Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Cherry Mania

Le N'gor Tapas.
We've been here before on Dakar Restaurant Reviews. Something about terrible service, but a lovely place for sundowners. Locals refer to it as "Pied dans l'eau", or should that be "Les pieds dans l'eau'? Whatever.

Anyhow, it's got a nice upstairs bit now, doing tapas. It's an inventive Senegal-ised version of tapas, so don't expect elvers on toast, but do expect tasty bites. Each selection of tapas is named after one of the tribes of Senegal (Peul, Serere and so on) and is enough to amuse a group of, say, four people over cold beers. Service is perky.

The upstairs terrace is bright and breezy too, and just far enough from l'eau to be out of earshot of horrid French children tormenting pelicans.

Le N'gor Tapas
Route de la Corniche des Almadies
Tel: 775 04 30 06


N'ice Cream
Mentioned in my last post, N'Ice Cream (whoever came up with that name is probably still recovering) is an excellent spot for a massive portion of ice cream. N'ice Cream is on my mind right now as I've just eaten some of their product at the Ecole Gastronomique. According to the flyer, pressed into my hand while I was weak from three courses and wine, they have more than 40 flavours every day (e.g. Cherry Mania!) and do deliveries.

N'ice Cream
97, Avenue A. Peytavin
Tel: 33 823 35 45
www.nicecream.sn (currently not working)

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Bread and Chips

Aux Fins Palais

Aux Fins Palais is a smart little lunchtime haven serving up quality pastries alongside more substantial rations of salads and snacks. Service is swift, staff are friendly, and there is aircon throughout.

Salade Nicoise comes in ample portions with punchy anchovies. Better still - on a good day - Aux Fins Palais might possibly take the crown for the best chips in Dakar. Oh, and you can pop nextdoor for a monster N'ice cream.

Aux Fins Palais
97, Avenue Andre Peytavin
Tel: 33 842 96 46
Open 6.45am until 10.30pm. Closed Sundays.

La Provencale

Currently my favourite place to stop for bread in the middle of the peninsula. While it lacks the sophisitication of Grain d'or and the downtown temples of pastry, La Provence can be relied upon for no-nonsense staples and the odd macaroon thrown in.

Steer clear from such fancies as "Cheese and ham bread" and the somewhat disappointing gateaux. Instead try the wholemeal breads, pre-prepared quiches and the formidable biscuit selection and you can't go wrong.

La Provencale
Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop
Point E
Tel: 338 251425. Open 6.15am until 11pm

Another branch in Sacre Coeur III, off the VDN.
Tel: 338 605828
7am to 1am


According to the TV guide, La Fourchette has re-opened after undergoing extensive renovations. Did anyone notice it had closed? Me neither. No reports yet, but hopefully they've renovated the menu as well.

Monday, 9 March 2009

The Mighty Mogador


Uber-swanky bar, ultra-fancy French cooking, thank-you thank-you service. Yawn. The biggest surprise is that I actually like this place.

Offering fine dining in Dakar that actually attempts to be brave and creative, Mogador is not afraid to offer you camembert ice cream and dainty things in truffle oil. Better still, the chef is not too pretentious to offer a perfectly cooked steak and chips that is so ruggedly handsome you expect it to challenge you to an arm wrestle.

Go after payday and wear your best shoes.

Route des Almadies
Tel: 338 200402
Open from midday until late.
Closed Sundays.

For a more in-depth review of Mogador, check Experimental Jifflings.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Steve Jobs fear not.

Nextdoor to Duplex, this place looks good from the outside, like a flashy cafe / salon du the. Shame they've done it on the cheap, and the inside already has that sickly sweet smell of a pub carpet. The menu describes it as 'Where the jet-set go'. I suppose it's not far from the airport.

Wilted cappucinos come in small cups at 2000Fcfa a pop. Panini are alright, but nothing spectacular. There isn't much else on the menu, apart from smoked salmon, and caviar at 30,000Fcfa a go.

Jiffler: "Why would they put 30 grand worth of caviar on the menu?"

Mrs Jiffler: "For the nobheads who go to Duplex."

I think Mrs Jiffler hit the nail on the head there. If I had to sum up this place in one sentence, it would be:

"For the nobheads who go to Duplex".

Route de l'aeroport

P.S. For the uninitiated, Duplex is an extortionately expensive nightclub, frequented by swaggering bell-ends.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Small Fish.

Histoires des Gourmandises
Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop
Point E
Tel: 33 824 10 20 Open 7 days 12 - 2.30pm, 6.30pm to 12.30am

I seem to have got into the habit of occasional boozy lunches with a fellow Dakarite who "works from home". Alas, she will be departing these shores to move in nextdoor to Barack Obama in a few weeks, so I'm looking for boozy lunch volunteers.

In the evenings, Histoire des Gourmandise on Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop aims for the fine dining market. I came here to eat one evening after the Queen's Birthday Party, but to be honest I was too pissed to notice if the food was any good. Their lunchtime fixed menu is a simpler affair at 6000 FCfa for three courses.

A starter of nems with a wee bit of salad is unremarkable, but satisfying enough. Something to pick at while the wine warms up I guess. Given the choice between spag bol and fish for our mains we sensibly went for the fish, which was an undersized bream (notice how fish are getting smaller in Dakar, this is not a good thing for gourmets or environmentalists) served with perky side of green beans in garlic. Unremarkable again. An apricot tart seemed home-made rather than shop bought, but would have benefited from a drop of cream, or perhaps some creme anglaise.

I've no grumbles about Histoire des Gourmandise, and it is a nice environment in which to sit for a couple of hours, whiling away the afternoon with a couple of bottles of Beaujolais, but the food is better, and more creative around the corner at the ecole gastronomique.

Rue 1
Point E

It looks so inviting from the outside, what with the red Chinese handing lamps and everything. Things take a downward turn at the entrance though, when you take in the bare walls, blaring TV, Donald Duck sticker, and fishy smell.

I'm guessing that this is where the Chinese community come for authentic Chinese takeaway. The menu reads like the contents of a butcher's dustbin, with all the nobbly bits you'd rather not eat. Feet feature heavily, as does a bizarre sounding dish involving feathers.

You can sit down and eat, as long as you don't mind warm flag and surprised waiting staff bungling around while the Chinese owners smoke and play mah-jong behind the bar. I wouldn't recommend it though. While our stir-fried greens were suitably earthy and garlicy, the MSG content of the beef with mushrooms was high enough to have a mildly hallucinogenic effect. Stir fried noodles were actually overcooked spaghetti with a few bits in from the bottom of the fridge thrown in. Spaghetti. Not noodles. As readers of Experimental Jifflings will know, this is the third Chinese restaurant disaster I've had in 2009. Surely my luck will change...

Foody news:
Casino in Almadies and Plateau both seem to be doing reasonably priced pre-packed pigeons, ducks and (overpriced) rabbits at the moment. I've no idea whether they have new suppliers or this is just a passing phase. Pigeons make an OK mid-week supper though...