Eating out Nigerian style at the 9ja Restaurant

It’s always nice to find a new restaurant with items on the menu you have never tried before. Prime example is the 9ja restaurant on Queen’s Walk next to the Hexagon. As the name suggests, the menu is Nigerian – a distinct change from the Asian dominance elsewhere in the area.

Sadly, I’m not sure how long this place will last. Although the place opened last October, we didn’t know it existed and, unlike the Thai restaurant on the corner, it was empty of customers. Additionally, the Internet address on the business cards doesn’t lead to a working website.

The menu had a lot of items, mainly soups, with extensive descriptions although we did need help from the pleasant and helpful staff with some of the ingredients we weren’t familiar with. Was impressed to see Goat’s Head as a starter for £12. Impressed, but in no way intrigued. Instead I went for “Fish cooked in savoury herbal spice” which was hot and spicy if not exactly appealing to look at.

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My main was Edikaikong, pumpkin leaf soup which looked the same colour as spinach. The menu informed me that this contained “assorted meat”, which could include cow leg, tripe, beef and chicken. Not being a big consumer of bovine stomach lining, I did study the large lumps with some trepidation. After some later research, I’m sure what I thought was tripe was instead kanda, or cooked cow skin.

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The soup came with a large ball of dough to eat it with. If I recall correctly, mine was amala which is made from yam skin. Essential accessory was a finger bowl for washing off the sticky paste.

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All washed down with a couple of bottles of Gulder Beer.

Sue instead had Fried Rice with extra Dodo, or fried plantain.

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I’d like to go there again to try some other meals on the recipe but not before I’ve read up on what to expect.

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