Saturday, 29 December 2012

Shaka Zulu



This is where the members of the Billionaire Boys club hang out…maybe in one of the 1000GHS VVIP indoor chalets…

Sorry just had to get that out of the way before diving into the review J The first time I drove past this joint I thought it was a cute name for a chop bar…afterall…it’s in Dzorwulu…how wrong I was…Shaka is the new Twist, even though the old Twist is still alive and kicking. 2nd spoiler…ladies, don’t expect to find any oiled up Mandingos here…that’s just false marketing…they do however have girls in raffia skirts and calabash bras (oh how I miss those days…) sashaying about. It might be a bit tricky finding your way in the first time especially since you need to make an exit off a highway, but that’s just the first time. You can either make a right into Dzorwulu and drive up the dirt road or slow down and look out for the entrance as soon as the neon sign hits you. The parking headache is a body works specialist’s dream.

There’s a lot of classic old school dark hard wood in the décor (no pun intended) with dark rich reads and flickering lanterns providing minimal illumination. It’s very dark and brooding and calls for sipping good bourbon from a snifter. If that’s not your thing, their cocktails hover around 15ghs and feature all your standard wines and spirits and shooters for 7ghs.  The floor plan features a long bar with semi plush booths against the walls and a barricaded VIP area.

Despite the ancient feel, it attracts quite a varied crowd and the DJ doesn’t act like he’s playing off a 64mb flash drive.

What else… nice multi stalled restrooms (befitting their projected patronage it seems) conveniently located behind the DJ and close to the VVIP for some ahem…productive hovering.

Chase El Paso



Yet another Osu venue, but who’s counting?

Located close to Danquah circle, on the first left turn between Koala and Adjoa Adjeiwaa building, on top of Don Emilio and Cave of Marina (side note, if you’re looking for any type of liquor, go the former). You can’t miss the huge sign boards with the colourful sombrero and sienna paint work with colonial detailing to match. The entrance is in the same courtyard as Global Mamas and few other shops, with about 10 parking spots, but there’s Koala right across the road and enough space around. The décor indoors ranges from “very Mexican” on the “bar side” with lots of hard wood and minimal ornamentation, while the “restaurant side” feels like the other side of the border with your basic modern bistro furniture, with chair and couch combinations. There are makeshift keg tables for more relaxed drinking and eating, with a bar that looks into the kitchen (always a good sign), the main drinks bar; with a good variety of drinks. The fine detailing follows into the restroom with premium tiling and design that’s functional.” 2 Rooms for las damas y los caballeros J and lots of tissue. Smoking is allowed…at least on the bar side.

The staff is very friendly, with at least 4 Mexicans, and their Margaritas are the best I’ve ever had! I dare you to try at least a Margarita shot and disagree. The menu is typically Mexican, with starters such as delectable tacos filled with beef or chicken, lettuce and cheeses; ranging from 12-30ghs, salads between 22-25ghs and good variety of pizzas ranging from 30 to 80ghs. Rice, refried beans and other sides go for between 3 and 8ghs, fajitas are 45ghs, grilled fish and steaks around 45-55ghs desserts such as fruit salad and cheese cake around 20ghs. Nachos, Calamari, Hamburgers Chalupas, Burritos the list goes on and on. There’s also the regular beverages if really want some tea or coffee


I’m not sure what kind of clientele profiling they have going on but the food is on a different level of spicyness. Talk about adapting to your environment

The drinks menu is still in the works but the cocktails range from 12 and beyond. A regular Margarita is 18 and a Cadillac Margarita is 20 odd GHS. The signature sugar-salt-pepper on the rim twist will leave you wondering for an hour. Mojito rating…top 10.
In closing, as the first truly Mexican restaurant, El Paso offers delicious meals in the middle to high price range and is very welcome as an alternative to the Ghanaian but foreign dining scene. Where most places offer either Italian or “continenetal” menus with an odd guacamole here and there, Chase El Paso takes you on a gustatory Hispanic trip, and if you wake up with plastic beads after 2 Margaritas…the establishment will not be held liable. You have been warned.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

skyfall


There was so much hype about this movie it was ridiculous. And all this is coming in a time when all movies come out with ridiculous hype. I'm not a Bond on Craig as bond fan, so I honestly couldn't be bother, but when the opportunity arose I seized it.





