Chapter Lagos

LAGOS, NIGERIA

I have to say that I am REALLY IMPRESSED with what Lagos is doing with interiors and ambience of restaurants and Chapter Lagos is another gem in this forte. With large palm fronds surrounding the decor from being painted on the walls to actual fronds in the room of different varietals, they have created and transported me into a tropical paradise. I am particularly fond of the uniforms that the servers wear. They are white on black with one arm having a funky pattern. I find it somehow to be very cute and cheeky. 

During my visit, I surmised that the vibe here was not as high end with regards to the clientele as with RSVP that I just visited earlier in the evening but it is giving me calm feelings of Le Bernadin. There is just that feeling of comfort, professionalism and welcoming that I feel walking in to have my quiet and solo dinner. So Chapter is supposed to be modern Indian cuisine and looking at the menu it certainly is. There is no paneer saag or butter chicken but refined and reimagined items such as Hakka spiced cauliflower and chettinand broccoli tikka. Do not get me wrong, I really do love my dal and butter chicken but this just evokes a different feeling within me.

I ordered a couple of dishes starting with the suya spiced cheese naan. I had not had any carbs all day so I beelined for the naan. Actually that is a lie, I had had a piece of bread and I wanted more carbs so cheese and suya with naan sounded like heaven. Sometimes being low carb is like living in hell. This naan also came with a spice that was supposed to be suya spice but whose flavors resembled Indomie ramen more closely instead. The cheese on this naan was understated. The naan was just okay eating it on its own but I strongly believe that this is a naan that is best combined with other dishes like curries etc. This would ideally enhance the flavors of the spices and cheese. A cute thing happened at this point as I have taken to writing immediately while eating as of late as opposed to taking notes and writing later. Life is quite busy with me these days and it seems live tasting and writing is what will fit in best. In any case, I was busy typing away and the server came up to me and said, “Please ma’am, you need to enjoy it while it is hot”… I do not know why but I just found the attention cute.

My next dish was the prawn pepper fry. My oh my, these prawns are HUGE! I think maybe just naturally so as I am not aware of any seafood farms where they pump the prawns full of chemicals and I very much appreciated that. Since the dish was called pepper fry, I was worried that it would be too spicy but it was not AT ALL instead it was just incredibly flavorful. I had it with a piece of the suya spiced cheese naan that I had had and all of its flavors were emphasized. As with any dish, letting it cool allowed the flavors to combine better and settle in more thereby highlight the complexity and coming together of the ingredients. And this was no different in this case. I tasted garam masala and curry flavors emphasized after it had cooled down… of course I hope those spices were actually included in the dish :-). In any case, this was quite a tasty dish.

I had the Mangorita for my drink of choice for the night. This cocktail had spicy pepper on the rim of the glass and sure enough, you know that I was scared to drink. Thankfully though, there was a straw so I went full steam ahead with that approach. My drink came a bit late as I had already started eating the pepper prawn. Pepper from drink and pepper on palate (even though it was more flavorful than spice) did not sound like a good idea at all to me so I rinsed my palate of the pepper prawn first before I reached for my drink. My first impression… “Whoa… this is SWEET!” Think of mango lassi sweet that is intensified because it does not have the cream to temper the sweetness. In a way, it was still delicate but I feel that better balance would have been achieved if there was more alcohol in the drink to temper all that sweetness.

My final dish of the night was the Galawati Kebab. When this came out, I looked at it and cocked my head because this was absolutely not what I had expected when I ordered a kebab. I thought I was going to get the traditional skewers but this was inventive and different. It was the blended flavor of minced meat with spices that would normally be put on a grilled kebab. It was essentially playing mind games with me because as the flavors would progress in my mouth, my head was telling my mouth to chew… but there was nothing to chew on! I love it when food plays with my mind… it makes enjoying it exciting for me. That is all I have to report on this one.

So that is it here for Chapter Lagos… come… eat… enjoy

Alavida