Cactus Lagos: Restaurant, Bakery and Italian Gelato Parlour. 20-24 Ozumba Mbadiwe, Lagos, Nigeria. 08181777666 08058777666 or 08027777666, IG: @cactuslagos

Yesterday was one of those iconic days that will forever be cemented on the sands of time. After nearly a year of online Instagram dm’s only best-friendship, I finally got the chance to meet Benard Samuel. Benard who is one of the youngest (asides myself) Nigerian food critic shares his honest, usually very unfiltered opinions about the general gourmet scene in Nigeria, like me, Benard is a try-sexual, meaning he will try any meal once. 

Benard reached out via Instagram to announce he had touched down Lagos, my excitement shot through the roof, I was finally meeting my best friend for the first time. On the days leading up to the meeting, we drew up a running list of restaurants that appealed to us. Together; we settled to revisit Cactus Lagos. My first foray with cactus was in late 2018, I was happily looking forward to visiting again.

Upon arrival at Cactus, I was excitedly swept off my feet by the upgraded decor and well distributed green aesthetics. I was sat within 2minutes by a very warm and friendly front of house staff, he was not like one of those overly friendly types that end up becoming irksome, this guy was actually a real gem, even going on to recommend a seat for us by the waterside for the best views, he wasn’t wrong.

Once settled, our waiter recommended a round of cold smoothies to help us refresh and cool off from the insane Lagos heat. I had the Tropical Pineapple Coconut smoothie (NGN3000, USD7.87), it came highly recommended, which naturally upped my expectations… I did not like it at all. The drink came out tasting like all the fruits had not been mixed properly with the pineapple flavor overwhelmingly blowing me off course. It tasted as if the pineapple had either gone very bad or was on its way to going bad, with how fragile my stomach is, It did not take long for me to start feeling sick and on the verge of vomiting after the third sip.

The waiter suggested another drink, the Pineapple Coconut Nojito (NGN2500, USD7.35), with all amount of hesitation and fear, I ordered a glass. My body welcomed the refreshing taste with a cheerful reverberation of pure joy. The fresh mint leaves, lime juice, fresh pineapple juice, sugar syrup, and coconut paste fused together to create a rather flirty refreshing drink, perfect for the Lagos heat.

Benard had the classic tequila-sunrise (NGN3800, USD9.97), he described it as thirst-quenching with just about the perfect shot of tequila to excite the body. Mannie, our other mutual friend had the Banana Strawberry Delight (NGN3000, USD7.87) a banana, orange, milk and strawberry paste combination that was neither revitalising nor satisfying, he barely touched his drink after the first few sips. Shortly after settling into our drinks, our table was soon flooded by dripping liquid from the glasses and melting ice, Mannie and I both asked on multiple times for placemats for the drinks and none was provided, tired of asking, we resorted to begging for extra napkins instead (multiple times) to dab the water from the table, that was also not provided.

Our breaking point came an hour later, after just staring blankly at the food menu, calling out different dishes to each other, hoping that at least one would resonate. I personally wanted to try the Salmon Freekeh (NGN17,000, USD44.62) Which is a grilled salmon filet on a bed of creamy Freekeh risotto with onions, red pepper and mushroom served with a side of sauteed spinach and broccoli. I changed my mind after I asked my waiter if he would recommend it, his lack of enthusiasm and knowledge of the menu drained the appetite from me.

Though the ambience had graciously improved since last time, the food menu had not, my company and I felt disappointed, it came off as yet, another overrated restaurant.

It is important to iterate that I do not believe the food at Cactus is bad (we did not eat anything) however, I do think that Cactus really holds great potential, but, from the sickness-inducing smoothie to the general frustration of having to dry our table to the very “meh” food selections on the menu, my party and I came to the conclusion that it was not the best place for us… And so, we left.

17 Comments

  • Grandprince
    Posted March 16, 2021

    Nicely written benson, well done champ.

    • thebensonekpo
      Posted March 16, 2021

      Many thanks Grandprince, I hope It added value to you.

  • Blessing Akpan
    Posted March 16, 2021

    I am in love with this review. Thank you Benson for this. And oh, I love your exquisite taste for good food.

  • Prosper Obande
    Posted March 16, 2021

    Thanks for the review Benson and great work too. Honest reviews like this one, help us grow in the hospitality industry.

    • thebensonekpo
      Posted March 17, 2021

      I am glad I could offer my opinion. Thank you.

  • Fatgirlimma
    Posted March 17, 2021

    Absolutely love it. No biase whatsoever…. can’t wait for the next review

  • Gordon Churchill
    Posted March 17, 2021

    Such Audacity, It’s 💯seriously admirable when humans keep it real like this Sha. #RealerNo 🤩🥰

    • thebensonekpo
      Posted March 17, 2021

      Hahahah, It is the hashtag for me! Thank you tho!

      • Eveh Ogban
        Posted March 17, 2021

        Wow.. This is a very detailed review. I’m not surprised it is an overrated restaurant. Most of them in Lagos are.

        Well done Benson.

        • thebensonekpo
          Posted April 7, 2021

          Many thanks for the kind words Eveh, it is a very sad truth.

  • J.hart baby
    Posted March 17, 2021

    You left me in Uyo, and went to cactus Lagos and expected it to be nice. After I had dropped your pictures with baba. It’s your audacity for me. You will never have fun!!! *Blows charm powder

  • Emmanuel
    Posted March 17, 2021

    I just can’t wait to try out all the combo here

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