Sunday, February 21, 2010

African Cuisine and our Restaurants in London (Part 3) The 805 Restaurants Experience

I have a confession to make and its one that is so unlike me.  When I commit to something, its almost like a Lion sinking its teeth into a prey, the Lion is unlikely to let go of a prey until two things happen, one is the important sensing of the prey stop struggling because the battle is won by the Lion and the other is that taste of blood, fresh, warm and seeping into the Lions tongue.

There is a similarity to the way I approach commitment to a worthy cause and there is one that I confess today that I did not completely commit to and I am embarrassed to say I feel like I have not been able to put my heart into it the way I would normally, like a Lion, sink my teeth in, win the battle and taste the juice of success… J do I sound weird in my choice of comparison.J

OK, the real issue is that I was at 805 Restaurants last year with a few friends, including the awesomely talented and very famous Nigerian Footballer, Mathematical Segun Odegbami, Adetokunbo Adejumo and Kunle Awosusi.  We opted to have an evening discussing with Chief Segun Odegbami about his pet project, a Sports Academy, which is designed to identify and develop talents amongst African Youths.

Segun Odegbami has thrown his weight, talent, energy and money at this project and it happen to be something that resonated with my soul, so I was quite keen to not only just engage but commit to help.  That has not happened because of extraneous circumstances and I will write a blog about this some other time, so that’s my confession… phew, feeling better now that it’s off my chest… J

Well, that weighed heavily on my chest because I had a meal at 805 Restaurant on Old Kent Road and it reminded me of the previous visit with was with Chief Odegbami, Toks Adejumo and Kunle Awosusi.  I was so engrossed in the conversation and the project such that I do not have any memory of the meal we had on that occasion.

That also tells me something I feel is ominous, because when you go to a restaurant and your only memory is your conversation, inspite of the food consumed, it means the food could not have been particularly exceptional, possible even just bland.

The good news first, 805 is arguably one of the best African Restaurant in London, if not for anything else, at least I can not say anything other than positive about the ambience, the smartly dressed waiters, the feeling of being in an African Restaurant in South East London that in looks and environment will be at par pretty much any 3 to 4 Star restaurant in London.  I actually mean any, so I am not just referring to the African restaurants.

I spoke with a family of five, Daddy, Mummy, two older sons and their baby sister who must be either late teens or early twenties.  They praised 805 Restaurants and rated their experience as more than 4 stars, pretty much 5 Star, because the food was delicious, the ambience is great, the service for them was very good and the pricing was comparatively better than other restaurants that are of same standard, according to the head of this family, their Dad.

The Dad, within this family I spoke to at 805 Restaurant, said he has been to Mama Calabar, D’Eclipse and so on and the standard could not beat 805 Restaurant, yet the food pricing is less expensive.

I am hoping to visit Mama Calabar and other African restaurants being touted as really classy and very good.  But if, as you read this, you have been at similar quality restaurant, tell me your opinion.  Meanwhile, I am not sure of what to make of a single plate of Dodo with Omelette that cost £10 or single portion of marinated and spiced gizzards on the menu as Santana with a going rate of £14.  I had to chew over the thought of Moin Moin as a side dish that cost £5.50 or a single Corn on the Cob at £5.50.

My experience of 805 Restaurants this Saturday as I went in there to review it was like this.  I walked in with a friend and was asked by a smartly dressed waiter where I would like to seat.  I said anywhere, and she took me to a table that seats four but is arrange in a way that only two people can use it, which I reckon serves our purpose.

We waited exactly 10 minutes without any of the waiters paying us any attention before the lady brought the cute little menu.  There was no apologies for keeping us waiting for that long just to get the menu, but that was still meant to be better than the fact that she did not show again until I had to walk to the bar and ask for the Manager.  At this point we had been seated for 28-30minutes since walking in with no one to take orders.  I explained to the manager who apologized profusely and took the orders herself.

She did not ask which of her waiters had acted like a silly child, which means no action to be taken about that L The food came quickly and as I had been “nil by mouth” all day, I got stuck in quickly.  The Monika that I ordered was meant to be Tilapia £14, I got a Croaker £17 and it happen to be Hot rather than mild L  As I write now, the only tastes that linger is the hot pepper, because the season could not have gone into the fish, it tasted bland compared to the hot sauce coating.

In the final analysis, I can say I have very high hope for 805 Restaurant because of the reputation, and it did meet the expectation in terms of the ambience.  The quality of the food was said to be good by their clients I spoke with, but what I had did not win me over.  The service on this occasion left much to be desired and I felt the food pricing does not deliver value for money.  I would recommend it for those who are looking for what can be described as a nice mainstream-like African restaurant, but they would need to have the money to pay for that.  Deptford High Street, here I come in my next blog J

1 comment:

  1. Emana Ambrose-Amawhe9:59 AM

    Beautiful piece...typically Nigerian ,even in a foreign land!!!