarded as Nok by Alara in Nigeria. The concept store and restaurant has gained international acclaim from notable publications such as the New York Times, Vogue and The Wall Street Journal.

    Nok By Alara

    Agege Toast with Soursop Jam & Vanilla Ice Cream

    In simple terms, NOK by Alara is a contemporary African restaurant, the culinary extension of Reni Folawiyo’s concept to celebrate and elevate all aspects of African lifestyle. When I think of Lagos one of the things that immediately come to mind besides the yellow danfos, traffic and the Nerve Centre statues at Maryland bus stop, when it comes to restaurants, Nok by Alara represents the budding culinary scene of Lagos to me.

    Read More Noir Lagos- The quintessential French restaurant in Lagos

    Located on 12A Akin Olugbade Street in Victoria Island, LAGOS, Nok by Alara is nestled within a lush bamboo-framed garden, NOK is an intimate dining space displaying contemporary art and design from all over the continent.  Nok by Alara is known for its exciting fusion of flavor of African dishes with a twist of innovative presentation and a flare of luxury.

    Read Also :   The Grill by Delis a delightful mix of art, ambiance and exotic food in Victoria Island

    NOK has been able to perfect the art of reinventing classics of African cooking. Nok has the unmatched technique of bringing out the luxury and delicious flavors in so many of the wonderful foods on our continent. The menu at Alara is simply exciting.  You can find options such as Grilled Calamari Suya, Oxtail Hotpot, Poisson BraiséLamb Mafe with Peanut SauceJerk Chicken with Ghanaian Rice & Beans, Waaky and much more.

    Nok By Alara

    On this occasion, I went for Sunday brunch with my friends Bada Akintunde Johnson, Country manager Viacom Nigeria and Tomi Wale Creative Director Get up Inc.  The only menu available at our time of arrival was the brunch menu, and even just the brunch menu is the type of menu that has you wanting to order absolutely everything.  After much deliberation, Bada and I opted for the Whole Tilapia with Akassa (Eko). The meal was just delicious and filling. The mix of rich flavors and seasoning was just right and the pepper hit the right spot. I also had eko for the first time which reminded me of South African pap. The combination of the two was exactly what I needed. Apart from the delicious food I highly appreciated the presentation of the food and the accents of the table settings and cutlery holders. Every detail of the restaurant is tastefully pulled together to contribute to the fine dining experience.  This is what Bada has to say about his food;

    Nok By Alara

    Bada Akintunde Johnson, Country manager Viacom Nigeria

     “It was a sophisticated but richly deep African food experience. The authentic sweetness of traditional Nigerian dishes elevated to high street restaurant levels”. 

    Nok By Alara

    Tomi Wale Creative Director Get up Inc

    Here is what Tomi had to say about his experience;

    “Nok by Alara exudes an artistic look and feel. As we walked in a  waiter walks up to our table with a pleasant introduction of himself. He hands over the menu and I noticed Amala. The Ibadan boy in me immediately saw that as sarcasm so flipped on. How can Amala be in this beautiful interior with simple yet elegant chandeliers dropped off a black room with desaturated images diagonally placed on the wall in symmetry? I mean, the chairs and tables here are well spaced and I see no smoke in sight! Yeah right, Amala. Bada and Lehlé went with their choices of fish and for some reason, I went back to the Amala page and told the waiter to bring it. I sipped on my water waiting for something like an out-of-the-box attempt to show up. My thoughts upon finishing my meal were ” Who turned the Amala so good? Who made the soup???” I enjoyed it.  As a boy that grew up in Bodija, I was proud to know there is a new TRUE place in Lagos to eat that meal!  When I was done, I started noticing new things at NOK like the colorful and beautiful crafted chairs outside, triangular orientation everywhere, the brilliant architecture to make sunlight be the major source of lighting during the day, an inspirational beauty when you present African art with a sense of excellence. It was a beautiful experience”.

    Here is fun fact, Nok By Alara is the only restaurant in Lagos that serves Thiéboudienne which is the national dish of my home country of Senegal. The Thiéboudienne is so authentic, one would think it was made on the streets of Dakar. It is boldly flavored combination of fish, rice, and vegetables simmered in tomato sauce is a hearty one-pot meal. You can make it with any fish or vegetables you have on hand, including potatoes, cassava, squash or pumpkin. The rice used in Thiéboudienne is jollof rice.