Even the title was mysterious, and im not sure it completely puts my mind at rest that its just the name of JB's family manor...in Scotland...I honestly can't remember watching casino royale or quantum of solace but neither of these titles made much sense either. D anny has gotten softer with age and has, against all odds, managed to grow on me, I remember hearing about Naomie harris' casting...and that a while ago...better still, I remember Danny's casting and that was years ago...and no one liked him then, but those cheek bones are less like the dangerous precipice he would inevitably cling to, his abs (or lack thereof) less defined than the serpentine dirt road must careen on, his blond blue-eyedness...good Lord, he's the only blond blue-eyed charecter in this! I hereby state, I wouldn't mind being chatted up by this fellow.







Having spent a good part of this morning reading various articles about the movie it appears, all would be critics are somewhat in unison. Skyfall is different, modern and actually not that bad.


Shout outs all natural sistas, Naomie harris doing big tings, coming second to Halle berry is like coming first...twice. Also thumbs up for keeping ur clothes on. Everyone was rooting for their hook up, the tension was so thick in the crowd,it was voyeuristic. The dialogue was intensely sexy
Shout out to Javier bardeem...you're my favourite psycho bond villain..and you have every reason to be angry. How does a cyanide capsule fail? Does it really get worse than a failed suicide? But please tell me how you'll rig an election in Uganda...online...please... And must all bond villians be deformed? Kmt
of all the people to hook up with...Sévérine? Really James?
And what kind of assassin...who's trying hard to be nameless, history less and countryless, uses signature bullets? Uranium? Really?
My favourite scene has to be when raoul and James finally meet...I was literally at the edge of my seat, shouting for him to stop touching him! "we could eat each other...dramatic pause'' too much. Just too much. And then the "wat makes you think it's my first time comeback? Classic! Epic! JAMES BOND. No size!Some people are actually upset by the homo-bisexual innuendo...they can bite Raoul.
I finally believe it. Jb, you are a hard guy. 2 full gas cylinders? *slow clap* if it's not a dapper suit...it must be a white towel...high five.
Ralph Fines as M? The next Q needs to be female...better yet Indian. Tell me I'm wrong.
So all the women in this are terrible shots? Smh. 4 named females. 5 speaking ones
Had the line about exploding pens not been spoiled...it would have been funny. And after all the austerity measures, not only did he lose the handgun with laptop technology, he never even fired it. Komodo dragons? How hungry were they? That was just random man.
Things to watch out for and appropriate responses
  1. Adeles opener 
  2. 'Room service' -mmm... 
  3. Eve moneypenny at the door- hmm 
  4. 'I didn't order anything...not even you' - eeeiii 
  5. 'M' 'bitch'- ooo 
  6. The Aston martin-sheee 

Friday, 23 November 2012

Men in Black 3



Men in black was unfortunately released around the same time as The Avengers, so it really didn’t stand a chance, however, watching it a good 2 months after its release in the peace and quiet of my room, you really get to appreciate what a well crafted action comedy this is. A good 15 years after the first men in black, with its blockbuster actor, blockbuster sales and blockbuster soundtrack…Will Smith could do no wrong, and this seems less like a sequel, so there’s no jinx there…but somehow…I seem to have missed the men in black2 from 2002…or maybe I just         don’t remember, after all, 10 years was a long time ago.

Anyway, back to MIB3, which opens with Nicole Schrezinger sashaying in Black leather Louboutin stiletto boots smuggling an obviously dodgy cake into a beyond Maxium security prison. Boris the animal (clearly the villain because his name is Boris and he has a weird deep voice and funny teeth, not to mention the “animal” bit and ironically the only one who got any kind of action in the whole movie) Now, as predicted, the cake contains something that will enable Boris escape from prison in what ought to be the lamest prison break in movie history. Using a cake for concealement? Weapons so easily accessible, and how what exactly is the point of having a gun powerful enough to blast a hole through the wall of a prison on the moon in the prison? Seriously…what was the plan for the gun? And that’s how Boris escapes…with his freaky handpet shooting spikes that kill and this claw feet that are stronger than the gravitational pull of…wait…why exactly did 100 guards and Nicole get sucked into outerspace? The moon has 1/6th the gravity of earth, so if initially they were walking around normally indoors, that would mean an artificial atmosphere had been created in there so they could breathe…as well as artificial gravity…but hey, let’s just let that minor detail slide, cue flag, the story begins.



