Respect The Jollof…Appio Restaurant and Bar

Have you ever seen a fat kid clutch on to their candy when they play around other children who possibly love candy more than they do? Why do they do this? They are probably afraid that they may get mugged…and their candy stolen 🙂

That was how I felt walking to Appio; a Ghanaian restaurant and bar located on U Street; close to Howard University in Washington DC. I walked into the restaurant and it looked quite chaotic…and I wouldn’t say it in a bad way. It just looked unorganized with quite a number of college kids.

The university isn’t too far from the restaurant, so quite a few students do patronize this place.

At first sight, Appio did nothing for me, but it was a last minute decision we made to eat there and seeing as I had an early evening flight to catch back to my base, I had to just make do.

Sitting in Appio, I felt as though there was no effort put into the setting up of the restaurant. The chairs were just strewn about the place with tables so low, you would think it was designed for a kindergartner. I took one look at my tour guide and said “let’s give it a try, maybe their food is good.”

The waitress was prompt with coming to the table. She was a dark skinned beautiful girl with a lovely smile. She seemed to me as one of those people who smile through everything. That actually is what waitresses and waiters are supposed to do while on the job; wear a smile. Though difficult sometimes.

As usual, I wanted a Mojito, but they had none. Please African restaurants in DC and the rest of the world, please learn to make Mojitos na! Warris this? Abi una want make I carry my own Mojito for hand dey waka? The gods forbid! Anyway, I ordered the Black Margarita and my tour guide had just water. E come be like say we dey vex.

I decided to request for some water before my drink would have been made and I requested lemons with it, and the waitress brought the lemons on a tissue…would have been nice if the lemons were served in a saucer 🙂

Finally, the Margarita came and on tasting it, it tasted like Zobo! Zobo y’all! Zobo mixed with Tequila! You say?! How can you serve Sorrel tea as Black Margarita?

Moving on to the food, I had to try something new, so I ordered a plate of Waakye without the Shito and egg. According to the waitress, the Shito was quite spicy, so I did goat meat stew instead. And for my tour guide, we ordered a plate of jollof rice, goat meat stew, fried plantains and a side salad.

Waakye is a traditional Ghanaian street food made up of cooked rice and beans. It gets its name from the use of the popular Waakye leaves which gives it, its indigenous color. The rice and beans is then served with a side of spaghetti, shito or stew, buttered yellow garri and boiled eggs.

The food was not served on time, but I was hoping they would make up for it in taste. On tasting the Waakye, it was delicious, but the rice and beans mixture was a little dry. Im not sure how it’s supposed to taste, but on a general note I kind of like my rice and beans a little moist. The stew was a little under cooked and the plantains were hard fried; which was actually made at the request of my tour guide. But the thing is, it was almost burnt and not completely cooked on the inside. But its dodo, so who cares?!

I decided to try my tour guide’s jollof rice. And with my first scoop I whispered loudly “mbanu!” Is it like this you people are doing? Somebody cannot play with you people again? The rice tasted like it was tossed in stew and vegetables. You could tell that the stew and the rice were not cooked in sync.

Apart from my plate of Waakye, my tour guide complained about the lack of pepper in is food. You could see the disappointment in our faces. I had hoped that the food would taste better than the place looked. And I just hope that their Jollof rice is not the standard Ghanaian Jollof rice. You cannot be carrying shoulders up for that type of Jollof abeg!

The lack of pepper was okay for me, but when you cook jollof rice, you must put your foot in it. Do not take Jollof rice for granted plix! You must fry the stew and spice medley together and while doing this, you must be happy!

Another thing Africans must take into consideration when hiring their staff for their establishments is staff training. Training your staff is paramount as they learn what to do and what not to do especially infront of customers. Listen, when your customer service is amazing, it kind of makes up for the not so good food. Not that I’m saying do not make your food amazing oh!

During my brief visit to Appio, I noticed two of the wait staff engaged in an argument at the entrance door. That argument should have been taken to the back of the house. It’s restaurant etiquette 101…you do not argue in front of you customers and especially not at the restaurant’s entrance. I really was not going to talk about this, but it’s also part of this review.

The two good things about my visit to Appio were the Waitress and the Chef. While the Waitress was very eager to please, the Chef was open to criticism. The Chef agreed to come out to say hi to us, so using that opportunity, my tour guide talked to him about the lack of pepper in our food. The Chef did mention that due to customers complaining about the amount of pepper in their dishes, they decided to start making separate pepper sauces for their customers. Still, that does not stop you from adding a pinch of pepper to your pot of stew na. Abi una nor know say lack of pepper dey drive wife commot from her husband house?

Will I ever go back to Appio? Hmm, maybe when they change their sitting arrangement. For now, I’ll eat my own jollof 🙂


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