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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Urban Grill – the best high-end Steakhouse in Accra?


 Urban Grill is believed to be the best high-end Steakhouse in Accra. The restaurant is nestled just above the equally popular restaurant/lounge, Coco Lounge at Icon House in Airport City.

 

As a lover of meats I had to try this new establishment as soon as it opened, so I eagerly attended Urban Grill’s launch night. I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised by the decor of the restaurant. It was rich in character and texture from the glitzy, tactile cubic encrusted mirrored walls to the cozy leather lounge seats. I knew this place wouldn't be easy on the pockets, but once in a while one must indulge in the finer things of life, hence I braced myself to the astounding pricing on the menu. 


 

Cocktails and drinks average at 40ghc per glass. I settled on the Caipirinha, (for the uninitiated, this drink is akin to a sweet margarita) and did that cocktail hit the spot I had to have 2 for good measure to make sure it was really that good and not a fluke. 

 

For starters, I opted for ‘Squid Three Ways’ , a version stewed with sauce, another with salt and pepper and the other grilled with tomato, onions and hot pepper, Given the price of this starter, I was pleased with its large portioning, as it could be shared among 2-3 people. It was a delight to enjoy the different play on flavour for each variety of squid. 




I also sampled one of Urban Grill’s side dishes – Sweet Plantain Balls, which was actually a creative take on Ghanaian Kakro (spiced, plantain fritters). They were sweet indeed, making me eagerly anticipate the main course.

For the main course, with options from seafood to meats, I chose the Churrasco Skirt Steak With chimichurri sauce, medium well with a side of truffled chips. It came out looking majestic with simple yet appealing plating. The Steak with the chimchurri were a perfect pairing as they complimented each other quite well. The meat was flavorful and tender, almost tapering on being well done but I gave it a pass on account that it still had a hue of pink in the middle. 

 

I understand the dessert options vary on a daily basis at Urban Grill. During my visit, I chose the sticky Toffee Pudding in Anglais sauce, a decadent sticky, moist sponge cake, a pleasant comfort food I must say if you aren't counting calories.

 



If you looking for a slightly more intimate setting and upscale to suit your tastes, Urban Grill is the place or if just for a drink with some friends the restaurant opens out into its Al Fresco Cactus moon Bar but that's a tale for another issue.

 

Rating -3.5/5 

Pricing 4/5(cedi Sign)/High End 

By: TasteGhana




Monday, December 28, 2015

Aqua Safari - A mirage of a Resort


Are you looking for a place to be served large portions of frustration with a seasoning of non-existent service and a dollop of stress then welcome to Aqua Safari - a mirage of a Resort. 
Frankly speaking I haven't heard great things about the place but I kept an open mind to give it a try with a group of friends what could possibly go wrong. 

We arrived just before midday settled down and had our own fun and games which we very well organized, structured and executed.

We had initially called on three occasions to ask about buffet prices and were made aware of the details and when lunch will be served. So management was aware of our group coming in on Sunday. 
By 1pm we were exhausted from our games and hungry and ready to see what Aqua safari had on offer for their lunch "buffet".

This is where the tragedy and true personality of this "resort" unfolds. 

We were informed by our waiter, yes one waiter to serve 25 people, that there will be no buffet today. Whereas "others" in a party less than 10 had 2 waiters.
That puzzled me being that we had called beforehand and knowing it being the holiday season they would expect a lot of guests, but as the day proceeded it all started to make sense to me.

So we started off by ordering drinks and I will keep this story centered to me and extrapolate to my friends when necessary.
I ordered for a margarita , and a friend next to me ordered for a gin and tonic.  After which we placed our food orders for the group. 

It took close to an hour for these drinks to be served and I started having a sense of foreboding, that if these drinks took so long then we were in for a bumpy ride with the food. 
Margarita- was overtly sweeter than should be and not strong on the tequila




The soft drinks were hot out of the crates and you know no amount of ice cubes in a cup can survive such to give you a cold drink. 


None of the soft drinks were cold


The menu is vast and categorized from seafood, chicken, lamb, pizza etc. 
Unfortunately they didn't have what was being advertised on their menu. They couldn't provide their "Aqua Safari Royal" , nor did they have any bread to make burgers or sandwiches nor any dough to make any pizza. ( No quantitative meals).

The waiter was embarrassed that they could not offer what was on the menu

About 30 minutes after placing the food orders our waiter Prosper returned to inform us that the food will take over an hour to get ready. Being that there was no other alternative within the area we had to give in and wait, hungry and disappointed. The food arrived after 2 hours of waiting.



I will not go into my basic tenets of flavor profile of food , plating etc because when you are starving all that goes out the window but one cannot escape when food is cold, forget your taste buds, your sense of hot and cold will not dissipate irrespective of how much you are starving . 

The beef sauce was in a friends words "freezing cold" , the Red Red was also a disaster , the beans stew was chunk full of herrings it was more of herrings stew than beans stew and plantain was also cold. Only passable thing was the pork chops and yam. 

By the time the Jollof came I had no motivation to even taste it, and to avoid Jollof is a serious crime. 

In general the food was nothing to write home about, the pricing is all over the place. They had no quantitative meals nor any of quality in general and to go through all the hustle of waiting for such a poor performance from their kitchen. 



