#TheServiceCritic: REVIEW OF CASA LYDIA, IKOYI, LAGOS.

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Saturday, 6.04 P.M

Hallo Hallos

I hope you have all been good…well I have been good.

I have been looking forward to reviewing Casa Lydia in Ikoyi due to requests from readers. The perfect opportunity came up when I had to have lunch with dear friend B.

Casa Lydia is not particularly easy to find because it is tucked in a corner off the road. It is a casual dinning bistro. If I were to describe the theme in the dining lounge, I would call it elegantly rustic….(is there any word like that by the way?..well, now there is. Peju says so). It does not follow any particular order, its just a mix of mismatched  wall art, furniture and contemporary lights  …nicely done. To a corner sits a mini bar with the kitchen right behind it. If you sit around the bar, you can actually watch your meal being prepared…I quite liked that. There is also a little setting outside for alfresco  dinning.

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We were seated by a warm waiter who introduced himself as Simeon, he handed us the menus and he stepped back to give us time to peruse it. There was no particular theme to the menu as well – they had everything from salads to sandwiches, seafood platters and some Nigerian staples.  After about five minutes, he came to ask if we were ready to place our orders but typical me, I was not ready.

I was too involved with browsing the menu that I got carried away. The drinks menu was not that extensive but we still ordered two mojitos – a virgin mojito and a strawberry virgin mojito.  As always I was not expecting much from the mocktails, after about 10 minutes, the waiter arrived with our drinks……………hmnnn. It looked alright but I did not quite fancy the glasses they were served in, the mojitos were served in regular tumblers. The taste of the pudding is in the eating abi ? Well, I eat with my eyes first so presentation is important to me. I took a sip and I was not impressed…it had too much ice so it was a bit watered down and the amount of mint leaves in my drink would make enough  mint tea for ten people. My friend’s strawberry mojito was much nicer albeit watered down too.

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The food menu was quite expansive , I noticed they had quite a number of Italian entrees. I was  quite indecisive so I asked Simeon to suggest meals for us. Surprisingly, he knew the menu well and he was able to describe most of the dishes and answer my questions about some of the entrees.

He suggested the seafood platter but I have had a lot of seafood lately so I opted for T-Bone Steak with red wine reduction sauce. My friend opted for the Spicy Cajun Prawns and both entrees came with basmati rice. The efficient Simeon came back to ask how I wanted the steak done….Steak well-done please! I was quick to tell him I did not want to see ANY traces of pink in it. To all you my friends that love the rare, medium rare and charred and what have you with steaks…OYO!

After about twenty-five minutes, the entrees arrived. The first was the T-bone steak with some grilled vegetables, red wine  reduction sauce and rice. My gooodnessss! I was too stunned for words, oya make una begin borrow me better grammar.  My mouth waters even as I write this……yeah I know I am Ms Grubbido…title  gladly accepted. LOL.

The steak was served in some sort of saute pan (just imagine something like a frying pan sha)…remember the somewhat rustic setting the place has? they carried that through with the serving of the steak . I was a bit surprised to see how much red wine reduction sauce there was, “what will I do with all of this?”  I asked my friend..little did I know!

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The first thing was to cut through to see the ‘doneness’, it was cooked through. Then I ate from it, if I thought it looked nice, it tasted even nicer and that red wine reduction sauce was the perfect accompaniment. Even though it did not look like the red wine reduction sauce I’m used to but it worked perfectly with the steak. The vegetables and mushrooms  were just as delicious and added colour to the plate as a whole. This was definitely an ace!

Next in line was the Spicy Cajun Prawns served with some mustardy looking sauce and a side salad. I was told it was called Napolitana sauce. When this came, it did not look like prawns. It looked somewhat charred, I was doubtful for a second  till I ate from it. It  was deliciousssssss. This was well seasoned grilled jumbo prawns, apparently the supposed char on it was  seasoning and the colour came from the grilling. I expected that much seasoning to overpower the prawns but it did not…it was even tastier with the Napolitana sauce. We scoffed it down in no time…wanting more. Call me Olivia Twist if you please.

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At this point I had to personally compliment the chef. I still had room for desserts so I asked for the menu again. I was quite disappointed as it was almost non-existent, it had the most basic of desserts. I asked for crème brulee  but it was not available. I can’t explain why the desserts list will be so lean, yet  some will be unavailable. I opted for the chocolate cake with ice cream. He came with the plate and I was  disappointed. The chocolate cake was slapped right on the plate with a lone raisin garnishing the ice cream. Chocolate cake and ice cream in borrowed words are known to be  “comforting and compelling” but this was just bland and uninteresting. I asked for some chocolate syrup or fudge, dem no get! It lacked the decadence of chocolate cake..it was  dry too and somewhat rancid.

Once again overheating in the microwave (what is the obsession with popping desserts into microwave these days?) Remember my Metisse review?  The ice cream here was grainy and it lacked the richness of  good vanilla ice cream. I promptly called him and laid my complaints, he apologized and took it away. He came back with another plate looking just like the first….still with the lone raisin. We tried this as well, this time around, the cake was softer like it was freshly baked but it still lacked that decadence. That gooey sweetness  was missing and it was served with the same grainy ice cream. I know I won’t be ordering desserts here any time soon.

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Have you ever heard the term ” food-envy” ?  That was what happened to me when I saw another waiter carrying the seafood platter to another table. It was BEAUTIFUL! I could use all words to describe it but you still won’t understand.  Safe to say that I know what I will be ordering when next I go there.

After the meals, the waiter brought some sort of visitors’  journal to us to write what we thought of the food and service. I liked that. It made me feel like my opinion mattered.

We paid  about N12,000 (75 USD) for 2 entrées, 2 mocktails, 1 dessert. What do you think?

Would I go back there?  An emphatic Yes!

MY SCORE CARD

Layout/ Ambience / Aesthetics – 7

Quality of food– 7 ( that dessert again)

Value for money- 9

Customer Service – 9 ( Simeon was very professional and attentive to our needs).

CASA LYDIA
19, Glover road, Ikoyi, Lagos.
TEL: +234-1- 8209239.

DON’T FORGET TO ENTER FOR the sweepstake for the lunch date which closes on 8th July, 2013. If  you have not taken part please click here for more details.

Thank you for always reading.

The Critic

The Critic

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.

4 comments

  1. I thought I was the only one who observed the cheap cocktail glasses the restaurant serves you with. For the food, I will most defenitely agree with the writer; Casa Lydia constantly makes my palate come alive, it’s usually a nice dinning experience for me at the Casa Lydia.

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