THE AFRICAN ROOTED HOME, WITH AN UPSCALE POLISHING
As a huge fan of self-taught chefs, Chef Eros has been on my radar since I discovered Cookie Jar and heard that the creator of their yum treats had not undergone any formal training in one of the many fancy culinary schools abroad.
A few weeks back, I saw a really intriguing video clip on his Instagram page introducing “Ile Eros”. It was filled with so much depth and culture, my heart bulged with the pride of being African.
Fast forward to when it was finally revealed to be a restaurant and they opened up to the public. I literally ran a marathon to this “Ile” which is the Yoruba word for “home”. So technically, this is Chef Eros’ home.
I had a bit of a hiccup finding the building because Lekki streets have decided to allocate more than one house with the same number but I finally found it down the street because there was a notable sign of their logo crested on the wall and the excitement began with valet parking services.
The first thing that hit my eyes as I walked in was a mural of an elegant African woman holding a pestle over a mortar. Her regal look prompted my inner voice…. “If she was the one making this food, I’m sure I will lick my fingers”. I would later find out she is Chef Eros’ mum fondly called “Mama Eros”. This worked fine for me as she must have given her son lots of super cooking tips.
There was a picturesque patio area right by the entrance, the patio seemed pretty nice, a well opened space with typhoon fans hanging on the roofs and couches that looked super comfy. But this wasn’t enough to put me in the mood for Lagos sun so I decided to take a walk inside the main restaurant which turned out to be an effortlessly gorgeous space.
Imagine the studio apartment of a posh African family that loves their roots yet vacations abroad…..Ankara drapes and place mats, lots of African inspired art pieces (they have a partnership with an art store so some are for sale), sparkly gold cutlery, scented candles, mural designed ceilings like you see in a Chateaux, a mini kitchen area with touches of Parisian souvenirs like the Eiffel tower and cute kitchen gloves hanging on some really pretty ovens (I could not figure out if they were actual ovens or just display) and my favorite thing…..the most uniquely shaped carafes/pitchers you will ever see which are used to serve guests water (water is free here and spa water is available).
My dining partner arrived and before we settled down to soak in the beauty radiating from the space, a host had met us at the door, asked if we had reservations (they recommend you call ahead to book a table then also inform them of any allergies and preferences you might have). As the lions that we are, we let them know that we eat everything eatable and their menu was handed over, very slick content….the names suggested that they made simple African food but with a twist in terms of cooking style. I wanted to try it all but we finally decided on Dambunama Rolls, Ewa-Agoyin of Honey-Bean Croquet, Lobster Okra and two desserts; Cheesecake & Banana Bread (specially crafted by Cookie Jar which is located right upstairs in the same building).
While we were waiting for our meals, I took my time to continue admiring the restaurant space checking out how minimal yet sophisticated it looked. I don’t really remember getting background music vibes but I think there should be. We were now served bread with herb-infused butter and mayo, just as any upscale dining should. To be honest, the bread was just enough to actually fill me up even before our starter 😂 but I loved it! 👌🏽
The main dishes later arrived and every single meal was so beautifully plated, my eyes were fed even before my mouth opened up.
Now, what made this entire experience outstanding was Chef Eros himself tended to all tables and happily let us in on what the restaurant was all about.
So, Ile Eros is a polished casual restaurant which means they are that gap between fast casual and fine dining restaurants which the Lagos food scene desperately needs. We get to enjoy creatively upgraded traditional delicacies without the fuss that accompanies white tablecloth restaurants, who else finds that thrilling?
Additionally, they do not intend to be stuck with a stable menu. Every week, a potluck club (every food enthusiast can join, just send them a DM on Instagram) dines in and decides on a tasty invention to be added to the menu for the week. They also take out an existing one to avoid bulkiness.
This is not the only event they will be dazzling us with, he explains that they have more lined up events, so you might want to connect with them to learn more.
That pretty much sums it up, my dining partner and I thoroughly enjoyed Ile Eros and will definitely go back over and over again!
|WHAT WE HAD
DAMBUNAMA ROLLS – ₦1,800
EWA-AGOYIN OF HONEY-BEAN CROQUET – ₦2,000
LOBSTER OKRA – ₦6,000
CHEESECAKE – ₦2,500
BANANA BREAD – ₦2,500
Contributor: The Food Lover
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