Check Inn Hotel is a quaint hotel in Wuse 2 located on Durban Street. I was approached to review the food as they had received mixed reviews from a diner in the past. In order to check this, they asked me to review the cooks they have.
On Saturday, I reviewed Cook U.
When you walk into the hotel, the aroma makes you happy. There’s nothing like a hotel that takes great care to make sure that the air you breathe-in calms you. You don’t want to walk into a hotel where you hear an air freshener diffuser releasing its contents; it’s annoying and can be a bit disconcerting. I would’ve been more comfortable with a demarcation between the reception and the restaurant but alas, I can’t change the structure. Diners shouldn’t be disturbed by the goings-on in the reception. The restaurant was empty therefore quiet when I came in but I can only imagine what would happen during peak times. It can seat 24 people comfortably and there’s also music playing in the background, it’s not obnoxious and sometimes you even forget that it’s there.
After getting myself acquainted with Cook U, I ordered Jollof rice with Chicken and Plantain and Beef Stroganoff. The idea was to get a favourite Nigerian dish and a foreign/continental dish. I was told the food would take 25/30 minutes and set a timer to this effect. I was happy I was told 30 minutes and not something ridiculous like 15 minutes. Unfortunately, it took a bit longer than 30 minutes, about 5 minutes longer. I was also happy not to hear the “We don’t have it” mantra of Nigerian restaurants. I, however, wasn’t offered water.
Out came the Jollof Rice and it smelled really good. I was also very hungry, hehe. The waiter had BO though (Chubbydija: we have a big BO problem in this country). I find it weird how the only dessert on the menu is fruits topped with nuts, the people need more please.
I ordinarily don’t eat rice but when I do, I like my rice not too soft and the rice pretty much delivered. It could have been cooked a bit more though.I was hoping they wouldn’t destroy the signature Jollof rice taste and they didn’t. I also don’t like spicy food and this wasn’t too spicy.
It was thinly sliced which I liked but it wasn’t cooked all the way. It also wasn’t oily, as we know thin plantain can be.
I’ve said before how I’m not a fan of ordering chicken at restaurants because it’s almost always not marinated properly. What helped this chicken was the fact that it was fried and every bite you took had some sauce in it. Otherwise, it could have been marinated better. Also, the oil should be changed, I could taste oil that has been seriously reused.
Al dente pasta ✓
Creamy sauce ✓
I ordered this because I thought they wouldn’t get it right. 🙈 It was my first time having it but I loved it. That first bite got me hooked and I abandoned the Jollof Rice. The beef strips tasted great and very flavourful. I also liked the cute little tomato flower. The mushrooms added a great texture to the sauce and there was a hint of black pepper which I love.
The negatives were that there weren’t waiters standing around and the glass smelled like fish.
On Sunday, I reviewed Cook S.
I got to the hotel at about 2 pm on Day 2 and they were just setting up the glasses and cutlery. I got myself acquainted with Cook S and ordered Fried Rice with Beef and Plantain and Fish Fingers with Mash Potatoes. I was told that the starter would take 15 minutes to prepare. I didn’t order a starter so hearing that was strange seeing as the Fish Fingers are listed under ‘Light Meals and Sandwiches’ so I guess that’s what Cook U meant.
The Fish Fingers took about 15 minutes as promised and looking at them made me think about how fat I was going to get. They were also dry and you could, once again, tell that the oil that was used had been re-used a lot of times. Despite the appearance of the fish fingers, they were soft inside. The sauce it was served with was a bit weird in that I got confused when I tasted it. It had lemon and pepper and still managed to be tasteless. Might I suggest tartar sauce or garlic mayo?
The mash potatoes looked like eba, uncooked eba, and not like the fluffy mash potatoes I love. It was pretty much a disaster in mash potato land. It was lumpy and the texture was off, probably due to the fact that the potatoes were not properly cooked. It somehow managed to taste like mash potatoes taste.
It wasn’t very tasty, definitely not memorable. As a Nigerian, better justice could be done to the rice. You don’t want meh Fried Rice on a Sunday afternoon.
It wasn’t salted but was the best thing on my plate.
The sauce was peppery and the meat wasn’t tasty, all it had going for it was that it was fried. If the sauce was supposed to add to the taste, that was a fail as it was tasteless too.
They cooks knew that I was there to review the food; that could have made them cook better than they ordinarily would have. This obviously wasn’t the case on Day 2 though. Or was it? 😮 On Day 1, I asked the chef to reduce the portion sizes as I was the only one. The meal portions were okay for me but I think the pasta dish was reduced.
It was going to be a battle of who could make the best Jollof Rice but alas, variety is the spice of life. (ChubbyDija: She didn’t want to eat the same thing twice.)
Jollof/Fried Rice: N3, 000
Beef Stroganoff: N3, 500
Fish Fingers (with French Fries and Coleslaw): N3, 000
Mash Potato: N800