Uchenna Nwuzo lists five spots catering to diverse palates worth exploring
African Bush Arena
For diners who cherish a dining space with ample sky view while having their meals or drinks, the African Bush Arena (or Bush Bar as commonly known) offers a splendid experience. Although there are indoor options for diners who don’t mind the claustrophobic feel of the facility’s many raffia-roofed pagodas, the open sky seats remain a huge hit among guests – except that it’s not a spot you’d love to be seated when it rains. The meals are typically great, but the large space and often large crowd mean customers are sometimes obliged to endure a rather long wait to have their orders taken – and be served. Its size, plus the fact everyone seems to know everyone, naturally make the Bush Bar an unlikely choice for the discreet diner.
Located in an inconspicuous street away from the giddy bustle of the metropolis, this dining spot fits the bill of a perfect haunt for the discerning diner seeking an escape from the madding crowd – literally. Here, guests could walk in unobtrusively and tuck into their meals without the intrusion of loud music that makes gestures as commonplace as holding a phone conversation impossible. A curious decision to instal large outdoor screen, however, is gradually turning the serenity that once prevailed here into a raucous affair, especially during English Premiership League seasons. Yet, the VIP’s chef specialty – catfish gravy – stays just as tempting.
More of a restaurant than bar, this outlet teems with guests at lunchtime. For the easily star-struck folks who desperately crave photo-ops with celebrities Dolphins Restaurant located at Otigba, a hugely popular locale in downtown Enugu, is a wise spot for lunch. It has a few downsides though: it closes rather early and doesn’t ever open on Sundays. Otherwise the meals are excellent with a diverse selection that mostly leaves guests spoiled for choice, from crowd favourites rice and ofe aku (palm kernel stew) to ukwa and stockfish and bitter leaf soup.
Once the place of choice for the city’s hip crowd in the early days of its operation, the restaurant is gradually losing the allure that drew scores of youths to its tables at lunch and dinner time. Sitting on the cusp of a major artery into the city’s government reserved area, a cloistered abode for old money, its rather high prices have never been a dampener – until now, no thanks to the current economic slump across the country. However, it still manages to offer a range of choice wines, a la carte meals and, well, the sort of indulgence you’re unlikely to find at a regular restaurant.
Although easily the most exclusive among the lot ambience wise, De Dome seems to pride itself more on having the best venue for wedding receptions than its culinary offerings. Indeed, there’s hardly any weekend its hall and expansive yard are not filled up by wedding guests. So it’s certainly not a wise spot for a couple or friends seeking a quiet and cushy environment to have lunch on a afternoon. Barring the occasional distractions, the outfit offers a great dining treat. That is as long as you don’t cringe when the bill is laid on your table.