Casper & Gambini’s
So a couple of friends and I decided to case out any nice place for a good dinner! We wanted a place to relax with that “feel good” sensation and to catch up on life, gossip, plans and whatnot! Very hard to do that in Lagos with all the traffic, distance and fuel wahala!!
Anyway, trading emails back and forth about this dinner (which by the way we ought to be having once every month), we were glad this looked like it could happen!! Whoop whoop!
Suggestions poured in; Cross Road Restaurant, George, Red, and Casper & Gambini’s. Well, I had heard about two of the four or five options, and so I chose one of the two- Casper & Gambini’s!
It was 5pm and I was 17 minutes late to the car park, and twenty-nine minutes to the restaurant. Now I had to be mindful, parking is a drag there. My friend’s driver had to come out and save my hungry stomach. I spent 12 minutes trying to park. But the early frustrations flew out the window when I was greeted by the nice ambience. It was just posh! Nice décor. I liked that the eating area had some nice “pockets” you could tuck yourself into. No one looked up with a strange look on his face when my friends, my sister and I squealed our greetings to each other with hugs and kisses.
Our waiter Solomon was quick and attentive. We got some strange looking breads in a tin tray with dips. They were oddly shaped one plane one with sesame seeds, another dark crusted and another like dried sticks. I couldn’t tell what kind of bread they were but they tasted alright. Only I didn’t think it was enough because we were really hungry. Thinking our food will probably take some time, we ordered more bread! Surprisingly the starters arrived on time: the wings came garnished with spring onions, sticky and yummy. The chips were good; not fantastic, but good.
I ordered the Spinach Chicken Salad just because it had most of my favorite things; almonds, bacon, and avocado. Mmmmm, I promise you, you can’t go wrong with this dish. The balsamic dressing was divine but I was careful not to dump all of it in so I would not be left with a very oily salad. I hit a jackpot with that salad.
Dumebi wanted to try something new and so she went for the prawns and couscous. Now I am not a fan of couscous and she had never had it so I wasn’t put off when she didn’t quite enjoy the first few bites. It had raisins, mint, marmalade and a citrus dressing. I figured it couldn’t be half bad so I tried a forkful and it tasted nice. I’m sure if you enjoy couscous, it would have been a splendid dish for you.
Our main dish consisted mainly of potatoes, where I had the Chicken under a Brick with roast potatoes. Koko had the Casper’s Chicken Escalope. I wouldn’t have ordered that. If you are not a fan of cream cheese, stay away from the Chicken Escalope. I did order them for hubby because he loves cheese and chicken. He loves mashed potatoes and the chicken was just alright. Hmmm, my Chicken under a Brick was a nice but how do you say it “my Naija tongue dey find correct spices, chilli and whatnot in the chicken,” and this one didn’t quite make it. I did enjoy the seasonal veggies though, albeit, that they came in small portions.
For drinks, we started off with smoothies. Our waiter, Solomon, explained there were no raspberries and strawberries and so my choice of smoothies would come only with bananas, kiwi, apples and mango. It was fine with me. When my drink came, my friends had a taste and ended up ordering the same for themselves.
Dumebi and I had the margaritas! One sip and we remembered we were driving and had a bottle of 7up to neutralize the deliciously potent drink. I thought the mint was a bit too much, but all in all it was divine! Uche had the peach and honey rita and she thoroughly enjoyed it. And Koko, oh well Koko had water. Bleh!
Four hours, a hundred bursts of laughter and a full stomach. I was on the lookout for the restroom which was right there beside us. I could hear my girls chatting and laughing away while I was in there and I wondered why it was so close. It should have been tucked away somewhere not so obvious I thought.
The overall experience at Casper & Gambini for me was an 8 out of 10. And desserts you might be thinking? Oh well we decided to do their desserts another day and opted for a change of scenery for desserts…. I’ll tell you all about that in a bit.
VERDICT: GOOD EAT!
Hans & René
So, Dumebi said she had heard about this place that does nice gelatos? What’s that? For me ice cream, frozen yogurts et al were basically all the same. I was wrong.
Gelato is made with a base of milk, cream and sugar flavored with stuff like fruit and nut purees. It is generally lower in fat, but higher in sugar, than other styles of ice creams (who knew?). It typically contains less air and more flavoring than other kinds of frozen desserts, giving it a density and richness that distinguishes it from other ice creams. This is Wikipedia to the rescue.
Back to the matter. Dumebi called to say “Hey, head towards 270 Ozumba Mbadiwe, It’s called Hans & Rene.” Now I had gone the stretch of Ozumba Mbadiwe hundreds of times and I hadn’t spotted Hans & Rene on any 270! Confusion! Anyway, I asked my ever-ready Google Maps companion, and when the pleasant female voice began belting out directions, I was at ease and eager to finally have dessert! Pulling up by Raddison Blu Hotel, I hear her familiar confident voice say “you have reached your destination.” Hmmm, this Google Maps sha.” For people like me who have a terrible sense of direction, my Google Maps is like a breath of fresh air.
So I drove in, slowly make my way towards the exit gate and ah ha! There it was! Inviting was my first thought. So I find a place to park and call the girls to confirm the location.
The interior of Hans & Rene didn’t boast of much space but it was a functional one. Not plush but practical and well lit. I think I had the mangolumo sorbet and marscapone with figs. How was it? Scrumptious. I know because I ended up scrapping the bottom of the cardboard cup for any leftovers. The rest did the same with their cups too.
For those of us with more indigenous taste buds, there was something there for us too and I can testify, the mangolumo sorbet was not distant in taste from an actual mango. The agbalumo and zobo sorbets was a surprise!!! If you like sharp and tangy, you should try those.
Found me a place to have delicious, cold and hearty dessert! My friends thought the same too.
And hey, a little sugar is good for the soul. No?
VERDICT: GOOD EAT!
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