The Observatory, a fusion smokehouse, does not pretend to be anything other than a smokehouse. Chef Obehi has created a unique dining experience at The Observatory. Her passion for Asian fusion cuisine has been married with Nigerian flavours, with the smoker being their primary cooking method. She takes pride in using primarily local produce, especially the meat, and making her ingredients shine. Her relationship with local farmers means produce and meats are always fresh.
The glass house perched on the second floor overlooking the bustling Admiralty Way, is the perfect place to observe the hectic Lagos traffic while you sit in a beautiful sanctuary. The layout of the restaurant may at first seem unconventional. White marble tables are paired with single, soft, velvet sofa-style seating, arranged so you have a view of the city unfolding before you.
The menu at The Observatory is as unique as its layout. A mix of Asian and Nigerian, with even a couple of American-style dishes, the menu brings together dishes you will not find anywhere else, an unusual combination of dishes that somehow makes sense when brought together. It also makes a difference when everything, from their sauces and spice rubs, to their breads and kimchi are made in-house. Their smoker, their pride of possession, is their secret weapon. The flavour of every dish is lifted and accentuated with the smoker, and of course, their special recipes. The secret to cooking with a smoker is to cook food low and slow. The heat is trapped in the smoker, with a firebox on one side, while the food absorbs the smoke and is cooked by the heat, taking 4-8 hours to cook on average. Expect your palate to be tested, with spices and aromas that you’re not accustomed to, but will love.
The crowd favourite, Smoked Snail, is house smoked slowly, keeping the snail tender and served in a creamy garlic sauce that beautifully complements the smoky flavours in the snail. The cauliflower, a versatile vegetable normally quite bland on its own, is converted into a flavoursome dish that plays with a plethora of spices and sauces. The Smoked Cauliflower is smoked with a house spice rub and Chef Obehi’s own Korean sauce then topped with a creamy Bechamel sauce, giving it a depth you wouldn’t expect from cauliflower.
The meat of choice at The Observatory is tozo, a typically fatty and tough cut of the cow. However, they have taken this normally overlooked meat and turned it into a delicacy on par with Wagyu beef. When cooked properly, tozo is extremely tender, but it needs time and patience to transform it, which they have done. Some examples of the magic they create with tozo include The Tozo Pie, a mouthwatering mixture of tozo and Bechamel sauce in a perfectly crisp pie shell, topped with a sweet beef floss, paper-thin, wispy strands of beef, as well as her famous NYS Bao Buns, fluffy steamed buns stuffed with smoked tozo and fermented rodo alioli.
The allure of The Observatory is the way they take street food, elevate it and present it beautifully, giving you an unpretentious, Fine Dining experience without any of the fuss. The Peking Duck is not only a stunning plate to look at, with the pink of the honey hoisin-glazed smoked duck popping against the bright orange of the carrot mash, and an array of colourful vegetables on the side, but the exquisite combination of the melt-in-your mouth duck and sweet carrot mash is a match made in heaven. The peppery Goat Noodle Soup is another stunning dish. A rainbow of ingredients, with the dark goat meat next to the white noodles, the striking green of the bok choy leaf and bright red chili peppers, and lastly, the white and yellow of the bruleed egg, all strategically placed so you can identify each one on its own, but together create a burst of spicy Asian flavours.
The Observatory is a dining experience you will crave. Be ready for the nightly show that Lagos puts on for you as well as the distinct dishes that will broaden your palate and take you on a journey through Asia and beyond.
15a Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1
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