I could go on and on ranting about the non existent service rendered at this facility but I doubt much will come out of it from my impression this facility is centered on making a profit and not rendering any service to its guests.

This impression came about from various things and I will conclude with this. This establishment went to the extent of hosting some of its guests in their uncompleted building which I felt was a safety hazard since the structure is incomplete and the facility was not overcrowded, the main terrace restaurant space still had tables to accommodate guests so I cannot rationalize why these guests were being catered for in such a structure . Putting profits over the safety of people is unpardonable.
Uncompleted yet ready to host


Aqua Safari "Resort" should not be your first resort or your last resort if you want any semblance of sanity. From the nonchalant waiters to the non existent service and abysmal quality of food and drinks

I left this abomination and deception of a resort stressed and frustrated.

What a way to draw the year to an end.

Bad foundations collapse easily 

It's just a matter of time.
They were well informed




On entering this is not visible but on leaving its plastered visibly , how poetic


A few customer comments about Aqua Safari


Thursday, November 12, 2015

State of the Services Address - Ghana - Episode 1



This is a rant I did a while back but shelved ....

I choose to release it now because its still relevant..

It's been a while since I have decided to say much or anything here for that matter because, I have been organizing a lot of content and actually am on a little holiday , away from work and stresses of our beloved Ghana.

It's been an eventful day and couple of weeks as I have been trying new things expanding my palate and relaxing at every moment that I get with constant electricity  .. Yay...

Through all of this I could only reflect at the state of the food and services industry and how far back we are and how laissez-faire both the service and consumers have become in Ghana.

We have become complacent and easily accepting of sub standard food , beverages etc whilst paying high end prices for such products.

It saddens me that despite the industry is there to make a profit, majority do not really care about the customers satisfaction or if what they are providing is even standard. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

My Quick Take on Jollof- Simple and Easy steps

Hi, This is just a quick video that I made whilst making Jollof. I make it in different ways but had to use the ingredients that I had with me..
It can always be tweaked with your spices of choice.
Am not one to put up a long recipe so I hope this short visual guide can explain or help a bit with the making of your Jollof..
One trick I learnt from my father is always make sure your Jollof stew is more than the rice you will add to it, that way it steams it evenly.


Also keep the stirring of the rice to a minimum, only turn when needed on low heat adding sprinkles of water when needed to create some steam to help soften and cook the rice.


As per the video I will only add few steps below.


SUBSCRIBE AT - https://www.youtube.com/user/kwabenab

Steps to my Quick Jollof (used ingredients available to me)/Still beats Jamie Oliver's hot mess



Ingredients
      1 cup canned/diced  tomatoes




  • 1 concentrate  tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves- optional not added in video
  • 3 cups long grain perfumed rice
  • 2 cups of  water 
  • Oil 
  • Bell peppers
  •  Scotch bonnet pepper -1 or 2 depend on how hot you like it
  • 1 medium size onion/ You can also blend 1 onion and add to the tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic peeled
  • Fresh grated Ginger
  • 1 tsp  paprika
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • Mixed spices(black pepper, powdered pepper,cloves etc) or  all purpose spice 
  • 2 cubes of Maggie cubes(star, beef or chicken) , u can also use broth or stock.
  •  Salt to taste 
  • Corned beef


  • Optional- a few tbsps. of tomato ketchup* not added in video


    *when u mix in the rice turn the heat a bit low so us not to burn it..
    Cooking Time 1hr-1hr30mins.

    Saturday, July 4, 2015

    Jester of the Wings

    It's been a while , I have been missing on the scene but been doing a lot of background work for something special. Anyways before I go into the wilderness due to work I decided to have my last urban meal at the newly opened 'Lord' of the Wings since I had been told to go try it since it is a franchise and purported to be good. So i started my journey from West Legon and braved the treacherous road to Junction Mall between Nungua and Tema, yes the struggle is real to go all that way to try it but I do it for my palate and for my dear foodies. They do have 2 branches currently open at West Hills Mall and Junction Mall.

    The decor is a diner style , with cushioned cubicle tables and standard small tables and quite spacious albeit empty at the time I went there , the waiters were quick to meet, greet and a bit knowledgeable about what was on the menu. 

    Monday, January 5, 2015

    805 Restaurant - Newly Opened and Lost in Limbo

    2015, started on such a high for me and irrespective it shall continue, I refuse to let this incident mar my year. 

    So on 02/01/15 , I decided to go have lunch at 805 in Airport. I had heard a couple of reviews with some as harsh as "we hated" "it was basic" to "mixed grill was nice" . 

    Eager to debunk any negative impression thus far I decided to try it out for myself. I ordered Jollof and assorted meat and my friend ordered spaghetti bolognaise, we sat and waited for more than 30 minutes  plus before waiter comes back and says "oh they are out of minced meat so would he prefer the bolognaise be done with corned beef "🙈🙈🙈. At this point I knew disaster upon disaster was soon to follow. 

    805 is situated in airport, mind u a few meters walk to Koala Supermarket where  they could easily find some mince meat be it temporary. 

    We had no choice but to switch his order to coconut rice and beef stew . 

    After an hour or more my order came in ,Jollof  with assorted meat.