...that this place wasn't going to bang. I mean what is Panache as a name for a restaurant? According to the first google search result, "Panache is a flamoyant confidence of style and manner" (also, I just checked and it was a yahoo search, awks)
Anyhoo, yeah. I was in Abuja for a bit and wanted to go somewhere nice. After all my research, only two options kept resurfacing - Pow and Panache. Pow is Japanese and someone said they cook with too much maggi so I chose panache because it's 'continental' (my word, not theirs)
Walked in and it was full of square tables with tablecloths. I kept trying to find a good angle to photograph the setting, but I couldn't find one (also, some man came up to ask why I was taking his picture- I wasn't but yeah)
At this point, I was still super excited. The menus were really gorgeous with pictures and they had the best dessert selection I've ever seen in Nigeria- AND.THEY.HAD.DUCK. Man I was ready to go in.
Ordered duck, my boyfriend (he asked me to put in this post that he's 6 5" and well built-he's not, but yah) ordered ribs, and we both ordered mojitos- which I always order because - easy to make right? wrong.
So we received this and I was like??? These mint leaves were obviously not muddled like they should have been. I'm paying way over the odds for this. What? According to my boyfriend, it tasted like transparent cough syrup and you know what? It reeally did.
The bread rolls had a very very very weird aftertaste- Before that day, I'd never tasted a bread roll I didn't like- I usually inhale bread rolls like I need them for my lung function - I put this down after one bite (also, I had the nagging feeling that the guy that accused me of taking his picture was trying to poison me.) I had to take a bite of my boyfriends roll just to be sure that they tasted the same- but then he would just poison us both, right?
My duck came. generous portion, in a wine jus AND honey roasted root vegetables (including beetroot, yuck). The duck was actually gorgeous, perfectly cooked and flavoured, so tender and lovingly made.
The dis-service was in the combination of the other things on the plate- my potatoes not dauphinoise enough and all the sauces being way too sweet and overwhelming. I asked for a new plate for my duck and ordered a garlic sauce. I can't even believe this happened, but my garlic sauce WAS BLAND. How is this even possible? I just gave up at this point and asked for the dessert menu. By this point, our waiter- Ekajo, who was the best part of the meal, was concerned about all the leftover food so, he recommended that I get the fondant. I wanted a more rounded dessert experience so I ordered a dessert duo instead. The duo included his beloved fondant so it was cool.
*sigh*. The fondant was the best thing on the plate, it was good. The white chocolate on the other hand, tasted like- you know when you put something sweet in the freezer with fresh stew and leftover moi moi and it ends up with a weird freezer taste, thats how the white chocolate tasted.
In summary, I generally don't have the highest expectations for food in Nigeria, I eat out more for the ambience than anything, but I just couldn't believe this , man.
And don't kill me, but I would still recommend it- stay with safe dishes, lower your expectations and just live. Order your water (which is served in a wine glass) , pretend you are drinking wine and just enjoy yourself. I mean, it's Abuja, where else are you going to go (this is a joke, don't give me a list).