Will Smith looks as though he’s hardly aged and tommy lee’s face is melting. Now the whole going back into time thing was pretty cool but a little clichéd…and even though we eventually find out why there are secrets even the universe doesn’t know…and time travel was “outlawed” the inventor was jailed with the worst criminal ever (have we learnt nothing about the transfer of information in prison, and wasn’t Boris in solitatary confinement?) his son is free to roam new York and provide time travel services to random people. Let’s just fast forward to when Agent J meets up with the above wanker, blah blah blah, shows him the box with the gadget…1 is missing…and I’m wondering why this kid is still alive…why didn’t Boris kill him? Does he need him to get back to the present? (apparently not) and why didn’t he take both gadgets to prevent pursuit? I still don’t get it. Now this whole movie has this random inception thing going on, the worst of which is when Agent J jumps off the launch pad with Boris and then goes 5mins back in time to re-live the fight only this time he dodges all the spikes (a la Matrix and Wanted)and wins the fight. Now why oh why, didn’t someone do this earlier? Did Boris loose his jumper?

Now on to more sensitive issues. Never mind that Will smith was practically the only speaking minority in the movie, they had to conveniently go back in time to 1969, just a year after the passage of the civil rights act and a mere 4 years after the passage of the voting act in the USA, the time travellers son having made comments about how un-cool the 60’s were for “blacks” apart from being pulled over, the depiction of the era was unfairly inaccurate. Why the bobs, vintage cut suits, period cars and décor? Why do a perfect job of going back in time only to sugar coat a necessary truth?  Is it because it’s a family movie? (I cite the episode of family guy in the diner) please keep it real, make a point. Vampire diaries keeps it strangely painfully real and consistent…with all witches being black-ish and being slaves or servants in the civil war era throwbacks, but that’s another blog. A black general?  I see…Now race issues aside, Agent J didn’t know his father…fine…but who was he raised by? I’m guessing not his mom…was he neuralised and put up for adoption by Agent K? wow…and was K keeping tabs on him till he was recruited? Or was that just a coincidence? Hmm… 1 more thing…if K died in ’69…who recruited K? and why was he still an agent? How do you overlook the whole premise of your movie?

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Venus





Women may be from Venus, and this is where you’ll probably find me on a Friday night. It’s been around for a minute, and in the ephemeral night scene in Accra, that’s an eon. At the corner of 6th st. off Oxford Street, for those who don’t know it, it’s hiding in plain sight. Total, Citizen Kofi, Supreme even firefly have become landmarks for an establishment that preceded them. Venus is far from pretentious and dressed up or dressed down, you’re good to go. It offers a variety of dishes including a Lebanese menu, drinks and Shisha. You find a range of people (teens to people way over the hill) chilling on the patio watching cars go buy sipping on hot or cold beverages, smoking hookah, and utilizing the complimentary wifi. Almost nothing is out of place, a girl reading the hunger games on an ipad, a young entrepreneur working busily on a Mac while having his dinner or a group of debutants excited about their first taste of alcohol. Couples on first or last dates, rowdy boys arguing about nothing or singles waiting to meet up with friends in town.


When they make a Mojito, they make a Mojito, I’ll give them that, but like most good things in Gh, you’ll almost never get it again. The chocolate heaven will have you in heaven and after pouting about the “shortage of mint in the system” you’ll probably have either that or the daiquiris. Otherwise, Long Island, no long tin, or a shot of somethin. When it comes to drinks here, it’s no frills…in a good way.The food is pretty good, the basic hummus platter that comes with the standard pita and a side of veges is the best I’ve had in town, and you can get anything from Khebab to pasta…technically


 The anteroom has a bar and a tv, so u can watch say…the opening ceremony of the Olympics, large high hard wood tables for you to drink, eat or do some shisha on, unlike the inner room which is totally       different, with couches and low tables where you’re surprisingly not allowed to use a hookah pipe! There’s also a secret garden that you can sit in, if you really want to be incognito.


