Thursday, December 1, 2022
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Spending Less on Food

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About a month ago in 9ja News food report, I  learned of the opening of a cafeteria in the Zain Building in Ikoyi.  Prior to that, I had no clue that there was a Zain Building, or that it  was anywhere near my office. But I began to pay attention to this  building when I learned that its cafeteria was designed as much to  cater to the Ikoyi office crowd, as it was to take care of Zain’s  employees.  Yes, we are still  on the topic of the dearth of lunchtime venues in Ikoyi, and will  continue to be on this topic until more budding restaurateurs hear my  cry and open quick, non-pricey venues in my part of town! It may seem a  bit of a stretch to venture into the heart of Banana Island in search  of lunch. But if, like me, you work in an office that does not have its  own in-house canteen, pay close attention. Once you are through the  main Banana Island gates, turn left at the roundabout, onto 1st Avenue,  and drive down to the end. You will hit a misleading dead-end in the  form of the multicoloured ‘Ocean Parade Towers’, but if you follow the  road to the right, onto 401 Close, you will see a very tall grey and  white building. This is the Zain Building.  

For Lagos big babes only  At the moment, it’s  a bit of a pain to drive into the complex, unless you’re able to play  the big madam/oga card. For the rest of us whose cars instantly declare  that we are not generous tippers, it is advisable not to attempt to  drive in, but to park and walk along the side of the main building  until you come to a separate, free-standing glass house.  The Waterview  Bistro is usually incredibly lively. The Zain crowd tend to eat in  large friendly groups, and you can hear them guffawing in between their  lip-smacking. The venue is simple but polished, with clean tablecloths  and raffia mats. To the right is a stainless steel serving counter  bearing trays of food, but the pièce de resistance, is the view! This  place is called Waterview Bistro for a reason, and the view it provides  is absolutely breathtaking. To stare out of the restaurant’s gigantic  glass wall on the first floor, feels almost like a privilege. There is  nothing but water for miles and miles, and a brilliant clear blue sky.  

You could easily believe for a second that you were aboard a cruise  ship staring out into the endless sea. It is just wonderful, and the  two sets of couches with this unobstructed view, are prime real estate  at the Bistro.  I’ll have the shaki, please  Aside from the  view, the Waterview Bistro, gets points for the speed of their  operation. A few days ago for example, I walked in at 2.10pm, and out  at 2.35pm. The other thing I also appreciate is that the experience is  value for money. For N1200, you can choose from either two full  Nigerian menus or a continental menu, and then eat like a king in a  clean, pleasant environment, with one of the best views in town laid  out in front of you. As one who values the experience of eating out, as  much as the food itself, this combination is perfect. Is the food  exceptional? Their ‘shaki and beef stew’ is excellent, as is their  ‘barbecue chicken’ and ‘pork rib’. 

I wasn’t hugely impressed with the  ‘Oriental rice’, ‘seafood kebab’ and ‘grilled lemon fish’, which I  found to be quite bland.  But any  disappointment I may have experienced was wiped clean on Monday, when I  inquired about dessert. In the past, I have generally only seen the  female Zain employees ordering dessert and usually it has been cake. On  Monday, though, the dessert of the day, was ‘fruit crumble and ice  cream’. It arrived with a thin layer of oat-based crumble, sitting atop  a messy mush of apple, pineapple and sultanas. Eaten with the generous  scoop of vanilla ice cream beside it, it was surprisingly good. Why?  Because it cost only N500! The Waterview Bistro gets good marks simply  for being good value for money. The food may on occasion be lackluster,  or may be warm as opposed to piping hot when it’s served, but the  waiters will heat it up without the slightest grumble. Quick, clean and  with a stunning view, it is worth every kobo.

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