Two weeks ago I went on a lunch date with my cousin, Ramat who recently rounded up her medical degree. I’m so proud to be able to call her a Doctor now and even happier that she is back home with me and we can both carry on with our mischief.
Being somewhat of a newbie in Abuja, I asked her to find us a nice place to have lunch and she suggested the Tearoom, which is owned by Rukaiya Indimi Dantata popularly known as rukymama.
I’ve never had lunch from the famed restaurant but I did visit the place the week before to make some inquiries concerning group reservations for my book club and I was pleased with what I saw when I arrived there, but was surprised by the number of people the petite cafe could accommodate.
Ramzey (as I like to call her) and I decided to go there on a warm Saturday evening and I remember before heading out to the restaurant, my older sister and husband had warned us to place our orders ahead of time because the restaurant is known to serve their food extremely late. I was more or less fasting that day because I hadn’t eaten anything all day, and Ramzey hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast so we were both famished but we failed to heed their advice in the name of having an open mind and not having our judgement tainted by their biased information; so we decided to give the restaurant a fair chance and silently hoped they would not live up to their bad reputation.
Upon arriving at the place we struggled to find a parking space, which I wasn’t too pleased about. The restaurant is located by the side of a narrow street, which makes it difficult for drivers to park but I do like the fact that the place is located in the heart of the city.
On our stroll to the entrance of the restaurant, we literally had to pause and wait for a group of girls to finish taking pictures by the decorative door. It made me wonder do people actually come here for the food or just the aesthetic and to post cute pictures on Instagram?
The inside of the cafe was quite calm and lovely, besides the group of girls that were in a corner changing outfits and taking pictures on their phone, Ramat and I were the only ones inside.
The best word I can use to describe the interior and the cosmic vibe of the restaurant is whimsical. Being inside felt like being zapped into a petite candy store in a children’s fairy-tale book which had flowers, sprinkles and all the rainbows you needed in the world to make you feel like a happy child.
I loved the rose gold accent of the cutlery and designs perfectly perched on the table and the pastel colors of the room. I must say the most feminine part of my being felt welcomed and visually pampered.
My date and I found a sit by the corner of the room and kindly requested that the waitress bring us our menus. To our dismay the Tea Room menu was simply made up of tea, pastries and desserts. My tummy made a loud growl in protest.
Ramzey and I exchanged confused looks and asked the waitress to bring us the ‘food’ menu. It was then she explained to us that if we wanted to eat ‘real food’ and stay inside the restaurant we had to first order from the Tea Room Menu. If we wanted to order just from the food menu (from Tulip Bistro) we had to seat outside.
Ramat and I had another glance through the lighter menu (The Tearoom Menu) and placed an order for our desserts and drinks. There was no way in hell we were sacrificing the comfort of the pretty air conditioned room and the cushioned chairs, to sit outside on steel chairs and to have our lunch with thirsty flies that were buzzing around the canopy.
Not to mention we were incredibly famished and couldn’t wait for our main meals to arrive, so we requested for our desserts to be served as soon as possible before the mains are served.
About 5 minutes later the waitress served our desserts.
Mains & Drinks
Ramat ordered the Anadariya Baby Chicken with Oriental Rice (N3,500) with the Mint lemonade (N1000).
I ordered the Chicken Ceaser Salad (N3000) with the Mint Lemonade (N1000).
For dessert I ordered the Tres Leches (N1500) and Ramat ordered the Chocolate Cream pie (N1500)
So, I really didn’t know what to expect when I made my dessert choice; was it going to be a moist or soggy experience? When I took the first bite of the tres leches, my answer was definitely moist. I was super glad that I ordered it, the cake had just the right balance of sweetness to it. The truth is i’m not really a fan of sponge cake but the idea that it was going to be soaked in milk and had delicious whipped cream on top was what swayed me into opting for it instead of the cheesecake.
Ramat’s saccharine chocolate cream pie was greatly disappointing because we spotted a tiny gnat hanging beside it. I tell you disappointed is nowhere close to describing how I felt when I saw the fly. The truth is if it was the regular house fly I would have been more forgiving of the owner and the management team because it is possible that when customers frequently enter and leave the cafe a fly could easily slip in but it was those tiny little flies that is known to surround food that is close to rotting that was looming near the cake and that to me is unforgivable. It made me question the working conditions of the kitchen and the cleanliness of the area of where the plates are stored.
Thinking about it now I wonder why we never brought it to the attention of the waitress or the manager. I believe it’s because we were so hungry it skipped our minds to do so and we were also distracted by trying to hurriedly take a decent picture of the dessert before chugging the dessert down our throat.
A little while later our mint lemonades were served and by this time a lot more people started to arrive in the restaurant.
The slushy lemonade honestly wasn’t bad but it tasted a lot like mint bubblegum. I’m not a fan of the bubblegum taste and its why I dislike it. Despite the colour of the lemonade being my favorite, I don’t see myself placing an order for the mint lemonade in the future. It’s just not for me.
So the warning we got earlier in the day came back to bite us. The waitress had earlier mentioned that Ramat’s order (the baby chicken with oriental rice) would take 25 minutes but we ended up having to wait for an hour before it came out, although my salad was served about 15 minutes earlier.
On the one hand I’m reluctant to hold the Tea Room responsible for the horrendous waiting time of the food since it’s actually an order from Tulip Bistro (a separate restaurant). However, I’m like why not? The Tea Room, Anadariya & Tulip Bistro is practically owned by the same person!
As a lawyer I’m forced to remember the doctrine of lifting the corporate veil and how it applies in this scenario, so I’m going to let it slide.
I loved my Caesar Salad it was absolutely delicious, I wished it had a little more croutons in it but i’m not complaining. The salad cream is divine and definitely a secret recipe for the restaurant.
Ramat’s grilled baby chicken tasted pretty average. It wasn’t as succulent as we had hoped and it was a little bit more on the crispier side. The oriental rice was quite tasty; the cinnamon contained in the rice could not be missed.
I must mention that the portion of the meal was very generous. As hungry as Ramat was she could only manage to eat half of her meal and I literally had to force myself to finish my bowl of salad.
Our overall experience at The Tearoom was rich. The Tearoom is a beautiful place to catch up with your girlfriends and to take bomb pictures. Will I go back again? Well as long as they continue to serve their delicious tres leches, I most definitely will!
Critique Hat Score: 7/10
Recommendations (if any): I highly recommend their Tres Leches.
No 7 Atakpame Street
0809 483 9999
Monday – Saturday: 10am – 9pm
Sundays: 12pm – 9pm
If you’ve been to The Tea Room, what other dessert or hot beverage would you recommend I get on my next visit?
If you’ve never been to The Tea Room, you should definitely check them out!
And always remeber to count memories and not calories!