    Nok By Alara

    Jollof Rice on stool and raffia mat

    Without attempting to contribute to the ongoing Jollof wars, contrary to popular belief Jollof is believed to have originated in the Senegambia region of West Africa among the Wolof people. The mouth-watering meal has traveled throughout the sub-region because of the frequent cultural exchange that goes on and is also made in Nigeria and Ghana. If you would like to taste authentic Senegalese Jollof rice then head over to Alara.

    Read More :  La Taverna: bringing you a taste of Latin American cuisine to Lagos

    Nok by Alara represents Lagos fine dining, it is perfect for a fun weekend brunch, a dinner, drinks with It is perfect for art lovers that enjoy authentic African dishes and fine dining.  I cannot recommend Nok by Alara enough!

    Rating – 5 stars

    Total–  N23, 000

    2  Tilapia with Akassa (Eko)- N13,000

    Amala- N4,000

    Mango Chilli Mule- N3,000

    Hibiscus Lemonade -N3,000

  • Culinary Delights

    The Grill by Delis a delightful mix of art, ambiance and exotic food in Victoria Island

    The Grill By Delis is located on Karimu Kotun off Akin Adesola in Victoria Island. The restaurant has been around for a while and as of last year, was taken over by a new management team. As I drove into the restaurant, I immediately noticed the outdoor section, which is a pleasant seating area filled with green plants, luscious blooming flowers, and a large crystal clear blue pool. A botanical garden is what describes the outside section. There are plenty of beautiful picture worthy backdrops that I took full advantage of. There is also a well-designed indoor space that is quite classy and has exquisite African art hung on the walls. I appreciated the décor, it is tasteful and not too loud. The room was well lit and the ambiance was calm yet chic. It was a Tuesday evening so the place was just starting to fill up.

    The Grill

    I was met by a friendly waitress who asked me if I wanted to sit outdoors or indoors. I am usually an outdoor person but because of the luscious plants, the garden in the evening is prone to insects so I chose to sit indoors. I had made a reservation the night before but did not particularly like the table given to me because it was too close to the kitchen, so after I identified where I wanted to sit, I asked to be moved and the manager was happy to seat me at my requested table which overlooked the garden indoors. I think its really important to request for your preferred seat if it is available because going out to eat should be an experience beyond the food.

    I took a look at the menu and the first thing that caught my eye was the oysters, so I decided to order some while I waited for my guest. The oysters were surprisingly fresh and tasty. I have never had oysters in Lagos before and they most definitely didn’t disappoint. Oysters are definitely an acquired taste, being from Senegal which is known for its fresh seafood, oysters are a part of many people’s culinary pallets. Up there with caviar and foie gras as one of the world’s ultimate luxury foods, oysters don’t look much from the outside, but the flesh of these bivalved molluscs is tastefully succulent and delicately flavored, varying in colour from pale grey to beige, surrounded by a clear juice.

    the grill

    Oysters

    My guest on this occasion was Vimbai Mutinhiri, who is a seasoned journalist, talk show host, media personality, former big brother Africa contestant and founder of the Vimbai.com which is a pan African community of dreamers, thinkers and game changers. Vimbai is someone whose work I admire greatly so it was a pleasure to have her as a dinner guest. She is originally from Zimbabwe and has a very pan African presence so we definitely had lots of things to talk about.

    Vimbai Mutinhiri

    After deciphering through the menu, I opted for the Veal chop with mashed potatoes and Vimbai had the grilled Salmon with vegetables and mashed potatoes. Veal has been an important ingredient in Italian, French and other Mediterranean cuisines from ancient times. The veal is often in the form of cutlets, such as the Italian cotoletta or the famous Austrian dish Wiener Schnitzel. Veal is lower in fat than many types of meats, so care must be taken in preparation to ensure that it does not become tough. I will say that veal is much different than regular beef or steak, still tasty but quite different in texture. The serving was large, so in the attempt to not waste food I asked them to pack my leftovers.

     

    Here is what Vimbai had to say about her experience;

    “Beyond the friendly staff, and ocean-fresh oysters, I thoroughly loved the understated elegant decor at the Grill by Deli’s. The interior is intimate and modern, with a touch of Africa. I was a little disappointed that when I ordered my salmon I wasn’t given an option as to how I would like it done, but the yummy Bee-Hive cocktail went a long way in keeping me in good spirits”.

