"So I was just over here minding my business and…"
* I have written an additional post on The Foundry based on the outcome of this initial blog post. I have to say that owners of establishments that are truly invested in making their businesses excellent and providing stellar service will ALWAYS get my custom. Thank you Mr. Akinola.*
The Foundry (Plot 288B Ajose Adeogun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos) is a new restaurant in Victoria Island, from the owners of my favourite spot around these parts, Casa Lydia Restaurant (19 Glover Road, Ikoyi). In January, as a true regular, I noticed that one of the bartenders, Kelvin, had been away for a while. So I asked, and was told that he was coordinating a new restaurant in VI. Earlier this year, I referred a friend (and some of his out-of-town colleagues) there and got a shrug and an “It was just okay” when I asked for a review so I honestly wasn’t too keen.
Last Saturday, my friends and fellow Casa regulars – Enyi and Eno – and I were in VI and starving so we decided to try it out. Finding it wasn’t too hard (make a U-turn at the first opening on Ajose. Plot 288B is right before Skye bank). .
General Ambience and Decor:
There is no sign , as is often the case in Lagos (LASAA charges I presume). There also isn’t adequate parking in the compound. The security guards were a little too eager to help me open my car door. The first building one encounters has no sign of any restaurant being on the premises. There was a vacant shop space and then what appeared to be a baked goods shop (no name on that either) in the building at the front. I asked the security guard who pointed to an alley-like path. “At the back?” I asked. He nodded. The path led to a large poolside area which was a welcome contrast to the eerie building at the front. There was a well-lit structure all the way at the back with large windows and a big metal door, so I walked in.
The decor features a lot of metal and there’s a nice little story on the front of the menu about how the owner made a trip to Owode Onirin , the local metalworks yard, and was hooked. The music was awesome (It is exactly the same as what’s on at Glover). The chairs aren’t great though. I almost fell over standing up to greet someone.The restaurant seems to be going for a more upmarket feel than Casa Lydia, but not as fancy as La Provence (also at 19 Glover).
It got a bit warm at some point, and after a quick look round, I had to ask for the A/Cs to be turned on (most of them were off)
Rating: 7/10. Not bad, but needs work. Especially on the building (dark and unoccupied) in front.
Quality of Service – Menu and Ordering:
Going through the menu was difficult as the print was tiny ( the newspaper idea is nice but didn’t work for any of us).The alcoholic cocktail selection was minimal which I found strange as one of my favorite things about Casa Lydia is their extensive drinks menu. After struggling with whether to order a drink from a barman I didn’t know – Kelvin was at Glover, they said – I decided on a simple Tom Collins. My friend, Eno asked for tea – ANY Tea – but with honey. Our waitress went away and came back saying they only had green tea but there was no honey, only sugar. Eno declined and instead chose to share a big bottle of water with Enyi.
The waitress asked if we wanted any starters. We declined and said we’d like to go straight to the main. For food, I ordered their Foreman’s burger – It’s a double meat burger, with a fried egg and bacon, served with fries and onion rings. It’s description was almost the same as Casa Lydia’s Dagwood burger which is a FANTASTIC burger. Enyi asked if they had lamb ribs. The waitressstuttered, walked away to confirm from the chef, then came back and said yes. He ordered and swapped his french fries for yam chips. She said it would cost extra. He said to go ahead anyway. Eno ordered the Foundry’s roast – a roasted half chicken, served on a bed of sautéed vegetables, with herb-roasted potatoes and a lemon-herb-butter sauce.
Rating: 6/10. Some menu items are overpriced – Paella costs N10,000!!! Some of the alcoholic cocktails are a bit steep too. Also, staff didn’t seem knowledgeable about menu offerings.
Food and Drinks review (pictures below):
My burger was served on a wooden plank that was impossible to eat on, so the waitress came back with a side plate. First thing I noticed: it was covered in some sauce I didn’t recognize. It was kind of like Thousand island but a bit creamier. It also didn’t have any bacon in it but had canned mushrooms instead!!!!!! The fries were under-seasoned, as was the beef in the burger. PLUS I didn’t get any onion rings. No explanation was offered about the lack of bacon and onion rings. I was forced to eat the uncomfortably messy burger with a fork and knife.
Enyi’s lamb ribs were also served on a similar plank but were just…weird. The portion was tiny, the sauce didn’t quite work and only one piece was on the bone. The yam chips were cold and just not right. He had also asked for a Neapolitan-style sauce, that is served with the platters at Casa Lydia, on the side. What they served did not taste anything like what we’d asked for and was served in this tiny little container. When we complained, the waitress shrugged and said “That’s what the chef gave me”. O_0
The Foundry’s Roast was the best of the three orders (served on a plank again….I see a theme) The chicken was moist, the veggies were really tasty, and the potatoes were alright. However, the sauce had this thick layer of oil and didn’t appear to be mixed properly.
The water was served with small wine glasses, which Enyi complained about endlessly. My Tom Collins though….*sigh*. First of all, it came in a tall glass (it’s a short drink!). It was also so watered down that I had to ask Eno to taste it so I knew it wasn’t my high alcohol tolerance that was messing with me.
Rating: 4.5/10. I can’t shout. See above.
Feedback/What happened next:
As I was so frustrated with the food and the service, I tried to call Kelvin. When I couldn’t get through, I called Victor, the head waiter at Glover, who confirmed that Kelvin was on his way back. So we waited.
As soon as he walked in, we told him about the horrible experience we had just had. He was extremely apologetic and immediately tried to fix things. First, he came back and said there were four kinds of tea available AND there was honey!! The barman, Ella, had misinformed the waitress. So, Eno asked for some English breakfast tea. He also went ahead and offered Enyi a non-alcoholic cocktail and re-made my Tom Collins. All the replacement drinks were complimentary.
Neither the waitress nor Ella, the barman, were even remotely apologetic. Ella never left his station to even find out what had gone wrong even when Kelvin got behind the bar to make fresh drinks.
Kelvin also explained that the lamb ribs are an appetiser which would explain the portion size. (and the extra charge for the yam chips)
Bonus Rating: 7/10. He did what any manager/coordinator should do.
My burger was N2,000, which is extremely reasonable, and my Tom Collins was also N2,000. The other two meals were about N3,500 each. Add the bottle of water and the VAT, and we had a total of N12,600 (approximately N4,000 each)
A LOT of work needs to be done on training the staff – especially the chef and the barman – on the basic menu offerings, plating and presentation. The wait staff also need to be trained on how to handle and serve plates of food. A lot of our dishes were almost flung at us.
I won’t be going there for a while. They need to sort out their teething issues and then maybe, I’ll venture back. Oh, and they didn’t have any dessert available. NO BUENO.
We also spoke to another friend there and her main issue – which my friend who I’d referred had also mentioned – was the front bit of the compound. She described the partially vacant and dark building as “quite off-putting”.
OVERALL RATING: (Over 50) : 31.5
I will be heading back quietly to my dear 19 Glover until further notice…