There is a subtle elegance to Craft Gourmet. The open kitchen bistro, owned by the husband and wife team of Tarek and Lou Baker, is welcoming, stylish, graceful and warm. The elegance emanates from its neutral tones, immaculate uniforms, sleek design and most importantly, its unpretentious food. There is a seamless flow between the space, the staff and the food, a beautiful symphony that begs you to stay a bit longer.
The light flows from everywhere, including the open plan kitchen where the staff work in perfect harmony, a harmony orchestrated by the heart and soul of Craft Gourmet, Lou Baker, herself. Lou Baker has brought the memories of her mother’s homemade cooking to Craft Gourmet, many of its dishes coming from secret recipes that made Lou’s childhood so special. Although the food comes from the heart, her experience comes from the top hospitality school, Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne.
Craft Gourmet is unexpectedly situated on the third floor of Mega Plaza, with windows spanning the restaurant pouring in lots of sunlight. The details are visible everywhere, from the coasters and little branded flags on the sandwiches to the juice carafes and little spoons made especially to scoop up creamy cappuccino foam.
Everything at Craft Gourmet is lovingly handcrafted: the complimentary sweet potato chips that are served before the meal, the homemade yogurt in the Strawberry Granola Parfait, the mayonnaise that is in the sandwiches and the hand-cut french fries. Nothing is left to chance. Every meal leaves you with a lasting impression whether it’s their popular brunch of Chicken and Waffles or their romantic candlelit dinner of a shared melt-in-your-mouth, 7-Hour Leg of Lamb. The leg of lamb is marinated for 24 hours and slow-cooked for 7 hours to create perfect tenderness without losing any juiciness. Another of Lou’s mother’s recipes, the 7-Hour Leg of Lamb is served at the table, carved just for you, and accompanied by roasted vegetables.
When the sun goes down, the mood at Craft Gourmet transforms. The blinds are lowered and the lights turned off, so a dim glow comes from flickering candles on the tables. Get lost in a bottle of specially selected wines and a plate of fresh Calamari and Prawns Pasta.
Any time of day is suitable for Craft Gourmet. A vegan Healthy Bowl of smoothie topped with colourful fresh fruit, nuts, and muesli, a not-so-guilty pleasure, is a sure way to start your morning right. Grab a healthy lunch of Fresh Strawberry and Feta Cheese Salad with homemade honey pomegranate dressing and shaved almonds, nicely complimented by a starter of Spicy Shrimps. The Spicy Shrimps, although simply marinated with chilli and herbs, are perfectly paired with a vibrant green, crispy garlic bread, a nice balance of spices.
The Chicken Pesto Sandwich, one among their many sandwich offerings, is deliciously satisfying. The sandwich is made with artisan ciabatta bread, a homemade pesto sauce that generously coats the chicken, sweet and tangy sundried tomatoes, honey balsamic dressing, and fresh rocket. Their freshly made juices, featuring a variety of fruits and vegetables, are smartly presented in your very own carafe, adding lovely, vibrant colours to your table.
But no meal is complete without a touch of sweetness. Each of the desserts is carefully conceived and prepared with as much love as all the other dishes on the menu. The Strawberry Parfait, made with homemade miniature meringues, homemade whipped cream and fresh strawberries is a deconstructed Eton Mess beautifully presented in its own glass cup and dome.
But you don’t need to eat an entire meal to enjoy a little sweetness during your day. Stop by at tea time for a cup of Kusmi tea, a Lavazza cappuccino or a handpicked rose flower tea with a generous slice of Mum’s Cake. It’s a favourite of Lou’s, another of her mother’s recipes, made with chunks of dark chocolate.
Craft Gourmet is an experience you share with friends, with family and with colleagues. It’s a place you celebrate a birthday, propose to the love of your life and show off a new baby. It’s where you meet for brunch, where you take a break for lunch or grab a cozy dinner. Craft Gourmet by Lou Baker is a sanctuary in the heart of a city of chaos, so why not just stay a bit longer?
Craft Gourmet by Lou Baker
14 Idowu Martins Street, Mega Plaza Mall, Victoria Island, Lagos
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