February this year, I won a valentine dinner contest, courtesy Maggi Nigeria. The host was NOK Restaurant. NOK is a contemporary Pan African restaurant situated in Victoria Island Lagos. My dinner was slated for 8:00pm and I got there on time (who wan miss free dinner?). The first thing that struck me when I entered was the brightly lit rectangular shaped building. I sighted several African paintings, art works, furniture, e.t.c on display. It was simply beautiful. As I walked further down I saw bamboo trees swirling in the evening breeze. Chairs and tables were nestled around beautiful lush bamboo trees. There was a live band already serenading diners with love songs by Kenny G, Lagbaja, and the likes. The sight was quite fascinating.

One of the ushers (dressed in the traditional oleku attire) approached me and asked if I had a reservation. I stated my name as I was told to and she checked her booklet. She smiled at me and led me inside to my seat. Again, I was struck by the ambience, luxury and africanness. The mahogany tables had roses placed on it; there were beautiful works of art scattered on the walls and I sat down like a queen. Thankfully, the music was filtering inside.

The theme of the dinner was tagged “aphrodisiac” and I was to be treated to a three course meal. On the menu, I saw things like frog’s legs, baby chickens, peanut okro, snail bruschetta etc but respected myself and ordered food I could at least recognize (before my village people would come and disgrace me). For starters I opted for NOK love salad (avocado, beetroot pomegranates and pine nuts), for the main course, Blackened Cat fish and Creole dirty rice, for dessert Chocolate chilli mousse with chocolate crumple. Phew!

Along with the starter dish, the waiter brought a free strawberry cocktail drink for me. It was incredibly sweet. I was just sipping it slowly. Hmmn the salad had a tangy and sour taste, as I swallowed; I topped it with a sip of my sweet drink. My tastes buds were literarily on a tour but it was just the beginning.  After eating a reasonable amount, I signaled to the waiter for the main dish. I was looking forward to this “dirty rice” and for a second, I thought I would find dirt and sand inside (just kidding).  The rice was slightly brown and hard but tasted good. The catfish was better. It appeared to have been baked with different spices. My drink was almost finished by now so I ordered for a 50 cl bottle of water which cost #600. It was the only thing not included in the treat.

The dessert was served in a small cup and had a bitter sweet taste like chocolate and coffee mixed together. It was an awesome valentine!

I would definitely be going back there soon!

Cover Image Source – nokbyalara.com

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