Obroni Visits House Of Ovation
SOMETIMES IT is difficult to find something new, some type of food you haven't yet tried, but we found a place in Osu that gave us the opportunity to do just that. Just around the right corner from MTN, you will find House of Ovation, a Nigerian restaurant, on the left.
The real restaurant is upstairs while downstairs houses a pool room, bar and a smaller restaurant. We were welcomed by a friendly waiter in a polo shirt branded with the Ovation logo; it was only after seeing all the pictures that we realized the place was connected to Ovation magazine, which has the same Nigerian owner.
After settling in, a waiter took our aperitif order; with African food, beer does best. The restaurant was tastefully decorated but lacked real atmosphere. House of Ovation had beautiful paintings and nice seats with African-designed pillows, however it is slightly too open.
It was only after we inquired that the waiter told us that their customers are mostly Nigerian with a few Ghanaians and foreigners dropping in occasionally. The only Nigerian food I knew about was Eba and pepper soup. Luckily I had my partner and the waiter, who was really well informed, to explain things.
The starters included the famous pepper soup (GH¢5.50), cow leg (GH¢10.00) and goat head (GH¢12.50). For the average European, this may be a little too African, but we didn't mind.
We ordered pepper soup and cow leg as starters.
The main course was more difficult to pick because there was hardly anything we recognized, here we needed to depend 100% on our waiter.
He explained everything so well that we assumed he was Nigerian himself. The prices for the main courses start from GH¢6.50 to GH¢9.00. You however have to order your staple food separately.
Nigerians eat much more vegetables than Ghanaians do hence all our main courses contained some “greens” as they call it. Soups were nicely separated from meat, fish and staples, so you could mix everything to your taste.
Unfortunately some sauces on the menu were not available, but since we didn't even know what they were, we didn't miss it. We were informed by our very able waiter that while waiting for the food we could get a free manicure or face massage.
To us that was a little bit weird, especially since it was a restaurant, but maybe a well appreciated extra service in Nigeria. We decided not to go for it though.
Our starters arrived, my pepper soup first (why not all at the same time?); a large bowl of clear soup with some dried leaves, plenty goat meat and intestines. I love pepper soup, especially in this size.
While my whole family (our daughter was with us) enjoyed the pepper soup, the waiter came to check to see if we were still alive, since he thought the soup might be hot. The soup was delicious, but HOOOOOOOOT; and I don't mean only temperature-wise.
It was still the best pepper soup we ever ate. Our waiter brought each of us a small table with water to clean our hands. Our cow legs “walked” in after.
Our opinions were split; while I loved the taste with palm oil, bitterleaves and some dried root, my partner found that the palm oil didn't go too well with the cow leg. Our daughter was indifferent for her part.
For our main courses, our daughter ordered Afang soup (waterleaves) with Nkowbi (kind of fufu from dried yam), my partner ordered Ewedu stew (Ademe) with Afeng (kind of millet banku) and goatmeat whiles I ordered Asaro (rough mashed yam) with pepper snail.
Although I started very carefully with my pepper snails, after the pepper soup experience, it wasn't too spicy; just a nice mild tomato, onion and pepper taste.
The yam was also very tastefully mashed with tomatoes, once again, a very large portion. My partner's soup with spinach and Ademe was also tasteful, and the staple ball also went well with it. It also had a large portion of “greens”. Our daughter's food was completely different; a dark ball of dough and a nice stew with, again, other greens.
What we enjoyed most was the variety of the food. After our meal, our waiter gave us some Nigerian kitchen secrets. It was only then that we discovered he was not Nigerian himself, but the cooks were.
There was however no desserts or coffee; a small minus for Europeans. In all, we paid GH¢63.00 for the three of us.
Overall Impression: House of Ovation is definitely worth a try, not every dish is recommended for less experienced African-food eating Europeans, but it is definitely worth the trouble.
The atmosphere is okay, but could be generally improved by putting the waiters in Nigerian clothing with some Nigerian music in the background. Some more African decoration and art could be added in the restaurant. Who knows though, maybe doing so takes away something from the theme of the place. The waiter's serving skill was not very proficient but he more than made up for it with all the attention he gives his customers.
House of Ovation is definitely worth a visit if you appreciate good African food.
Food Quality: 7