RÓDO: New Age Africa | Restaurant Review

striking entrance at Rodo abuja

Hello, foodies! I come bearing news of a brand new restaurant in the big BUJ: Ródo! whose name literally translates to “pepper”

My friends and I were so excited to visit because the concept of Ródo Abuja is built around delivering a contemporary African culinary experience. They want to give us modern-day African cuisine. But the thing is, when you are giving us a gourmet version of our indigenous dishes, we would expect nothing short of perfection. Did they deliver? Have they ticked the box? Let’s find out. 

They want to give us modern-day African cuisine. But the thing is, when you are giving us a gourmet version of our indigenous dishes, then we would expect nothing short of perfection. Did they deliver? Have they ticked the box? Let’s find out. 

AMBIANCE AT RÓDO ABUJA

One word, DETAILS!!! The attention to detail at Ródo Abuja is something that should be taught in classrooms. Kilode! opooorr! Whoever worked on the decor needs to take their flowers abeg! They finish work. 

I’m guessing their theme was Modern Africa because the raffia, wood, colour and warmth are reminiscent of certain things in the African culture. The murals on the walls were vibrant, colourful and nothing short of beautiful. The entrance felt very bright, warm and welcoming and I couldn’t wait to see more of this place. 

The dining areas had such subtle lighting and warm relaxing tones that gave it such an intimate vibe. The ceiling in the downstairs dining area was covered in artistic raffia lamps, the room was designed with wooden furniture, African art and green plants. The room screamed neural brown tones and I was definitely loving it. It felt very Kim K in an African way of course. The dining area upstairs had a bit more colour that tied well with the wall mural. The chairs were deep wine and there was contemporary art in everything, including the furniture. I felt the mirrors on the walls were a lovely touch.

The one thing that really stood out to me was the raffia wall partition, I mean beautiful. Such an artistic piece with a minimalistic aura. This ambiance at Ródo is very picturesque and I can imagine everyone wanting to take pictures in front of the murals. The vibe is really great. 

One thing though, the lighting in the main dining area is very low toned, so it’s not very great for pictures. But the place fine sha.

FOOD AT RÓDO ABUJA

STARTERS

complimentary cornbread

All I can say is Wow! it was so so good. if they had this on their menu served with some kind of french vanilla ice cream then I would abuse it 🤣. Finish myself with enjoyment.

COMPLIMENTARY CORNBREAD AT RODO ABUJA

Okra tempura – 3800

Crispy fried okra with sweet chilli dip

I’m pretty sure your first question is “how did it taste” right? Well, I’m happy to tell you that this was really something! I see fried okra on the food network all the time, but I’ve always said it can never be me. Well well well! I take it back. This was so good. It was crunchy and full of flavour. But in true okra fashion, it maintained its slime in the centre, although it wasn’t too slimy. I liked that this had different textures. It was crunchy on the outside and a little bit gooey on the inside. It was served with a sweet chili sauce that paired really well with it. You can order this and experience okra in a way you never have before.

Bao Buns – 5800

Tozo, Chilli & honey, sauteed chilli cabbage, crispy sweet potato.

The buns were soft and fluffy but sadly, that’s where the praise ends. There were a lot of inconsistencies with this dish that just can’t be overlooked. It tasted kind of fermented like something was going bad. The dish lacked moisture and was too dry, the meat had no sauce, it was just shredded meat. The meat in the buns was basically non-existent, na so so cabbage, raw cabbage!

The meat itself was tasty but the balance with the rest of the dish was off. The bread smelled sour and it smelled way worse than it tasted, so I couldn’t eat it. What was advertised on their page was not what we were served. Also, there was no crispy sweet potato on it, a whole element was missing from the dish. The description sounds so delicious, and in theory the dish should be awesome but the execution sadly, was lacking in every way. 

Twice smashed and fried plantain – 3800

Unripe plantain, pineapple and habanero dip. 

I was excited to try this because of the pineapple and habanero dip that comes with the plantain. The plantain was good, but the sauce was not great. Too much acidity on the plate. Unripe plantains are not as sweet as ripe ones and can have a slight acidity to them that needs to be balanced off with something sweet. So I get why the sauce was pineapple based, but unfortunately, they didn’t pair well together. On the plus side, the heat came through in the sauce sha. However, the plantain paired better with the sweet chilli sauce that was served with the okra tempura.

MAINS

Durban lamb curry -7500

slow cooked lam, potatoes, coriander, tomatoes, grilled carrots, served with South African naan. 

