It’s been little while since I’ve blogged, between going on holiday, coming back to Nigeria and moving into my new place I’ve been pretty flat out and too be honest I haven’t been that motivated to blog.
Now that I’ve moved into my new apartment I can actually start cooking, I can’t wait to start experimenting with some new recipes.
But in the meantime I thought I’d give you the lowdown on the food/restaurant scene in Abuja.
To be frank the food scene in Abuja is less than desirable, I know it’s a bit harsh to compare it to London but honestly I’ve tasted better Nigerian food in London than I have in Abuja. Not to say that there aren’t any good places to eat here because there are but not as many as I’d hoped.
But anyway on to the point of my post, I’ve eaten in a number of restaurants and eateries in Abuja and I wanted to give a rundown of some of the places that I think are worth trying out if you’re ever in Abuja. This isn’t a list of the best, because there are some really great places like Wakkis (an Indian restaurant) and Al Basha (a Lebanese place) but there’s nothing really special or interesting about them, they just happen to do better food than your usual Abuja restaurant.
Okay so I’m going to be honest, the food is just okay here. Mainly meat dishes, with either rice or fries. It’s nice place to come if you want good decent food. However why I really go there is because of the great atmosphere, salamander cafe is a great little find in the middle of Abuja. It’s a cosy little cafe style restaurant, the go to place to grab a coffee (not great coffee may I add) or fresh juice and sit out in the garden and catch some rays. It has a great atmosphere with lots of beautiful artwork and a corner dedicated to books.
Grills in and out
I’m gonna be honest again, the food here is just okay. I’ve been here about three times and I always have the same thing, yam fries (I have a thing for fried yams, I could eat them all day) and grilled croaker fish. This meal is so so, the fish is always overcooked and nearly always arrives luke warm. But the reason I keep going back, the one and only reason is because of the yam fries and pepper sauce. I just can’t get enough of it, such a simple yet satisfy combination. One I look forward to making in my kitchen.
Mama put aka Iya Iyo (think that’s how you spell it)
Now this place is a great find, it’s tucked away in a little backyard come make shift eaterie. It’s not for the faint hearted but for me it’s the essence of great Nigerian food. The first time I went there, I’ll be honest I couldn’t fathom even eating from this place, the Londoner in me was like ‘hell no” this is not a place to eat it’s a place where things come to die! It’s a buzz with people clamouring to get their food. The first step is to pick your main, the choice is pretty simple; rice, black eyed beans or amala. Once you’ve chosen the server then slabs your chosen main onto a plate. After that, the next bit is where it gets really interesting, you have to walk over to a covered hut, where this lone woman sits stirring a gigantic pot of stew with copius amounts of meat. You then get to choose which stew you want and how much meat you want too. I have to add that by this point it’s sweltering, the heat is unbelievable, I can’t even begin to imagine how this lady is able to sit in this tiny little hut stirring the stew in the crazy heat.
But what I will say is that the food is amazing, if you can put up with the heat, wild dogs and overall lack of cleanness it’s one of the best spots I’ve been to in Abuja.