The experience today from a reader is on Nok by Alara. Nok featured in one of the Foodie in Lagos Tales here.
Catch up on previous experiences and see here for background on this column. Foodie in Lagos Tales are independent reviews posted anonymously by individuals who want to share the good, the bad and the ugly.
These posts are undiluted and are not the views of Foodie in Lagos
NOK by Alara
“NOK. It’s not okay to to serve this kind of food. To bring it out cold and in ridiculous portions. I went for ‘after work’ dinner with my colleague after a presentation to a client, the usual waiting out traffic agenda. So we chose NOK by Alara. I liked the ambiance walking in, then I entered and thought- it’s rather small but oh well, all these foreign people with Nigerians and foreign accents. We got comfortable until we asked for the menu.
I turned over to be sure it wasn’t a joke… One page with the food. One page!
My colleagues proceed to order drinks- for ₦3,500 a cocktail you’d expect to see a fairly tall and/or fat glass. I was surprised as a short & thin glass appeared, called ‘Elderflower Mojito’. Probably the worst Mojito I have had in my adult drinking life… More like Ugwu leaves and not Mint. It had a unique name though but I felt we paid for the name of the cocktail and not the cocktail itself.
Then starters came, my colleague had braised Guinea Fowl Spring Rolls, which were ok- I mean Spring Rolls are always ok, if Small Chops is bae to you, like it is to me. But my Tamarind Glazed Chicken pieces weren’t. Hard rock (no pun intended), deep fried, but left for too long – and so now cold, but o soooo tangy chicken wings. I sent it back twice to get re-heated. #microwavesfromhell
The food, oh the food… one of my colleagues ordered first since he was really hungry and I was still dumbfounded by the lack of items in the menu. He went for a Lamb and Naan Bread called ‘Lamb Mafe in Peanut Sauce‘ but by stroke of luck he ordered a side of Jasmine Rice aka Jollof looking rice with no taste. When the food arrived our jaws dropped- there I was thinking of the Lamb chunks that will arrive and how I would stretch my fork over the table to borrow some. The food came and we were looking for the Lamb, we didn’t know when we burst out laughing. He later started dipping the Naan Bread into the sauce and we later called it Bread and Ewa Agoyin.
So I thought long and hard and finally ordered my food, as a beginner fitfam I opted for seafood and went in for the ‘Thiebou Jenn’ (Fish with Rice) some Senegalese dish. Boy did I make a bad choice. The Fish was absolutely bland and had a bad smell- nothing about fine dining that I’ve seen on TV or experienced in the overs via my economy class ticket has ‘bad smell’ involved. Mba Mba NOK, this wasn’t the plan.
I later read reviews and a phrase caught me ‘chemistry to cooking’ mehn, I might not know anything about Sautéed Fish or mixing cocktails but all I want is correct chemistry calculations to flavours made in the kitchen and the portions that arrive in front of me. Notice how I didn’t mention anything about my third colleague, he didn’t eat or drink… He shook his head throughout, we paid and drove out.
Oh the bill was ₦19,200
I can only say… the more you spend the less you eat.”