Where to find proper coffee in Nigeria – part 2

21 Apr

I did promise you a second part to this topic and never let it be said that I’m not a man of my word. So we continue our coffee pilgrimage in South West Ikoyi at:

Oga Simon

Oga Simon at the Jazzhole courtesy of John murrayglobal wordpress

The Jazz Hole, Awolowo Road, SW Ikoyi

I do love this place but sadly, not for its coffee. The setting however, makes up for it. The Jazz Hole as the name implies is a music shop that sells CDs, books and vinyl of mainly jazz and what some would call world music (I don’t get it either; I just call it music). I’m guessing it’s been around forever as I remember walking past it on my way to school many moons ago when Ikoyi still had trees, houses were houses and not boutiques.

The front of the shop is where the music, posters and and Afro beat artists memorabilia are whilst the back of the shop is a treasure trove of books to rival Quintessence and seating for about 12 to 16 with a small counter displaying sweet and savoury pastries. I ordered a tuna melt which was quite nice and a mocha which was erm, shall we say – sweet. I like to taste the coffee in my mocha but I’m guessing the Jazz Hole are Parisian inspired when it comes to making this stuff as it was overpoweringly chocolatey.

Don’t write them off though; this article is about coffee, they have the bean so the espresso is great and the setting oozes so much culture I’d go through a couple of mochas just to sit and browse for awhile.

cafe vergnano

Latte art courtesy of Lost in Lagos dot com

Caffe Vergnano 1882, The Palms Shopping Centre, Lekki Penninsular

There are two in Lagos the other is at The Galleria, which houses Silverbird Cinema on Ahmadu Bello Way and has in my opinion better service. I’m guessing they are somehow affiliated with Caffe Vergnano on Charing Cross Road and The Southbank in London because the branding is practically identical as are the framed pictures on the wall. The quality of the espresso in either restaurant is top notch which could be due to the Vergnano DNA and the owner’s Middle-Eastern origin (yes I’m generalising here so bear with me).

There is a patisserie counter at the entrance with my favourite guilty pleasure Tiramisu, on display in between the cream cakes and croissants. Comfortable seating abounds with sofas and armchairs interspersed with cafe style tables and chairs.

Back to the service. The Palms branch suffers from that malaise that so many ‘touristy’ places seem to have in Lagos; if you’re not obviously an expat (read ‘white’) you will not get served without going through the motions of signalling a plane. Once you’ve ordered your food and drink it does tend to turn up on time but you have to do the signalling thing again if you want anything else such as ketchup or even the bill. Their club sandwich is rather good, the tuna melt too but you would do well to opt for something more substantial like the burger. My tip is if you want good service off the bat, look bored and wealthy.

The Galleria branch is much better at service probably because the restaurant is smaller and more manageable or probably because there are fewer expats. I did notice on my many visits that there seemed to be more waiters than waitresses who appeared sharper, more polite and walked a lot quicker too. A good place to hide away from the noise of the main shopping centre, down an espresso and polish off a generous helping of Tiramisu.

Salamander Cafe, Aminu Kano crescent, Abuja

My favourite hangout in Abuja with the double whammy of having a book shop in the back and a restaurant that makes Caribbean and European dishes with of course, the added advantage of really good coffee. The cafe also has a sort of screening room where you can watch movie screenings and often other social activities such as book readings and the like. The staff are polite, attentive and you don’t have to have a flashing sign that says ‘EXPAT’ before you get service. The restaurant is small enough to be cosy and large enough not to get other diners elbows in your ribs. If you do find yourself in Abuja,I thoroughly recommend the place.

transorpPiano Lounge, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja

I’ve had comments on my previous post on coffee in Nigeria, why it is they are all in affluent areas. It might have something to do with the price of the stuff and maybe because it’s not a Nigerian cultural thing to drink coffee as it is in other North and East African countries. So yes, my next stop is again in an affluent area of Abuja and right inside the Transcorp Hilton Hotel. The Piano Lounge makes excellent club sandwiches and burgers and even better, the mocha really hits the spot. As with every new place I go to I order an espresso first and if that comes I right, I get adventurous and ask for a mocha. Being a Hilton, I assume they all get trained up on the menu and preparation of everything they sell so the consistency was amazing from one day to the next, one barista to the next. Southern Sun could learn a thing or two from these guys.

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One Response to “Where to find proper coffee in Nigeria – part 2”

  1. kayitana December 23, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    My first time to read your blogs, but i am very impressed by the way you don’t leave any important infos behind! mostly the expat skin service; i hate that whenever i go to such places, and at the end of service we all pay the same amount on the bill! but i assure you a new world experience at cafe neo, the moment you step in you feel like an expat even if you are not!!! Dream plaza 2nd floor, 7Bishop aboyade cole VI Lagos

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