It was date night and I was looking forward to a romantic dinner at The Voyage Restaurant.
The Voyage Restaurant is housed at Radission Blu Hotel – one of the most picturesque and exclusive parts of Victoria Island. It is a cross between a fine dining and casual restaurant. The indoor dinning room is semi informal with plush leather chairs and long sofas with well laid out tables of nicely polished crockery. The walls are a statement on their own with beautiful African arts neatly arranged on the brightly painted walls. The second section overlooking the Lagos Lagoon, is semi alfresco.
It would be a lovely place for a romantic date…….which was why I went there in the first place. The lighting here was perfect, just enough to see what is going on but not overpowering to kill the romantic set up. There was a nice live band playing soulful ballads. The restaurant features both buffet and a la carte menus. The waiters were smartly dressed and were quite eager to get us to our table.
We were handed the drinks and food menu, there was however some issue about not being able to order a la carte. So buffet it was then!! …..chop till you quench mode activated. I decided to sample bits and pieces of different dishes so we started with the soups.
There were two of them, the French onion soup and chicken pepper soup; I opted for the chicken pepper soup with bread roll. They had about 5 types of bread in the bread bin. The bread roll was soft and fresh but the broth of the soup did not seem well seasoned, and the chicken seemed less than tender.
We moved to the salad bar, the salads were well laid out with about six or seven different salads. I had the Hawaiian salad, Tuna salad, Mediterranean salad and the seafood salad …..before you label me a gulu that I actually am, it was just bits of each kind. I decided not to use any salad dressing because I needed to taste the salads on their own.
My best of the lot was the tuna salad. It was not the typical tuna salad on a bed of lettuce, it was a mix of lettuce, penne pasta, chunky tuna fish, cherry tomatoes all tossed in mayonnaise. It was well put together and fresh too. The Mediterranean salad was also nice with calamari, shrimps cucumber, lettuce and onions tossed in olive oil.
Things took a nose dive from here. I am not sure I have had a worse dining experience. We proceeded to the entrées I cannot explain why anyone would try about 4 different dishes and not have anything good to say about a single one. I would start with the choice of dishes. I would expect the meal planner to at least vary the cooking techniques of each dish. i.e braise, poach etc. On display they had grilled fish, grilled beef fillet, grilled chicken breast, and roast leg of lamb.
As a diner, my conclusion on this was that the chef did not go out of his way to wow the patrons. What I did was to get 4 mini entrées with one side dish, my side dish was the coconut rice. They had several others: pasta gratin, roasted potatoes, mixed vegetables… to mention a few that had name tags. The first entrée was roast leg of lamb, to me this was charred lamb served with onions and vegetables, it tasted burnt with a bitter after taste..suffice to say it was inedible! I tried the coconut rice next, it was alright but I was not wowed, it was cold….something was missing from it. I am yet to place it.
At this point, I was not sure it was worth going on with the meal but then I knew I had to do this review. I had some of the grilled fish with lemon wedges and some sort of sauce, (I didn’t know the name, neither did the waiter) it was nicely seasoned and cooked, a little dry for me but it was better than anything I had eaten so far from the laid out buffet. The other entrées (the grilled chicken and the beef fillet) were just like the first, bland, making matters worse was the fact that the grilled beef fillet was off, I remember this having a bitter after taste as well.
The chicken tasted rubbery and the tomato sauce that came with it was just as bad as the chicken itself…….ditched too! After this I was not willing to anymore meals, review or no review…. So much for a romantic dinner. The romance had been ditched just like the food.
I thought there might be some hope with the desserts, so off I went to the display section again. There were quite a number of desserts there, they had white forest gateau, dark chocolate cake, exotic fruit (I did not see what was exotic about this), creamy biscuit pudding to mention a few that were worth looking at. The best definition for this desserts would be “epic fail”.
As a budding pastry chef, I quite knew what to expect here, I took two pieces of desserts so did Mr U so that we would have enough to examine. I started with the white forest gateau, as one of my favourite desserts, I was hoping for a melt in your mouth experience, it failed to impress, the gateau tasted like it had been made days before, the whipped cream …(if you can call it that ) that was used to sandwich the genoise cake was either not properly whipped or it was not properly stored so it had wilted in the genoise making it mushy. One bite and this was ditched too!!! I was looking for something that will erase the memory of the other meals but no joy. I tried the dark chocolate cake, and it was no chocolate cake by any means, it was a dense clump mixed with crazy amount of cocoa powder giving it a very bitter after taste.
Next in line was the fruit cocktail, oh gosh! Even mini me would do better with this, what would it cost to remove seeds and nicely dice fruits? We had lots of seeds in the water melon and the other fruits too were too chunky for my liking. I forced myself to try the last dessert, even the presentation was horrid, the last was the creamy biscuit pudding. This was richly cooked tapioca with coconut cream and a tinge of spice…. (cloves and cinnamon) served with a cookie and chocolate syrup, for me this was the best tasting thing I had here plus it was fresh too. It was delicious (even though it was slapped down in an old fashioned glass), if I was serving this, I would have served it in a coupette or parfait glass, that would definitely give it the wow factor.
One of the waiters on duty asked why I barely touched my meal, I told him I did not enjoy it, I would have expected that he would have gone to his supervisor to express what I had just told him. If he did, no one came to address my issues.
The buffet was priced at N 7100 ($45) per person.
To say this restaurant killed my evening would be putting it mildly. Would I go back there? …..As a paying customer…..NO
MY SCORE CARD
Layout / Ambience/ Aesthetics – 9
Quality of food-2
Value for money-3
So who has been there? I hope you had a better experience than we did.
The Voyage Restaurant
1A, Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue,
Victoria Island, Lagos.
Tel: +234 (0) 708 061 0000
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I love all things beautiful and luxurious. Pastry chef during the day, food writer at "other times". Dinning out? Ask me! Visit me at www.theservicecriticng.com for more.