Happy new year Everyone!
Before we get into this review, how’s everyone doing so far on their 2018 resolutions? (LOL). If you’re laughing too then we’re both on the same page but its cool, the fact that you even made resolutions to change something is a good step forward.
La Taverna isn’t really a new restaurant as there are two maiden branches in Lagos with the Chef/Owner holding about 11years worth of experience in both. The Owner graciously invited us to the restaurant a few days before the official opening to have dinner there. He was the perfect host, always checking in on us and making sure we understood what each dish contained. Now this might be because we were one of the only two parties invited, or how he genuinely is…but we’ll let you give us feedback on that when you visit.
La Taverna is located on the 5th floor of The Statement Hotel which is just down the road from Transcorp Hilton Hotel. It has a general rustic vibe with a Spanish twist to it, as you’re greeted by wooden Spanish doors and a bright red (blogger-friendly) walkway leading you into the main restaurant. The restaurant has a minimalistic design but that’s exactly what makes it special. There’s no “orishi orishi” that confuses the restaurant with a bar or anything else. Playing in the background to further drive home the Spanish elements is can you guess… Spanish music! There’s an outdoor seating area with a wood fired pizza oven and the most beautiful view of the capital that just reels you in.
There isn’t really much to say about the service as it was superb, but as earlier stated this could be very different when the restaurant actually opens. The food from starters to mains came out very promptly and extra jugs of Sangria were on hand as the first one finished.
The food was described by the Chef to be a fusion of Spanish and Chilean cuisine. To start, we were given a Sangria which comes in a jug, and much to our surprise the lovely waitress was able to list all the ingredients without hesitation. The sangria was just the perfect mix, as It tasted quite fruity, wasn’t too sweet and contained just the right amount of alcohol (Awon valentines daters, this is a great choice as you won’t get sloppy drunk but have just enough of a buzz to push through…win!).
Our food came in four waves with the tapas or starters first and then three different mains.
The garlic potatoes, were pretty basic, and a bit under seasoned for our taste buds but how much can really be done to potatoes 🤷🏾♀️
These were described by the chef as a spanish version of our holy grail MEAT PIE! Personally, we think the empanadas rank much higher (sue us). The crust was not too thin but also not too doughy. The meat inside was a bit sweet but that meshed remarkably with the texture and taste of the dough.
Bruschetta and Pebre Sauce
The bruschetta was regular grilled bread but the pebre sauce… mmmmmmm. It’s a tomato based sauce which at first glance looked like stew that wasn’t fried well (if you know you know). However, as we tasted this sauce we realised it wasn’t our mate. It had quite a bit of garlic with just enough seasoning but wasn’t overpowering and instead made for the perfect accompaniment to the bread.
Calamari and Mushroom
This isn’t your regular calamari because there were no overpowering flavours or the usual ring like shape we’re all accustomed too. It was lightly seasoned to perfection (a recurring theme in all the food we had).
The pizza was baked in the firewood oven and topped with Italian cheese, chicken, olives, Bbq Sauce, chillies and diced pineapples (where’s rozay?). We all agreed that no one had eaten better pizza in Abuja because although the combination seemed bizarre at first, it tasted FIRE (pun intended)!! The crust was so amazing that our cheese hating friend (who doesn’t know what she’s missing) removed all the cheese and had about three bare slices. If you’re a fan of thin crust pizza then then Bob’s your uncle.
Sword fish with mashed potatoes and prawns
“THIS IS MAD” were literally the words from everyone after the first bite. It was tasty and as with all the other things the flavours were not overpowering. The fish melted in your mouth and fused perfectly with the mashed potatoes. Even the non-fish lovers were appeased with this dish. The presentation was also a major plus and even just looking at the pictures makes our mouths water.
This dish was a blend of tangy and savoury as the chef asked that we squeeze the slices of lemon over the dish before eating it. The rice was not too soggy and the texture was nice. On the top were large pieces of prawns which tasted just as good as the paella. After eating the last 2 meals we almost didn’t have enough space for this but had to savour every last bite (for the culture).
As this visit was before the restaurant’s opening, there was no set menu or price list. However, the owner gave an estimate of N20,000 for two people with or without wine. Calm down, we know the number is going to scare you, but for the quality of food and the very reasonably sized portions, we can honestly say it’s worth every kobo.
Would we return?
MOST DEFINITELY!! Valentine’s Day is coming up and I don’t know about you guys but we can’t wait to go there with that special someone (any takers?). The chef also informed us of his plans to start serving Spanish breakfast soon and we’re here for it!!