This week I will be reviewing Presidential Suya Restaurant and this was inspired by my spontaneous craving for suya few days ago.
Suya or Spicy Kebab is a very popular street food in Nigeria, made popular by the Hausa/Fulani Speaking tribe of Nigeria. It is basically beef, spiced up with a mixture of different ground chillies which is roasted on sticks in an open fire and then served with more ground chillies (a.k.a pepper), Onions and Tomatoes . The open air grilling and spices all add up to make suya, SUYA! I was editing a blog post on Wednesday night when I stumbled on CNN’s Valdimir Duthiers eating Suya in a video. I grabbed some screen shot. This was the genesis of my suya craving…lol
Instantly I began craving suya and then I remembered a friend told me that Presidential Suya had the best suya in London. In Lagos, there are 2 places where I could easily get authentic suya from; Ikoyi Hotel and Agboju Market in Festac. Those guys do suya right! Whatever happened to Obalende Suya in Peckham? They were quite popular but they seem to have gone into oblivion. Anyhoo, I hope Presidential Suya will not disappoint me.
On Thursday evening, my very good friend (also known as ‘my guest) and I went to Presidential Suya Restaurant which is on Old Kent Road in South East London. They occupy three units which sits next to each other. The first unit is the Take Away Section, the second is the Restaurant and the third is the Bar and lounge but they are all inter-linked from the inside with separate entrances outside. They are celebrating 15 years of being in business (wow!) with some good Take Away deals.
The interior has a welcoming presence and ambience with the furnishings done tastefully. I particularly loved the lighting effect in the restaurant which gave it a warm feel. A Champions league match was showing on the screen which was a plus for my guest. The main restaurant section was empty when we arrived but the Bar and Lounge section had customers seated there in pockets of twos. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the Bar and Lounge area. They also have two private dinning rooms called Mandela and Obama for hire. The rooms have got TV screens and though it can seat 12 people, it’s not that big in terms of space. By the time we were mid-way into our food, some RnB music began to flow from the speakers which was refreshing and a good break from the usual ‘heyo heyo’ music which can be noisy at times.
After making ourselves comfortable, a staff came to our table, greeted us and handed us the menu. The menu list was extensive and quite pricey, though the price of the suya was ok. After some minutes the staff came to take our orders looking like he couldn’t be bothered. My guest wanted to have Banga soup but the staff replied in a rather rude tone that it was not available. My guest was more upset at the staff’s rudeness than the unavailability of the Banga Soup. We quickly placed our orders and the staff went away. When he came back to take the orders for our drinks, my guest gave it back to him in his own coin and it must have hit home well. When the staff brought the drinks, he was all smiles and happy. It was as if a different person with the same face had taken over. From then onwards, his service was on point. But why did he have to wait until he was given some lessons before offering excellent customer service? The wait for the food was not that long and was served fresh and hot.
I ordered Beef Suya for my Starter and Nkwobi for my Main like a boss. My guest ordered Pounded Yam and Bitter Leaf Soup with Chicken for his Main. The Suya was £5.00 and the portion was reasonable. You see, my guest initially wanted Turkey Gizzard Suya but because of the staff’s rudeness he just forgot about it. The Beef Suya did not disappoint and it was just like the real deal you get back home. They did justice to the Suya and now I wish I had ordered some for take away. For drinks, he had Small Guinness Stout (£3.00) and I had Ultimalt (£2.50), which is a malt drink.
When the main arrived, it was a beautiful sight to behold and I had no doubt that it would taste as delicious as it looked. My guest was blown away with the food and he dived in immediately. He said the Bitter Leaf soup was too good and the Pounded Yam was very smooth and properly made. Bitter Leaf soup is one of the most traditional soups in Nigeria and eaten more by the Ibos of Eastern Nigeria. Though the name says ‘Bitter Leaf’, the ‘bitterness’ is actually washed and squeezed out before preparation. The soup should just have a slightly bitter taste after cooking. The Pounded Yam and Bitter Leaf Soup cost £11.95 which is slightly higher than what you get in other restaurants, but the size of the Pounded Yam was bigger.
Nkwobi is a traditional delicacy from the Ibos in the Eastern part of Nigeria and enjoyed by everyone. It is usually served in most Nigerian restaurants and during big social events. It is prepared with cow foot (sometimes called ”cow leg”) mixed in palm oil, spices and leaves. Nkwobi when prepared well has a unique authentic flavour that tickles your palete and Presidential Suya did just that. The Nkwobi drilled a £15.00 hole in my pocket but it scored high points in my books and I will definitely go back for more. The cow leg was soft, well cooked and properly immersed in the Palm oil mixture. The portion was very very good.
Nkwobi is usually served in a clay bowl and best eaten with hands. Fork and Knife will not allow you do justice to this authentic dish.
By the time we were through with our mains, we had to forget about ordering any dessert because we were full! No space…lol
Collectively we spent £37.45 which doesn’t sound too bad at the end of the day.
I enjoyed everything about Presidential Suya. The food was great, service was about to go downhill but was quickly regained, ambience and entertainment was on point. In summary, I will go back to Presidential Suya over and over again. I got value for money.
Interior / Ambience – 4
Customer Service – 2
Quality of food – 5
Value for money- 5
Have you been to Presidential Suya Restaurant? What was your experience? Add a review here