We’re back with another review and this time we’re pretty sure you haven’t heard of this spot (fingers crossed). Before we get into it, lets impart a little knowledge about the name of this restaurant. ‘Barkono’ means pepper in Hausa (which is one of the three major dialects in Nigeria) – bet you didn’t know that huh.
The restaurant is located just after the Apo Legislative Quarters in the same building as Chloe’s Cupcakes (they are actually neighbours). It has a very Nandos feel about it and the furniture is very well made. It is quite a small space but this doesn’t take away from its vibe. The music there is another plus as all the JAMS are banged out consecutively (s/o to our brother Drake for the new album). This restaurant however should ideally be located closer to the central area as not everyone will be willing to ‘travel’ to Apo (NOTE: don’t fret guys, this is not as deep as the Lagos Mainland/Island debate).
The service with regards to the staff is great. They are very attentive and came back to inform us a few times that our food was taking a long time but would be ready soon. However, for such a small spot with barely anyone there the food took YEARS to arrive. It might have been the afternoon hunger but we were there for over an hour waiting for that food oh. I cant imagine that chicken and chips takes that long so they need to work on that.
There isn’t really a wide selection of food, which in a Nigerian restaurant means either of two things:
- They DO NOT know how to make anything well, OR
- They are focusing on what they DO know how to make (Always pray that this is the case or else you have entered one chance).
Their menu stays within the ‘Barkono’ theme as you can get everything extra spicy (including your cocktails).
The first meal was the spicy BBQ quarter chicken and their blazing fries. The sauce on the chicken was exactly what it said it was. Spicy and full of BBQ flavour. The fries tasted a lot like the Nandos peri peri fries, but sadly there was a bit of excess cinnamon in the spice mix which gave it a weird flavour – still BOMB though.
The second meal was the peri peri quarter chicken and fried rice. Our chatty friend actually had this meal on a separate occasion and it tasted much better, so we were a bit disappointed when we had it on this day. The peri peri lacked the smokey Nandos taste that we’re used to and it generally tasted a bit off. If you settle on this meal, we would recommend going with the BBQ sauce as was done in the first order.
The last meal we ordered was the BBQ lamb chops with the blazing fries (we have a special love affair with lamp chops over here😉). The lamb had just enough BBQ sauce to not be dry, and the spices tasted just right. Our only issue with this meal was that the meat was a bit too chewy; but in spite of this, it tasted good and we would definitely return for it.
We opted for some mocktails to finish off the experience. The first was the bee sting, which is a combination of apple juice, orange juice, lemon juice and honey; and the second was a virgin mojito. Both mocktails were a bit too sweet (I mean what did we expect ordering drinks with honey in it) but nonetheless refreshing. The prices were however a bit steep for the size, especially in comparison to other restaurants around Abuja.
The price is one of the main reasons why this spot is a hidden gem. For what you get the prices are very good. The most expensive meal on the menu is about N4000 for the same meal you would get somewhere else at about N6000 (we’re side-eyeing you Coco Café). Thinking about it now, they might be trying to compensate for the fuel spent on getting there.
The prices of what we ordered were:
Spicy BBQ quarter chicken- N2200
BBQ lamb chops- N3400
Peri peri quarter chicken- N2200
Would we return? Yup! The food, vibe and price got us.