On a good night, there’ll probably be a queue to use the restroom, but you really can’t complain, it’s almost always clean and the hand dryer always works! The staff are friendly and you can become a “regular” on first name basis with them on your 2nd visit J The proprietor is also almost always there, so make sure you say hi when you swing by.

Chez Clarise



 My review of places would not be complete without showing love to ma chérie Clarise. I almost want to keep it a secret, so if you start to abuse this knowledge I’m sharing, I’ll be forced to ban you. Yes…it is that serious. This joint has the best food ever. The grilled Tilapia and attiéke is to die for…and I won’t try to convince you any further, the truth is in the poisson. I had it once and was sold…addicted…I’m talking intervention ish…twice a week, can’t wait for the weekend.

I’ve learnt to control my urge now…but that food though….*licks lips, fingers…* you get my drift.
When people ask how I found this gem, I literally have to tell them a funny story. 3 of us with directions to 2 apparently different places end up at the same spot, known by different names and I had to wait over an hour for my food and it was worth it. Initially behind the old MTN plot, now “consar”, was a grill and some plastic chairs…and I’m assuming the plastic chairs belonged to the drinking spot that operated out of the ground floor of the proprietor’s home. Standard procedure was to get drinks from the spot (what was it called?!!??) then place your order with one of the sassy Ivorian waitress/cooks. And from that grill came succulent, deliciously spiced Tilapia or chicken with a side of attieke or banku and 2 sauces. It took an average of an hour to get you food, so ordering ahead was highly encouraged, and really hasn’t changed since Clarise moved to her new spot near the old American Embassy. The old spot still serves food and I’m told it’s still as good, but this write up is about Chez Clarise.

Now, if a taxi driver asks if you’re sure about where you’re going when you alight…u need to know you’re in a very shady spot…and due to the construction, Chez Clarise can literally be described as being in a hole in the war of a very shady corner. It’s actually pretty close to Epo’s and the old American embassy just up the road opposite the new Bata store on the CTK side of 6th street, off Oxford st. Initially, there was sand for an interesting beach feel, but I guess people complained so now it’s cemented and tiled. It’s still plastic tables and chairs and you might have to wait and hour for your food, but you’ll have a roof over your head. An old school band used to play sometimes and an improv reggae duo passed through the last time, so I guess it full of surprises. The menu is the same and now she serves her own drinks; your basic coke, sprite, star etc, and surprisingly wine in keeping with the francophone-ness of it all. Bowls of water and soap are provided for you to wash your hands before and after and you can get some cutlery if you ask for it. It’s a very relaxed atmosphere, anything goes, but don’t try to outdress Clarise…’cos you’ll fail. You will definitely be satisfied and planning your next trip there before the end of the meal.
The music is usually francophone (zouk) but don’t be surprised to hear either Azonto or Whitney Houston, the staff are really sweet and it might be a little frustrating to get over the language barrier but let’s look at it this way…you know how one of your friends is always on about "FranÇais" this "comment allez vous" that…well, a good dose of Chez Clarise is what this doctor is ordering. He or She will either come through and make for a smooth dinning process or…you’ll have something to laugh about for life.
*If you’re wondering why I haven’t spoken about the washroom facilities…it’s because I haven’t been…so lets just leave that there.

Monday, 13 August 2012

The Lexington

Just in-case you’ve been under a rock for the past couple of months, Champs is no more and Lexington has taken its place. Long gone is the relaxed sports bar we’ve grown to love with karaoke on Friday nights and all-you-can-drink Saturdays and let’s not forget trivia night…*sigh* memories. 

My first thought when I heard, was why would anyone sell a niche well established sports bar like Champs and turn it into a lounge, after all there are more than enough of those in Accra and they seem to have a very short life expectancy, every other day a new place opens up and another shuts down, it all seemed like a very bad business move. Then I went to The Lexington.