I love curries so much, so I was looking forward to this, and the curry was so good, but the bread, on the other hand… sigh! But more on that later. The curry was very fragrant, I smelled the spices and my tongue was watering. There was a proper balance of the aromatic spices and herbs. Sadly, the bread was a letdown. Though flavourful, it was too hard and on the crispy side. It was almost like a biscuit, but very chewy and too hard to eat. I remember saying maybe that’s how South African naan is. But I went home and did a little Google search and no, that is not how South African naan is. I don’t know what that was, but it wasn’t naan. 

Ródo Clay pot – 8000

Rodo, yaji & sweet chilli chicken, smoky jollof rice, plantain and slaw

This rice banged sha. It was quite nice. It had that smokey element we love so much, but in a subtle way. The chicken was quite good too, pretty decent. The slaw was alright too, nothing fancy. There was one thing that caused a debate around the table, though, it was the taste of crayfish in the rice. Crayfish isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so if you are not a fan of crayfish, then be sure to let them know. Ultimately, the question was “should commercial Jollof rice have crayfish in it?” I think food is so subjective that there may not be one single answer to this. But let me know your thoughts in the comment. 

Ramen – 8500

Pepper soup broth, beef fillet, egg noodles, grilled chicken chilli oil, eggs

This was decent. It had that pepper soup flavour we love so much, but there was also a fusion of instant ramen/noodle seasoning as well, which I did not expect because I thought the broth would be just the authentic Nigerian pepper soup broth. The noodles were al dente, which was good. There was both chicken and beef in the dish, which had good flavours. The spice was okay, decent. And the portion was good too. It’s a good take on ramen with Nigerian flavours. However, I think that if it had more pepper soup spice than instant noodle seasoning, it would have been so much better. 

DESSERT

Agege French Toast – 3800

Caramelised apples, cinnamon, cinchin dust, vanilla ice cream.

Sigh! I got really upset when I tasted this because it was basic toast. Not French toast, but basic toast. They really just put bread on the grill, put some caramelised apples on it and served it with ice cream. Normally, French toast ought to be bread dipped in a custard mixture of eggs, milk, and sometimes cream and sugar. But this was not dipped in anything, they basically just served grilled bread. The ice cream was undoubtedly Fanice Ice Cream. I grew up taking it so I know. I just know. And if it’s not Fanice, then it’s store-bought and is of low quality. Not great at all! This was a complete letdown. Not French toast. In a gourmet restaurant, we’re getting fan ice and grilled bread! 😮‍💨

Zobo papa brûlée. – 3800

Caramelised hibiscus sugar, berry compote and gurundi

This is the one thing that caught my interest on the menu, and I couldn’t wait to try it. This was pretty interesting! It was an actual Nigerian pap o. Who would have thought you could fuse pap and zobo (hibiscus) together? I tasted this and thought to myself that this is the kind of afro-fusion cuisine we were there for. It had some texture to it, and there was a play on sweetness, acidity and bitterness. Flavor-wise, I would say it was different. I could definitely taste the pap and the zobo, and I really don’t mind it, but I feel like it’s not for everyone. 

Service

The service at Ródo Abuja was great. wonderful service! The staff were very warm, welcoming, and quick. The waitress who attended to us was friendly, eager to please, courteous and available when we needed her. The wait time for the food was about 15–20 minutes.

The food menu at Ródo Abuja

I must say, I quite like their menu. I feel like there is something for everyone here, and the price point is not over the top. price point per person is about 10 – 15k per person, depending on what you order.

General thoughts

Rodo Abuja is a brand-new restaurant, barely a month old. They opened with a bang, and I was really excited to visit, but I must say I was rather disappointed. The vibe is great, and the ambiance is wonderful, but have they put more effort into aesthetics than into the food? I wish they would put just as much effort into the food too, because I believe the goal of every restaurant is to give their customers a memorable experience. And they did that in a way, as they wowed me with their ambiance but disappointed me where the food was concerned.

I appreciate that the management reached out and apologized for the inconsistencies with the food, and our not-so-great experience at their restaurant. They asked that we please give them more time to sort out certain things, as they are still new and getting used to the whole thing. That being said, being a new restaurant doesn’t really excuse not meeting certain expectations.

Please let me know about your experience in the comments when you visit Rodo.

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3 thoughts on “RÓDO: New Age Africa | Restaurant Review

  1. Ozumba Nbadiwe says:

    Really Lovely Review. I enjoyed reading every bit of it to be honest.
    Keep up the good work
    I cant wait to read more of thia

  2. Kelechi Amaeze says:

    Such an amazing review with beautiful pictures. (You already know you’d be awesome at photography). My brain was legit reading it in your voice😂. Job well done.

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