ITALIAN PLACE WITH A NIGERIAN GATHER HOUSE AND NO JOLLOF?
Who else is tired of the “Sorry, we are closed on Mondays” restaurant thing?
The day has a bad reputation already, cut it some slack and serve us some food!
CK and I just wanted to sit down somewhere quiet and eat lunch but no, the universe won’t allow us have it easy. Three different restaurants in Victoria Island, all closed because it was a Monday. The endless drive had gotten me hungry so we decided to go back home to eat eba and egusi soup then…..magic happened. I sighted an open gate with colorful little flags waving about…. could this be sunshine on a cloudy day? Yes, UMUTU was open!
My head was all for food at this point so we went straight in, had a waiter sit us down and began scanning through the rather large menu. The amount of options got me dizzy but decided to stick to the pasta and pizza sections because Umutu is an Italian restaurant. Although, the menu had “Nigerian Gather House” written boldly on it.
The pizza menu was shockingly free of proper meat options, all I saw was ham. The waiter explained that they could add meat to whatever I pick but couldn’t wrap my head around it, kept wishing there were pictures of all these many Italian named dishes. Finally settled for pasta, a ravioli in pink sauce dish at ₦6,000 and was quite pleased with it.
CK casually asked for a pot of mint tea like some posh kid….the shock on my face….Igbo man drinking tea in the afternoon….okay then!
After my meal, I was a happy kid again and suddenly worked up an appetite to explore the space. The waiter showed us to a dining area upstairs. Just like downstairs, the ambience was calm and darling. Décor had this retro vibe to it, 90s cassette tapes, wooden chest, type writer, old record player, figurines…..just filled with old beautiful soul. I could imagine coming here to have a relaxing conversation over dinner on a not-so-hungry day. Just as we were about to step out, I noticed an indoor bar tucked in nicely by the side with a black shiny piano that is apparently used to entertain guests on Fridays and Sundays. Definitely going back for that.
Our last tourist attraction was their outdoor space. Walking out now, I realized their parking could only take a few cars. On reaching our destination, I fell so in love at first glance that I wish we sat here at the beginning! The roof was covered with straw mats in the most fashionable way, there were about a dozen paintings of beautiful people, most likely Nigerians because the plush Ankara throw pillows clearly had “Nigerian Gather House” on them. It became mind baffling why an Italian restaurant with an Italian menu (not even a jollof infusion) would have “Nigerian anything” as their catchphrase so we asked. Apparently, they used to have a location at the “Nigerian” airport that served local meals which has since closed down but they decided to stick to the theme they had there. Now, the best part….this part houses a glass shop for their pizzas which by the way are all wood fired (the oven is something to see), ice-cream stand and a bigger bar with a red shiny coffee machine that will make your throat water for coffee. Finally got the Umutu “Coffee” name just by staring at that beauty. I have to go back just to have a cup filled with goodness from it. We decided to try their ice-cream, ₦1,500 for three scoops served in a nice glass. We sat down to enjoy it….definitely gelato texture! A soccer match was on but we still had enough quiet to finally have the kind of date we wanted in the first place. Who says simple ice-cream dates don’t do the magic?
Definitely worth a visit if you haven’t been here before and if you have, what was your experience like?
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