The Secret Garden is fairly hidden in the well-known River Plate park, along Ahmadu Bello Way. The name is very fitting and already gives insight into what you should expect visually. It has a very airy feel, with the outdoor seating areas placed under thatched roofs held up by pillars (great for the forthcoming raining season as well). There are also various seating sections to choose from depending on your mood. There is an indoor area which looks very modern and is frankly not what you would expect from somewhere in a park.
We had heard people raving about their pizza being the best in Abuja, so we decided to give that a try, along with trying out some other options for the non-cheese lovers. The first meal was a T-Bone Steak with a side of chips. It cost significantly less than the steaks we’ve had in the likes of Coco Café and other restaurants we’ve been to, so we had to order it (for the culture). We were very disappointed when it was served to us and understand why it cost less in comparison to the other places. It wasn’t really a T-bone, but just some meat with bits of bone around it (LOL). It was also too thin and crispy, and did not have any sauce, making it hard to chew. The T-bone tasted more like beef suya as opposed to steak, but it was edible and very filling.
The next meal was the spicy chicken and rice, which we substituted for a side of chips. The chicken was a bit small (pictures can be deceiving) and lacked in flavour, but for chicken it was alright (insert joke on stereotype about black people and chicken- or is that too offensive? LOL). The chips for both meals were perfect, not too oily nor salty. The plating on the other hand, was poor and the plates were rather small for both meals, making eating messy.
The last meal was the beef suya pizza (yes, we saved what you were all waiting for till last) which was basically an Italian thin based pizza topped with onions and beef suya. Time to break the bad news- the pizza was not as moist as we would normally like and the crust was rather too thin and crispy. They could have been a bit more generous with the amount of suya on the pizza, as we could almost count how many pieces were on it (1 piece per slice, we kid you not!). The suya also didn’t taste as nice as the ones we’ve come to know, but their sweet chilli sauce (BOMB!!) made it bearable.
For drinks, we had the melon cooler and the tornado twist. The melon cooler was divine but was lacking that IT factor, while the tornado twist was just as good. The mocktails were however very reasonably priced, so no complaints there.
They are known for their affordable prices, and they definitely lived up to this. The prices of what we ordered were:
T-Bone Steak- N2900
Spicy chicken and chips- N2700
Beef Suya Pizza- N3700
Melon Cooler (mocktail)- N1000
Tornado Twist (mocktail)- N1000
The waiters were very swift. We were told the appetisers we got (not pictured) would take approximately 15 minutes but before we could even say “Economic and Financial Crimes Commission” they were out. Our main meals also didn’t take long to come out which was very impressive. Lastly, they didn’t have any outrageous tax or service charge which was a great end to our experience.
Would we return? Based on the meals we ordered, I doubt; but maybe to give the other pizzas a second chance or for a cheap/ filling meal.