As with all food lovers, I always find the highest quality for optimum satisfaction and often quality comes with a high price:
Located in Osu and East Legon, Burger and Relish is hailed Ghana’s first gourmet burger restaurant and it truly lives up to its name.
Decorated in rustic pub deco, this place is certainly an eye pleaser and the art hanging on its walls enough to entice NJB’s kleptomania. There are board games available for use at your discretion, which is a great way to avoid awkward silence at a family outing or to break the ice on a first date.
I really like the small details; like the fact that if you’re trying to eat a little healthier, you can trade your fries for a salad or the bun of your burger for a lettuce wrap. Also, if you order a bottle of beer the glass/beer mug is chilled beforehand; it’s great little detail which reminds me of the warming of the tea ware in traditional tea ceremonies.
The food itself is divine with a simple presentation. You have a great choice of burgers and there’s even an option for vegetarians. If you’re not into burgers, then there’s also a lot of fun stuff for you to try. Desserts are great and I highly recommend the brownie with ice-cream. They also have a nice variety of alcoholic cocktails as well as non-alcoholic juices. The service is excellent and the staff extremely welcoming. However, their prices are on the high side but if you can afford it then this place is a must.
Who likes cooking on a Saturday morning? People who did not have an epic Friday night, that’s who! And while I generally spend my Friday nights like the metaphorical cat-behind-the-couch, last Friday was awesome! I mean it was…wait, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, breakfast on a Saturday! Needless to say, my friends and I did not want to cook however we did want to eat. Solution; Cafe Mondo at the A&C Mall.
I liked the place even before I put coffee in my system which is something noteworthy. My self-impression of Frankenstein’s monster aside, the place really was great. The service given was great and the PR/HR manager is very helpful. All staff in the restaurant are attentive and ready to assist you.
The cafe latte was excellent, no complaints. I decided to try the Ham & Cheese omelette. Presentation was excellent and the omelette was delicious. They had a variety of omelet for vegetarians and the meat lovers. Their juices and smoothies are creative and tasty.
A note of caution about the juice, it’s blended fresh for you. So even if it looks a bit off to you, it’s a great deal healthier.
I like to indulge in guilty pleasures so when Mary suggested an early dinner at the Steakhouse in Accra Mall, Vera and I jumped in. After all, a couple of calories wouldn’t hurt, would it? Would it???
The Steakhouse is pretty simple, serene and nice with friendly workers who ushered us in with a smile. We ordered our meals from the counter and waited as it was prepared in front of us.
Though I am adventurous with food, I was very hungry and did not want to waste any food so I asked Mary to recommend a meal since she had been there before. She recommended the triple cheese threat and I went for it. It is cheese, cheese and more cheese, nothing can go wrong with cheese, can it? The smell of the steak was delicious and I was certain I was going to have a great meal. What added to my thrill was the fact that I could choose my own toppings. I went for tomatoes, green pepper, lettuce, pickles, sour cream and steak sauce. As I bit into my steak sandwich, the melted cheese trickled on my tongue and I was certain I knew how Heaven tasted like. So I wasn’t disappointed though I expected more cheese than was given.
Mary who had had most of the meals in the Steakhouse decided to go for the Sirloin steak and from her empty plate and look of satisfaction on her face, I could tell she enjoyed her meal. For her toppings, she requested for jalapenos, jalapenos and more jalapenos which was a bit unnerving since some of us cannot handle our pepper. Girl ate her steak as if it was filled with just tomatoes. Impressive!
Vera decided to play it safe as always and went for the Original Philly Cheese steak and this is her comment;
While quite delicious, it had no real wow factor. However it’s size and packaging make for an ideal ‘on the go‘ meal. What I really liked was that we were able to pick out the other fixings as well as the sauce for the sandwiches ourselves.
So there you have it meat lovers. When you have a minute, indulge in some guilty pleasures but remember to work it all off later…
Togo is my little sanctuary where I go to unwind and leaving for Ghana always makes me very emotional. So on Monday which was my last day, I stayed in my room half of the morning thinking about the things awaiting me in Ghana. To be honest, I was not happy about it. I did not want to come back home. I have such freedom and liberty in Togo that I did not want it to end.
