Saturday, 1 September 2012

805 Restaurant just improves on itself consistently


Meeting my uncle
It came on a whim; I was meeting up with my uncle who I had not seen for nigh on 7 years or thereabouts. It was interesting when we first spoke that he had been informed that I was ill but he thought it just a fever – well, I did have fevers amongst other things – to which I commented, “That is an understatement.”
He probably went half-numb into shock when I told him how ill I was, the story of the discovery, diagnosis, hospitalisation, treatments, recovery and return to life has become a somewhat flawless delivery with snippets of other things like my brother thinking my being able to blog from hospital meant I was fine – the little artistic bent I have allows for the a dead-pan delivery of the line – You have no idea.
805, it is
Anyway, we got stuck in traffic so I suggested we go off to 805, the Nigerian cuisine restaurant at 805 Old Kent Road. Whilst my uncle had his general bearings of where we were, he was unsure as we got to Old Kent Road whether we had to turn left or right.
Smartphones are so handy nowadays; I should write something about how smart my phone is when looking for directions, checking timetables for public transport and much else. Immediately, I keyed in the address and we found we were to turn right, having parked the car briefly to be sure – there was no rush.
On getting to 805, the car park behind the restaurant was full apart from watching the annoyance of someone parking and re-parking with such indecision you were ready to take a nail to their tyres just to stop them.
Between you and me, you can use the Toys ‘R Us car park on Old Kent Road some 100 yards from 805 on the other side of the road – Yes, I am back to imperial measures – but you must never have your car there for more than 2 hours, else, be a customer of Toys ‘R Us before you go to 805, the penalty is a £50 fine wending its way to your wallet.
Responsive service
We got to 805 as it began to get busy and we were ushered to a table in one of the even more sophisticated dining areas, all the décor looking formal and well laid out. I then noticed a good subtle organisational arrangement; waiters and waitresses were allocated sections to attend to and the floor manager being very observant would notice if the service was not as prompt as one would expect and ask questions of the staff as to why the delay.
As it does get busy, there could be a bit of a wait but the staff will come with assurances to handle your expectations, the wait will always be worth your while.
I had assorted meat pepper soup as my entrée and semolina pudding with edikang ikong with assorted meats for my plat principal, my uncle went for the fish pepper soup and amala pudding with corchorus (ewedu) vegetable stew and assorted meats. We had Malta Guinness for drinks but the capsicum rating of the pepper soups had us pleading for water too.
Quality and class
I first visited 805 in 2006 and since then, I have watched the restaurant expand and improve, in quality, in service, in choice, in clientele and it is a stand-out Nigerian-owned business that sets the standard for what one should expect of a decent restaurant that I find quite lacking in many other Nigerian cuisine restaurants I have visited around Europe.
805 easily caters to an international diverse and multicultural demographic, it is a place you can take anyone not familiar with Nigerian cuisine to experience the amazing smorgasbord of Nigerian cooking without being squeamish about setting, service or any other uncomfortable situation.
Easily the best
We had a lovely dinner, the facilities are also much improved too and as I made for that opportunity I acknowledged the owner who apparently also knows my uncle that when I was later introduced to him commended my appearance – he is a sharp dresser too, commanding an air of understated sophistication that most of my country-folk usually fail to carry for hedonistic ostentation that makes for expensive and vulgar expressions of wealth as one risks snobbery for noticing the difference between the one and the other.
If you are in London and looking for a bit of class mixed with nostalgia, 805 at 805 Old Kent Road cannot come better recommended.
How to get to 805 and the menu.
My first review of 805 in 2006.

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