    Overall our experience was fun, we were there for 3 hours and did not feel the time go by, the food came out in a timely manner and the staff pleasant. I suggest you make reservations before you go to avoid any disappointments. The space is perfect for private events, date night, an intimate dinner or lunch and is ideal for nature lovers.

    They have an extensive drink menu as well as an impressive dessert menu which I will come back for, I just didn’t have any space left!

    Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @bdculinarydelights. See you next week!

    Total

    N34,600

    6 oysters- N9000

    Veal – N12 800

    Salmon- N12 800

    Rating

    4 stars

    Contact 

    Instagram @thegrillbydelis

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

     

  • Culinary Delights
    Eating Habits

    Eating habits to boost energy and workplace productivity

    There are always challenges that go along with being an ambitious hardworking professional. Chances are that you’re always faced with long days at the office, tight deadlines, meetings, and travel. Have you noticed though that there are some colleagues of yours that still seem to thrive and perform exceptionally well irrespective of any obstacle or stressors they face at work? Sometimes one key difference between you and that super productive colleague boils down to who is making better dietary choices. Nonetheless, your food choices matter and some dietary habits may be actually zapping you of energy and leading you to be less productive at work.

    In order to stay pumped up and energized throughout the course of the work day, keep in mind some habits you will want to eliminate as well as those to incorporate in your life.

     

    Avoid Dehydration

    Eating Habits

    Never skip out on drinking water! Water has a critical role in many of the body’s physiological processes. Nonetheless, drinking insufficient amounts of water translates into a lowered energy state, whereby one may feel weak, lethargic, and experience a reduced level of cognitive functioning. Stay hydrated throughout the course of the day and don’t ignore any signs that the body gives indicating that you may be dehydrated.

    Say no to Ultra Processed Foods/Junk Foods

    Eating Habits

    Processed foods are those that have been industrially packaged or modified from its original natural state such as chips, frozen meals, canned meat, packaged cakes or desserts, candy, etc . It may seem obvious to avoid such items, but the reality is that for so many busy professionals the day is so fast paced that it seems more convenient to just grab a bag of chips or another accessible unhealthy snack when you get hungry. You must realize though that such options have little to no nutritional value and may be filled with trans fats, preservatives, additives, salt, and sugars that are quite unhealthy. Eating a lot of these kinds of food, not only contributes to lethargy and fatigue, but it also increases one’s risk for cardiovascular disease and even obesity.

    Don’t over do it on caffeine

    Eating Habits

    Far too many professionals are dependent on coffee to give them the immediate boost of energy they desire to get through the work day. Coffee in moderation does have some health benefits, however, consuming excess caffeine may lead to serious problems with anxiety, insomnia, loss of focus, irritability, and even heart palpitations. You may consider switching to green tea which contains less caffeine than coffee, but still has a sufficient amount to provide some energy. Green tea is also highly antioxidant rich and contains L-theanine, an amino acid that has a calming effect and may aid in reducing anxiety throughout a stressful day.

    Seek out your “brain food”

    This means to indulge more in those power foods that can help nourish the brain and can keep you sharp while on the job. Some foods that have been shown to promote brain health and improve memory include berries, fish with omega 3 fatty acids like salmon, tomatoes, and leafy green veggies like kale or spinach.

    Eat a nutritious breakfast to jumpstart your day

    Eating Habits

    You may think that mornings are too busy to make time for breakfast, however starting the morning with a nutritious breakfast is key. In fact, some research has linked routinely skipping breakfast with an increased risk of cardiovascular related death. So carve out time for breakfast and ensure that the meal includes “good carbohydrates” that will sustain your energy levels throughout the day. Some food items to consider include whole grain oats, bananas, apples, sweet potatoes, and even greek yogurt.

    Always Maintain Good Portion Control

    As a hardworking professional you are likely always in a crunch for time, so perhaps you use that brief moment you have available to devour as much food as possible. Don’t fall victim to finishing an entire pack of your favorite snack in one sitting or going for multiple servings of a meal being served at the company event. Remember, the goal is to nourish your body with just the right amount of nutrients to keep you healthy, focused, and productive at work. Avoid over saturating the body with unwanted excess calories, as this can leave you feeling sluggish and tired at work.

    Here is the takeaway: You must eat smart and healthy to adequately fuel your body and allow yourself to be as productive as possible on the job.