The morning of my last night
When I finally dragged myself out of bed, El had already made breakfast – oats with honey, fried eggs, tea, baguette with butter and jam. She works from and she was hoarding the living room so I had breakfast on the balcony which did not have a spectacular view. But still something to reflect on and that was what I did. After breakfast, I stayed in my room reading some poems on her kindle and slept a bit.
The afternoon of my last night
The last time I was in Togo, I wanted to visit the Grande Marché but most shops at the market do not open on Sundays so I was not able to visit. So during my four days in Lomé, I added it to my itinerary. I needed to get some traditional prints and souvenirs for some friends and family. I told Ellen about it and she suggested the secondhand market with was closer to us and much cheaper. I remember I visited that market in 2006 and well, I did not mind revisiting memories from the past.
I could not go with Ellen though because she had to work. I had to go to with Olivia, one of the most interesting people I met in Togo. I was excited to go with Livi but the problem was; I speak basic French and she speaks basic English so communication was going to fun as hell. I remember telling El that Livi and I will have to resort to sign language. The Airport City where we live is not far from the Market but the 600 CFA the Cab driver charged was a bit on the low for me.
The second hand market is like Ghanaian Makola Market and Cantamanto merged together but with more parking space. We all know how noisy markets are but this noise was pleasant in my ears – rawness of the Togolese French. There was a big building where traders were selling their goods. The market is really an easy place to get lost so Livi took my Togo number just in case we got lost. We spent about three hours there searching for the specific items I needed and in good quality. I bought so many items from the market and they were all new.
Unlike the Ghanaian market where you can try on clothes before buying, some traders in the market refused to let you try on clothes with were alright. We later went in search for the black soap I fell in love with from my last visit and also some sheabutter El needed. When we left the market, I had gotten many stuff yet spent so little. I said this to Livi and she told me that many people cannot afford these stuffs, they are too expensive.
And before I forget, Livi and I did not resort to sign language. We understood each other very well.
The evening of my last night
El gets out of work after 7:00 pm so we decided to have dinner afterwards. We were not in the mood to cook that evening so we decided to go get something and dine in. we however did not know what to eat. After some thoughts, we settled on some Lebanese dishes. El told me about Le Phenicien restaurant which was a 30 minute drive who makes very good Lebanese meals. So we called Ali who had been in Togo for a while and knew almost everyone there. He ordered for our meals and offered to drive us there.
Le Phenicien restaurant is beautiful – the lobby has a bakery, icecream parlour and sitting area. There is an inner room for dining. When we got there, the owner came to greet us and El passed a comment about how we will get served quickly because the owner knows Ali. And she was so right. Within 10 minutes, our food was in our hand and we were leaving the restaurant. Ali and I however feasted on some icecream and also got some croissant for breakfast the next day.
The ride back home was convincing Ali to join us for dinner which he did. We even got him to write a poem for the very first time and I must say, he is a natural. After Ali left at 10:30pm, El and I just sat there and talked about our dreams, desires, weaknesses and the fact that I should move to Togo.
That night in my bed, I told myself that maybe, I should move to Togo.
When I saw Ellen’s photo at Lake Togo, I knew I had to visit. Lakes are not really my thing. I would choose the sea anytime but Ellen’s photo was really catchy so I added the Lake to my itinerary when I visited.
Lake Togo is on the route to Aného (a town in the southeast which was the first German capital of Togo in the 1880s). The Lake is about an hour drive from Airport City and since there is no traffic in Togo, the journey is really pleasant. We visited on a lazy Sunday afternoon and since it was already after 3:00 pm, we knew we wouldn’t stay longer like we would have liked. We asked the cab driver to wait for us. It would have been really silly to have him go all the way to Lomé and back. We were also not certain we could get a cab back home so we did not risk it.
