Nigeria 2021? Yes, that’s right your girl made it out of the ghetto, the lockdown, the depression, the 5pm COVID announcements and all the bad UK vibes for a good 3 weeks!
Whenever I’ve travelled to Nigeria (Lagos in particular), anxiety creeps in just thinking about leaving Murtala Muhammed Airport. The swarm of taxi drivers, sellers, all sorts of traders in your face trying to persuade you to jump in their car or carry your luggage is OVERWHELMING. But because I’ve been indoors since March 2019, my anxiety turned to excitement. In my head all I was thinking was “Yes, oya sell me your services! Interact with me! Yes, you can drag my luggage!” Yeah the pandemic has made me quite sad really! And that smell of humidity mixed with oil that hits you as soon as you leave the airport – I missed it, I really did.
This trip did me justice and I was lucky enough to visit Lagos, Abuja and Akure. Now that I am back in the UK, I wanted to share the highlights of this trip including restaurants, bars, hangout spots.
MY TOP RESTAURANTS:
Orchid Bistro, Ikeja GRA – Bistro
What I ordered: Full English Breakfast and Fresh Lemonade
After countless mornings of Yam and Egg Sauce for breakfast, we all got tired (that and the amount of pepper in the sauce was working against our tummies). The spirit of Ajebutter and IJGB started to creep in with full force and we just craved Full English breakfasts. The Orchid Bistro did just that and they did it WELL. Dare. I. Say. Better than the English? (oop! I’m kidding). It was a great meal and the reason I loved it so much was because it was not greasy! I also ordered their fresh Lemonade and this beverage did an F5 on me and refreshed my soul.
Cafeteria NG, Victoria Island
What I ordered: Chicken and Waffles
My best mate and I came across Cafeteria NG on Instagram and we were sold instantly. Their Instagram pictured everything they had on their menu including Chicken and Waffles, French Toast, Omelettes, Pancakes, Bubble Teas and other meals. Everyday when Boris made an announcement, we would message each other “This guy better not mess up or trip we need to eat at Cafeteria!!!!!”. Lo and behold we did, and we were not disappointed! The food tasted as good as the pictures looked on their IG. Omooo it was too sweet!
What I ordered: King Prawn Grill
Cactus is not one of those restaurants where you are paying for aesthetics alone. You’re paying for delicious food (generous portion sizing), good customer service, amazing views AND aesthetics. I ordered the King Prawn Grill and I struggled to finish my meal. It was well seasoned and not overcooked. I wouldn’t eat any of the garnish on the plate as it was quite stale.
The House, Victoria Island
What I ordered: Seafood Pasta (Spaghetti)
The concept of this restaurant is brilliant. This restaurant mimics a house setting with different rooms such as “The Backyard”, “The Living Room”, “The Parlour” and many other rooms you are likely to find in a house. We sat outdoor in “The Backyard” and the atmosphere was beautiful in the night – it was nicely lit up with lights and candles and it was very comfortable. The star of the show was my Seafood Pasta (PRAWNS ONLY) – I was quite sceptical ordering cream based Pasta in Nigeria because who knows how that could go down. Safe to say it was DELIGHTFUL, so delightful that we found ourselves ordering from The House again.
MY TOP BARS & LOUNGES
W Bar, Ikoyi
W Bar is a fairly new establishment and ever since I found out about it I have been eyeing every event on Instagram and counting down the days till I got there. My most favourite thing about W Bar is the location – it’s an outdoor bar located on the Ikoyi riverbank. The minimalist decor lights this place up at night – you cannot miss it when you’re driving over the bridge.
We went on a Thursday evening and the atmosphere was so lively with great music that I could only imagine how lively it would be on the weekend AND how much more lively it would be when there is no curfew*.
Definitely get yourself down to W Bar you won’t regret it. One thing you will regret, is not booking a table in advance for the weekend (Fri-Sun). You will get there and they will turn you away. Don’t be like us, BOOK IN ADVANCE.
* Due to the COVID-19 there is a curfew from 12am-4am in Lagos, which means there is a no movement policy. So everyone must be indoors at these hours.
MY TOP HANGOUT SPOTS
All of my favourite Hangout spots in Nigeria are outdoor. I love an outdoor space which is nicely lit, great design and offers beautiful views. Also, after being locked down in our houses since February 2019 indoors just makes me itch – please I need the sun beating down on my skin and the breeze breezing through my scalp.
Junkyard Grills, Abuja
This has to be my favourite place in Abuja, as outdoor gardens are a bit of me! I like how casual and trendy Junkyard Grills is, it gave me hipster meets culture vibes. Great music, cheap drinks and lovely food too. Also you can snap a picture in front of the “I Heart Abuja” sign here!
There are many reasons why I love this beach – it’s one of the cleanest beaches in Lagos I’ve been to, it’s lined with a plethora of food trucks, bars and beach clubs, it’s beautiful and an absolute vibe on the weekends. The drunken memories created at this beach will never be forgotten (wipes tear).
To rent a cabana it costs 25k which is extremely extortionate but we still paid the fee because we have been in quarantine for a year – life is to be enjoyed!
Moist Beach Club, Oniru
The ambience and aesthetics (especially in the evening) is 11/10. Moist Beach Club is for when you want beach vibes without getting caught up in the crowds and having to get all messy in the sand. As soon as you enter the beach club you’re met with a bar which leads you the an outdoor pool with comfy seating and tables and behind this is the beach area. It’s great vibes here and the DJ is phenomenal.
MY TOP PAMPER SPOT:
My hair strands can give you stories for the days when it comes to manhandling it gets at Nigerian salons, but we won’t discuss the negatives today.
Wow wow wow I had such a heavenly experience from the moment I walked into Hairitage Hub Salon. The salon opened right on time, COVI9-19 compliant with everyone wearing masks and great customer service. I had two stylists removing my extensions and then another stylist who was in charge of washing and conditioning my hair afterwards. Every stylist involved was gentle and delicate with my hair – no ripping combs through my strands (Hallelujah praise Jesus!). As my hair was being detangled the stylist was giving me natural hair tips and discussing my natural hair routine – I was blown away! No having to train them on what to do, no blow-drying my hair myself and no staring them down through the mirror to monitor them. I actually relaxed in my seat on my phone. It felt good and that’s how it should be. Everything was so on point and I would recommend this salon to everyone (whether they ask me or not!)
There you have it my top highlights from my trip recent trip to Nigeria! Drop a comment if you have been to any of the establishments listed above.