    (This article was written by  Lehlé Baldé for BusinessDay Media . Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe ,a Nigerian-American medical doctor and health expert, writer, and health contributor, also contributed to this article. Dr. Nesochi has been featured and interviewed about a wide range of health-related topics by popular media outlets including CNN, Vogue, BBC, Forbes, CNBC Africa, and more, learn more at  supermodelmd.com)

  • Culinary Delights

    Noir Lagos- The quintessential French restaurant in Lagos

    French cuisine is one that is enjoyed by many around the world. Similar to the language, it has come to be enjoyed all over the world. French cuisine is known worldwide for its finesse and flavor. What I love about traditional French food is that it relies on simple combinations that enhance flavors of basic ingredients. French chefs are acclaimed for turning French food into what we now know as haute cuisine and simultaneously influencing the gastronomic scene worldwide. I look forward to the day that African cuisine is equally celebrated on the world scene.

     

    French cuisine has made its mark all around the world, so I was not surprised when Noir opened its doors in Lagos last year. Noir has quickly become a Lagos favorite for diners looking for French cuisine and an outstanding customer experience. As the name suggests, Noir is a black and picturesque building located on 4a Akin Olugbade St, Victoria Island. The first time I went to Noir was exactly one year ago and I remember feeling like it would be my new favorite restaurant and as predicted I have been back more than a few times since then. There’s something chic about Noir that keeps me coming back not to mention the food is exquisite.

     

    On this occasion, I came to Noir with Chibueze Ewuzie, the channel manager of the international award-winning lifestyle proposition; Xclusive plus by Access Bank. Chibueze is a young person who is connecting Nigeria’s middle class to premium lifestyle services that go beyond banking through XclusivePlus.

    I promised to take Chibueze out for a late birthday lunch and he chose Noir, so I was happy to oblige. I got there early so I had time to explore the supermarket downstairs which is a grocery store filled with lots of exciting goodies, mostly imported from France. There is also a butchery inside the supermarket and a small cafe before you get to the main dining area. As you enter the restaurant Noir, you will likely fall in love with the decor as it is tasteful and exquisite. The furniture is timeless and the lights are warm and inviting. The artwork at Noir is also equally as impressive and edgy. Every time I have visited, the service is usually good and the staff is very knowledgeable on the menu. I know the menu quite well so I went for the steak frites, which is essentially tenderloin steak cooked well done with mashed potatoes and veggies. The steak was tender and the mashed potatoes combination was perfect. Since it was Chibueze first time he has a first timers review…

    Here is what Chibueze had to say about his experience.

    “One exciting item on my bucket list is traveling through Europe sampling the various cuisines of at least 20 countries, so Noir Lagos was an easy selection considering it is inspired by modern French cuisine. My experience was also much anticipated because Lehle had promised to take me out for a meal to mark my birthday and I looked forward to our conversation throughout the evening. Ordering dinner was quite easy, the waitress was pleasant and cheerful however she wasn’t quite versed in the composition of the meals hence couldn’t be more influential in my meal selection considering I had some questions. As a meat lover, I ordered the T-bone steak cooked medium well for that juicy texture and I wasn’t disappointed. The rich brown color of the steak wasn’t nearly as pleasing as its flavor which was delicious and quite filling considering the generous portion served. Cooked with just the right amount of seasoning and accompanied with the Cafe de Paris sauce for that buttery rich flavor, the fries and ketchup maintained their position as a side dish all evening while my mojito washed it all down for a truly relaxing evening. Overall, regardless of the great service, wonderful ambiance and delicious steak that Noir provides, a truly remarkable evening wouldn’t be complete without good company”.

    Noir Lagos is the first of its kind French-inspired culinary experience that combines fine dining with a fun, friendly and warm environment. Noir as a brand focuses on giving its guests a taste of Paris in the bustling city of Lagos. Although it was initially known for its food and high-end dining experience has now transformed into fully multipurpose space decked with a supermarket on the first floor, cafe on the second, restaurant on the third floor and rooftop bar on the 4th floor. There is something for everyone. The restaurant is perfect for a dinner date, birthday celebration, drinks with friends and even a business meeting. I will keep coming back and I hope you make the time to check it out too.

    Follow us on Instagram @bdculinarydelights

    Rating – 5

    Total

    Tenderloin Steak with mashed potatoes – N12 200

    T Bone steak- N 13 800

    Shrimp cocktail- N4500

    N30,500

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

  • 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)