Review: Nkoyo Really Hits the Right Notes
The earthy décor won me over as soon as I stepped through the door. A lot of restaurants tend to go overboard with the African theme, but not Nkoyo. There are artworks and the African carvings, but they had the good taste to leave out the Ankara prints and cutlery. The ambience was great – perfect lighting, seating arrangements, and a great pianist. Nkoyo is located at 264 Tafawa Balewa Way, Ceddi Plaza, Central Business District Abuja.
We were served complimentary sweet potato crisps while we waited for our meal, but I’ve never been a fan of sweet potatoes that aren’t boiled. I’d been craving Ekpang Nkukwo for the longest time and my heart sang a little song once I spotted it on the menu. While I was eager to indulge myself, a little part of me was a bit wary of two things – portion and quality. I’m pleased to report I wasn’t disappointed on either front.
While the portion looked meagre on arrival, I was actually unable to finish it in one sitting. Much to my delight, the two snails provided were large and well-seasoned – without being overloaded with pepper – and the periwinkles were abundant. The pottage was great. Although I think they neglected to include cocoyam in my serving, the water yam and cocoyam leaves weren’t disgustingly soft.
For drinks, I had the Chapman and a glass of sugar cane juice because why not? The Chapman was honestly average. It was more sugary than fruity and the pineapple cubes in the drink were very sour. The sugarcane juice was a real treat! Smooth, light, and very refreshing, it was like enjoying sugarcane in its true form without all the unnecessary stress of breaking, chewing and spitting. My companion had the Nkoyo Punch which is watermelon and pineapple juice, and he insists it’s his signature drink at that restaurant from now on.
Besides the great food, the Nkoyo staff is really very attentive and pleasant. The waiter brought our menu and went away (you know how annoying it can be when they just hover over your shoulder), and returned as soon as she saw us glance around. She did the same thing when we wanted our bill. The best part is she told us how long our food would take to be ready, and it arrived within the expected time of arrival.
Nkoyo is great whether you want to have a lunch or dinner meeting, or meet up with friends for drinks – they have another area that’s more casual and has a skylight – and I will definitely be returning.