It happened so fast. I was already on 29, Oyeleke street, Ikeja (a few steps away from Rhodes BBQ smoke house) before asking myself if meeting up with someone I’d barely known is a great idea. The well-tarred street looked empty as I sank deeper into my own thoughts…
“it’s a Sunday bro! the only option you have aside from this meetup is to work and you’ve been working since last week fam! Is that what you want for yourself?”
That was my alter-ego. He wins most times.
“You have arrived” the lady from my google maps raised her voice as if in support of his arguments.
Rhodes BBQ Smoke House is a quaint space tucked into the heart of Ikeja. One wouldn’t be able to tell exactly what goes on in the duplex which looked too quiet for a BBQ house. I actually thought it’s the property of one of the new generation churches which usually gets converted into a restaurant after service but I was far from the truth.
With my nose mask barely allowing me to breathe, I moved close to the security man by the door to ask if the top floor is also a part of the restaurant. He supported his affirmative answer with a gentle smile. With my brown leather bag held tightly in my right hand, I walked upstairs, taking each step after the other like I was climbing the podium for a life-changing presentation. The cool country music playing in the background made it more dramatic.
My phone started ringing just as I settled on the table for two that gave me a perfect view of the ground floor.
“Hi Tunde, I’m on the ground floor,” Victoria said from the other end of the phone. “Please come upstairs. This place looks good. Or does the ground floor appeal more to you?” I replied. “Let me come up,” she concluded.
Her emergence wasn’t dramatic but sleek enough to make every head turn except for mine which had been fixated on the staircase since the call ended. She looked astonishing in her flowery jumpsuit. The apparel seemed to be a crucial part of why everyone wouldn’t face their food. Everything paused, except the music and our heartbeats.
Her necklace was complemented with an African map pendant that sat quietly on her chest as she settled on her seat. For a moment I thought I wore a fake perfume because she smelled better.
It was our first meeting but it seemed as though we’ve met before, going by the flow of our conversation.
Then came the nice waiter
“Should I bring the food menu?” The waiter asked, walking towards our table. I didn’t know when he got there as I was still in awe of the being across my table. Everyone had resumed their eating again. “No please, we’d call you once we’re ready.” He bowed and left with a large smile.
The food wasn’t bad
I returned my focus on Victoria, not only because it was the right thing to do, but because she was why I came. We talked about everything from religion, feminism, family, work, money, to career and every other thing till hunger struck. Now it was time to call on our friendly waiter. He came with a trifold brochure containing the food menu.
On opening, we saw only 7 categories of food. I was expecting to see more but I recollected that Rhodes BBQ Smoke House was a BBQ spot and not as broad in scope as Gypsy’s restaurant.
We took loads of minutes trying to figure out what to pick from the menu. I wanted us to take different options so we could cross-eat but she went for the exact same thing I wanted. The waiter affirmed that her choice was one we’d like, so we gave him permission to serve. He promised to be back in 20 minutes but returned 4 minutes earlier with a packed tray containing 2 plates of peppered BBQ chicken, 4 pieces of french toast, 2 plates of dusted fries, and ketchup. He returned later with 2 bottles of water and glasses almost filled with Orange juice.
After many minutes passed, we had both devoured the chickens in our plates, leaving the bones. The toasts too were gone, and I still had some fries left. The highlight for me was definitely the toasts as they were well made. The chicken was just there for me and nothing was outstanding about the fries- not that I was expecting any though.
Our waiter friend came to ask if we enjoyed the meal and handed us a feedback form in the process. It was a step higher for me as far as customer service is concerned. We joked as he went away with the tray filled with our leftovers.
We continued talking till the restaurant became empty. The sky turned darker too, allowing the lighting in the restaurant show their true colours, so we had to adjourn. Of course, we could continue till morning if the next day wasn’t a workday.
Victoria’s cab was waiting outside and mine was 2 minutes away as we climbed down the stairs into the dimly lit street to say our goodbyes.
“Oya, tell me if you didn’t enjoy your day,” my alter ego resurfaced, facing me with a large smile. He was right. The weekend ended the best way I didn’t see coming. I smiled back in agreement as I pulled my seatbelt.
“Pleaase start the trip,” I told the driver.
Here’s the breakdown:
The fact that Rhodes BBQ smoke house was carefully made to look like a regular family house is what I found most fascinating. It was clean too.
I didn’t really like the chicken though, but the food was moderately priced. The main dish of spicy BBQ chicken went for N3200. A bottle of water was N500 and the cup of juice was N1000. You can check their page for more info.
One of the highlights at Rhodes BBQ smoke house for me.
Would I want to come back? Yes, I might, because the space is perfect for a business meeting, and a late night date. I have to warn though that there isn’t not enough parking space, so you might want to use a cab instead of driving.