This is the second in the series of foodversations with the Blowfish Group based in Victoria Island in Lagos (Nigeria), and we visit the menu of the group’s Italian maison, La Veranda. The PR manager for the group, Folake Ekundayo gathered quite an interesting group of influencers and people. In the group of people was myself and Chef Alex Oke, while the influencers included Yemi of SisiYemmieTV, Eat Drink Lagos, Lost In Lagos, and Nothing To Do In Lagos. A few others didn’t make it.

Just like Vellvett, La Veranda has quite an extensive menu, and the chef had chosen what we were going to try out. And it was quite a lot of dishes! Let’s get started…

Before the starters came, breadsticks with three spreads were presented. You could actually go to La Veranda just for this. The spreads were tomato sauce, black olive butter and some garlicky-mayonnaise spread. Each one made the breadsticks a different taste experience, all of them good!

Starters…

1.

Bruschetta – Crusty Bread with fresh tomato infused with Basil, Garlic & Olive oil Dressing. Went down well and repeatedly.

2.

Shrimp Scampi Fritta – Hand-breaded and fried shrimp lightly tossed with garlic and a butter lemon sauce. Shrimp is always a good idea!!!!

3.

Insalate Frutto di Mare (Seafood Salad) – Shrimps, calamari, mussels marinated in Lemon, extra virgin olive oil & fresh herbs with julienne of tomatoes & green peppers. The calamari came across as the strongest of the taste notes in this dish.

4.

Pollo Alla Honey – Chicken, Honey, Salt, Black pepper, Garlic, Ginger, Egg, Flour, Butter, Soya sauce, Tomato paste, Lemon juice, Creme fraiche. My only ‘I don’t feel this” dish.

5.

Summer Steak Salad – I couldn’t confirm the exact name at the time of publishing but it was an interesting salad with pieces of beef steak, cherry tomatoes and a few other vegetables as the picture shows. Felt quite summery so I named it. LOL!

6.

Gratin d’Artichouts (Artichoke Gratin) – Creamy blend of parmesan, blue cheese, garlic sautéed artichoke and parsley, sprinkled with mozzarella cheese and baked in a clay pot.

Boom! This is the standout for me! Maybe it was the cheese but the texture was just lush. I definitely had to stop myself from going back due to the many things yet to be tried.

Mains…

1.

Chef’s Supreme Pizza – Tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, parma ham, chicken, ham, salami, mushroom, olives. Definitely not a bad pizza! Thin crust and not overloaded with tomato sauce so you could taste everything.

2.

Spaghetti a la Vodka – Spaghetti, Cream fresh, Tomato sauce, Mincemeat, Red pepper, Vodka, Salt, Black pepper, Parmesan cheese, Parsley. And this! Simply very enjoyable!

3.

Penne al Pesto – Penne pasta tossed with homemade basil pesto sauce. If you like pesto, you will definitely like this.

4.

Risotto con Porcini al Funghi (Mushroom and Capers Risotto) – Arborio rice prepared with a sauce of wild mushrooms & capers, creme fraiche topped with parmesan. It’s been a while since I had Risotto, and this wasn’t a let down. I would like to do it again.

The next few dishes felt like home cooking – more comfort food than gourmet – which is not a bad thing…

5.

Shrimps Levernizi – Shrimps, Tomato sauce, Black sliced olives, Parsley, Salt, Black pepper, Garlic, Baguette, Butter.

6.

Involtini Alla Fungi – Steak fillet, Spinach, Mushroom, Mozzarella cheese, Garlic, Parsley, Creme fraiche, Salt, Black pepper, Mixed vegetables, Potato, Butter

7. Medaglione Alla Pepper Verdi – Beef steak, Green pepper, Black pepper, Creme fraiche, Potato, Salt, Mixed vegetables, Butter

8.

Pollo Forcitto – Chicken, mixed vegetables, Garlic, Salt, Rosemary, Parsley, Potato, Cream fraiche. Feels a bit like home cooking. More comfort food than gourmet which is not a bad thing.

 

Desserts…

Cheesecake which was basically a sugar explosion.

Tiramisu is always a good idea.

General Critique…

La Veranda is the Italian property among the Blowfish Group’s food empire and the menu is what you would expect to find. The location of the restaurant overlooking the pool and grill along with it’s ‘veranda’ section is charming. The menu requires a bit of translation since it is mainly in Italian though it is easy to pick out classics. Price point is also at the level of Victoria Island restaurants while service still needs a bit of work with the same issues of speed and finesse common to our locales. A bit more attention to detail is required but it remains a good place for an evening out.