The hotel we chose at Lake Togo is called O Lodge Africa. It is something like a water / amusement park which was built with children in mind. It has activities that can be undertaken with children as well as adults. At the gate, we were asked to pay 5,000 cfa each to enable us have access to the swimming pools in the hotel. It seemed a bit pricey to me but after converting the money to Cedi, I realized it was alright. But then the question at the back of my mind was what if I do not want to get in the pool? Then it would mean I paid 5,000 cfa to go inside a hotel which is supposed to be a public place.
The hotel has been divided into three sections with bamboo walls separating each section; an open dining area; hotel rooms and a sitting area on the lake.
The first section has waterslides with two swimming pools and a playground. One of the pools is in the form of a tub and it is very shallow – just right for children.
The second one has a pool, sitting area with carpet grass, a bathroom behind it and dining area right opposite it. I realized the young adults preferred this area.
The third section has a pool right infront of the hotel rooms; close to the Lake and has a picturesque view so that was where we sat watching those on the boat rides and admiring nature.
Activities at the hotel
After a swim, we moved to the sitting area on the lake and ordered nems poulet as entrée and then followed with ham and cheese sandwich with pickles. Our bill was only 12, 250 cfa for such a delicious meal.
Our cab driver who waited for us for more than two hours charged us 10, 000 cfa which I find shocking up to today.
I fell in love first with the clean beaches of Lomé and my love gradually developed as I saw the rest of the country. On Saturday afternoon however, I was disappointed on how dirty the beaches were but that did not make me love the country any less. I had expected to get to Togo by noon but I got a little delayed and got there at 2pm. I went through the normal immigration headache and was such a relief when I got to Ellen’s apartment at Cité de l’Aéroport.
We had decided to go for lunch so we went to Le Patio which is behind the University of Lomé. This is the place where most dignitaries dine so I must say it’s pretty fancy. The place has the same theme as Villa Boutique Hotel in Ghana. All wooden furniture with African prints sofas and a swing close to the pool. I must say French people know good food and great service. We had pizza though we would have preferred something else. The kitchen had closed for lunch and was making dinner so all they could serve was pizza and fresh juice. After the meal, we sat underneath a cloth like tent until we were ready to leave.
Ellen and I met with Ali and Bishr later in the evening to have dinner at Le Philipat – a creative themed restaurant with soft music, photos, lanterns and butterfly paintings on the wall. The place was totally packed and after tasting their meal, I understood why. As I said French people know good food and great service. I requested for rose wine but I was given white and it was quickly changed. For entrée, I have a seafood salad and for dinner, I had fish fillet and mushroom sauce with rice. After dinner, we sat there to admire the place and talk for a while. The night was however too young so we decided to visit another place.
We arrived at a rooftop café called Beach Café. It looked simple from the outside and the stairway did not seem fancy so I was not prepared for what met me on the roof. It was magical! Felt like I had just stepped into Prince Charming’s ball. Well, if the ball had been on the beach, I suppose the Beach Café would have been it.
Wooden canopies and white flowing curtains give you that breezy Californian feel
Blue lighting and yellow lanterns set a beautiful contrast like ice and fire
Comfortable sofas and soft music which relaxes you
Spacious dance area for those who can move to the rhythm
Wonderful beach view since the Café is just opposite the Lomé Beach
While we sat at the bar, there were bikers practising on the streets for a pending race. This added more spice to the evening.
We went to La Villa which is so much like Firefly in Osu, Ghana. That place was made for dancing. In Ghana, I may be one of the worst dancers but in Togo (with Ellen, Ali and Bishr), I was the Dance Queen. But who can blame them? In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king. The DJ I must say knew how to work the beats. Every single song had a beat I could move to but what got me on fire was when Castro’s “Seiho Seiho” started playing. That was when I realized that no matter where you travel to, you’d always want a bit of home with you.
At 3:30 am, we were all in Ellen’s apartment having some hot tea and reliving the day’s event.
If you happen to be in Lomé for an overnight stay, I will suggest you visit these places which will not cost more than 30,000 cfa depending on your taste.