It all seemed normal till the big neon sign hits you…or rather, you hit it, from there, former Champs patron might get woozy because it’s like the twilight zone, gone are the dark wood Oktoberfest-esque tables and booths, gone are the jerseys and pool tables, welcome to the Lexington, well deserving of the definite article, it’s a definition of an upscale bar-restaurant-lounge. White walls, with circus murals circa the 1700s (citation needed), plush cushions and leather, a DJ booth, 2 bars, a dance floor and quaint tables for serious dining. The lighting behind the main bar attracts you like a…firefly ;) and you’ll be mesmerised by the sheer logistics (a cocktail strainer? a metal muddler? Is that Estrella Damm? How Über chic!) and if that doesn’t get you, the bar tenders showmanship will. Champs already had a strong expatriate following but that was nothing compared to Lexington’s and the music choices are fresh, hip and international. 

Their website which conveniently has their menu, does a very good job of describing its themes and multi faceted set up. The food offerings are very cosmopolitan, delicious and as pricey as the drinks, whether its business or pleasure, the Lex promises to impress. It passes the Mojito test and they even make a mint julep as well as, surprisingly, everything else on their menu. The quesadillas are to die for and the service is surprisingly quick.  It’s definitely the place to treat yourself or someone else. And if your looking for that high street experience…I mean swanky metropolitan watering hole…this is a really really cheap way to get that fix.

The Republic Bar & Grill


 Conveniently located on 3rd lane (according to Google maps) off oxford street (between Frankies and “consar” aka awkward mall-to-be, The Republic is incredibly easy to find. Depending on the day and the time of day, the atmosphere varies from a quaint after work secret chill out spot, to a bustling parking headache on weekends. Walking into the establishment actually feels like going back to 1st July 1960. 

The décor is refreshingly vintage and the attention to detail is commendable, with basic hard wood round tables and stools that fit perfectly to make a long bench if you so wish and period magazine and newspaper cut outs on the walls, the inside of The Republic is quirky and definitely for the grown-and sexy. Casement windows with stained glass detail, classic records other antiques show up in all corners of the bar and you have a choice of making small talk at the bar, huddling in the many dark indoor corners, chilling on the patio or simply sitting around the ever popular round plastic table outside on the veranda, spilling onto the road on a very good night.





 A bar is not a bar unless it has mojitos and anyplace that serves alcohol need to have a good place of convenience. The newspaper cut-out theme is still present in the washrooms however the fixtures are all surprisingly avant garde, the only downside being only 1 cubicle for women, and everyone knows women use and need to use a restroom far more often than men! The Republic not everyone’s cup of tea though, you do have to get the concept; they only serve Ghanaian drinks, with a few “African” ones namely South African wine and Savannah dry, the menus are clean and simple: to drink and to eat and if a never ending list of cocktails you’ve never heard of is what you’re looking for, this really isn’t the place for you. There are only 3 cocktails on their menu; the mojito, a coco batida and the signature drink “the Republica” which is basically a caipirinha, so you won’t spend 15 minutes looking at the menu pretending to consider the options before you settle for your regular Long Island Ice Tea. 
The main ingredient in their cocktails and shots is cane rum made in Ghana with fresh fruits they marinate themselves for the flavoured shots. The rest of the drinks menu consists of all the other Ghanaian alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks on the market (no Club Gold though) 




The food menu will bring a smile to your face with colourful names like yeye goat, momo( pork dumplings), afro cuts and Osu favourite domedo. Home grown rice, cassava and bread serve as sides and there’s even 2 vegetarian dishes…well, kind of vegetarian…the eggalitarian contains eggs and the green revolution has tuna, and if the coco batida isn’t enough of a dessert for you, you can get some yucca slices or a ‘kofi rich man’. The crowd is very interesting and you never know who you’ll meet, I don’t know how long they can resist “azonto bug” but the music you’ll hear ranges from classic highlife to son, is probably the 1 thing I’d change about the place, but wait, did I forget to mention the 5ghs cocktails and soon-to-come happy hour? With very friendly staff, the only thing missing is spontaneous live music, singing and dancing to complete this throw back to the golden era but somehow, I don’t see where they’d find the space.