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