Middle Eastern fine dining at its best…
This month I was challenged to find and explore one of the newly opened restaurant in Lagos. Here at Lost in Lagos, we had quite a few to choose from. And while we excitedly await reviewing some of them, Salma came on top of the list. At last there is a restaurant that lives up to the hype. This is your next go-to restaurant in Lagos.
Lagos has a strong Middle Eastern connection so it’s natural that there are so many restaurants in our city bringing us delights from the Levant. However, the quality can sometimes be found wanting. Salma delivers with truly authentic Lebanese dishes you may have tried before, plus bold vibrant dishes bound to delight your taste buds. In addition, it’s set in a smart, open and inviting space, with lots of light accentuating its favourable location next to the water in a newly converted block next to Cactus. It’s roomy and inviting and feels like a place one can spend several hours. After your feast, there’s shisha and Lebanese coffee on offer which I had over a game of backgammon overlooking the palm tree-lined pool outside.
For starters, I ordered Falafel, the classic chickpea dish. Although simple, it is a good barometer to the quality of food about to come. It was very good and went perfectly with the lavish portion of thin, warm flat bread, tahini and vegetables and salad.
The feeling of lavishness doesn’t end with the starters. It extends to the service and attentive way one’s glass and plate is always seemingly full, ready to be topped up in case you lapse and become hungry again.
As it’s a new menu, I needed some help deciding what to order. Ordinarily, when I must resort to asking the redundant question “What do you recommend?” I tend to get a response of bemusement, a vacuous stare—as if I said something in a foreign language—or am confidently told that “Everything on the menu is perfect, sah!”
Thankfully the head waiter smiled and suggested Bemieh bel Ziet and the Fattet Hummus for a true taste of the chef’s talent. My inability to pronounce the names of the dishes didn’t put me off trying his recommendations.
The bemieh is okra cooked lightly in oil and tomato with garlic, lemon juice and coriander. It’s a great dish for hot weather. The fresh chili sauce on the side has a local Nigerian taste and goes well with it.
The highlight though must be the Fattet Hummus. Fattet Hummus is now one of my favourite dishes. It is hearty, warm and full of tangy garlic, spiced yoghurt, cooked chickpeas and toasted bread. It’s great choice for vegetarians.
For a main course, I had the mixed grill. It was what you’d expect, well-seasoned and cooked over the grill. Maybe it didn’t have the same wow factor as the starters but it was thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless. The king-sized portions meant you really get your money’s worth on what feels more like a banquet at times.
Overall, Salma’s is a welcome addition to the burgeoning restaurant scene in Lagos. I believe it goes high up on the list of quality fine dining choices for the expanding list of places to dine out.
Typical price of a two-course meal.
₦ - less than 10,000
₦ ₦ - 10,000 - 20,000
₦ ₦ ₦ - More than 20,000
Value for money
4/5 Not the cheapest, but the portions and quality of food more than compensate.
5/5 Backgammon, fine desserts and coffee after dinner, yes please!
4/5 The staff including the management were genuinely friendly and welcoming.
Salma's Authentic Lebanese Cuisine
20-24 Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos
t: +234 809 333 3316
Thomas Onyeador is a part time chef, foodie and blogger with the occasional pop up restaurant night. Being a wanderlust at heart, his travels have taken him across Europe, Southeast Asia, America and most of West Africa, allowing him to taste authentic cuisines from around the world. He is part of a new breed, with a discerning taste for quality dining experiences in Nigeria and a focus on locally sourced food.
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