Monday, April 22, 2013

Chopsticks Chinese Restaurant: Not so Chinese afterall!

By Adejoh Idoko Momoh

I had complained to a friend earlier about my lack of a social life, his response was to write out a list of about 5 restaurants including Maitama’s Chopsticks and Chez Victor, Wuse 2’s Wakkis, 805 and Reno’s. He advised that every other weekend we would visit one of these restaurants, split the bill so we both didn’t feel the pinch of expensive dinning. I finally beat him at going to Chopsticks: my office had decided to host us to dinner. I believe my office managers exact words were ‘prepare for an evening of fine Chinese dining’ imagine my excitement. 

Carefully tucked off on plot 66 Missisipi Street Maitama and open from 7am -10pm every day, Chopsticks is an upscale Chinese restaurant that offers really spacious, fairly fine dining. The décor is suitably stylish: bright lights complemented by subtle Chinese features and a wall of slightly off white.

Even more impressive than the décor is the impeccable and timely service which is evident from the moment you walk in. A staff member politely welcomes you; shows you to your table if you have a reservation. One thing I noticed is that there were reserved signs on most tables, such that even paying customers had to wait for tables to free up before they got seating.

While the service was timely and impressive, it is the expected standard for every restaurant which caters to the class of diners Chopsticks caters to; in the space of about 30 minutes I saw 2 ex ministers and a serving governor.

As for the food, Chopsticks offers a contemporary spin on traditional Chinese dishes such that if you really want to eat Chinese it might really not be your best option.  I came with a group of about nine colleagues so we had a pre-ordered menu.  I had made a mental note to pick up a meal list complete with prices on my way out, but I didn’t. My reason, I would never with my money return to dine at Chopsticks.

The appetizer was spring-rolls served with pepper sauce which was really nice. The vegetables in the spring roll were fresh, nicely prepared and crunchy. The sauce oozed with flavor: doing what an appetizer really should do, it awoke my taste buds.
Done with that, we had a delectable chicken and sweet corn soup. Dinner was white rice and shredded beef in black bean sauce with extra options of chicken with green pepper and cashew nuts and prawn in hot Sauce.
The taste of dinner itself did very little good for my now ‘awake’ taste buds; devoid of the usual Chinese flavors everything tasted too sweet like a good helping of sugar was a primary ingredient. Dessert was fruit salad: pineapples, bananas, watermelon. Basic fruits all, for a restaurant of its clout, one would have expected more exotic fruits like kiwis, berries.

If you are like me and prefer fine dining at not very exorbitant rates this is probably not the best fit for you; when our bill eventually arrived, I thought

‘How so?’  Dinner amongst the 10 of us cost a hefty N110, 000 that would calculate at some N11, 000 per head! Not cheap, going by any standards.

My advice is ‘While Chopsticks was good, it was just that; good! The food was nothing more than decent generic modern Chinese food and not bursting with all the flavors and aromas Chinese cuisine is known for’

 Adejoh Momoh ( can be followed on twitter @adejoh