LA BRASSIERE BY WOOD, ACCRA REVIEW.
Hi and Akwaaba to my first restaurant review. It has been long promised and here it is!
This week, I was invited by my fellow foodie friend Kwabena, owner of Taste Ghana, a premier food blog and platform in Ghana, to a tasting event at Alliance Francais. The last time I stepped foot on the compound was a smooth 15 plus years ago. I did not pick it for a place to host a restaurant. On my way there, I had to ask for clarification. “Is it inside or in the neighborhood?”. Alliance Francais is basically a French school, a very popular one at that.
As I entered, I was met with a very lit up ambience. A summer hut type structure and a smaller hut adjacent the bigger hut. It had the restaurant’s name written across it so it is easily identifiable. We were a group of about 10 and everyone (well, let me speak for myself) was anxious about what we were about to be introduced to.
The Ghanaian food scene is boring. Very boring. And I suspect it is because our palates have just refused to evolve. We do take our complacency everywhere, don’t we? Every food startup in Accra lately has very similar menu items. Reminds me of the Chinese-American restaurants in New York City, who have the same menus, same prices, same utensils and same setup. But his was going to be different. This was French food. My little experience with French food prepared me for small plates, portions and courses. I was wrong.
Chef Jeff Leneau is the managing director of the restaurant and he is a total delight. Hilarious and very knowledgeable about his audience. He welcomed us and told us a bit about the restaurant and how he was hoping it will be now. I understand there was a restaurant in it’s place a long while ago so this was an upgrade and a new menu. He told us about how he was incorporating local ingredients into the menu to create some familiarity for his Ghanaian patrons, while using French cooking techniques to keep the menu authentic.
Our first course was a bread topped with either hummus (made with chickpeas and agushi/melon seeds instead of pinenuts) or fish & olives. The hummus was such a huge hit with everyone. Think hummus but smoother, creamier and just amazing. I am not a fan of olives but this was not entirely intolerable for me.
Chef Jeff told us about his ex girlfriend who is Fante, who ate her bread with sardines, corned beef and what not. And to be honest, he got that right. His entire menu is so flavorful. This starter had the right amount of spread to bread ratio. I was very pleased with it.
Next up, we had a plate of pate and another with corned beef, ham and pickles. He said he sourced the fish from the Nima market. Nima market never tasted so good. At first look, it reminded me of a terrine but it wasn’t. What it was, was delicious. It was at this moment that the gluttony in everyone came out. A guest suggested that we try it with bread. The whole table agreed and we ate it all in seconds.
The next course was pizza/flatbread dish. We had a variety to choose from. A goat cheese and sundried tomato pizza, a squid pizza, a mushroom and ham variation and an olive and feta cheese pizza. The top favorites were the squid and goat cheese pizzas. They were really wonderful and I noticed he made them in a traditional clay oven. It has a completely different taste. Very memorable.
Just as we were about wrapping up for night, Chef Jeff showed up with the main meal. Yup. We were being teased all along. He had asked if any of us had any allergies before the start of the dinner and of course it had to be me. I am allergic to kontomire and cocoyam. There is something about the plant that does not agree with me. He brought out a few dishes and told me he had kontomire in one of them, which I appreciated a lot. The kontomire dish has a chicken and white sauce on it. My side of the table got a beef and potato gratin dish. We also had a Mediterranean salad with quail eggs, which was reminiscent of a Ghanaian salad. It was ironic because the table was talking about how unnecessary the toppings in Ghanaian salads right before the main dishes came in. The salad was super fresh. It had tuna, quail eggs, tomatoes, lettuce and a dressing. We also had a jollof dish and a baba ghanoush/hummus spread! It was good. Very local. So something familiar, something borrowed. We asked about his tableware and let us know that they are from Orca Deco.
Apart from the presence of olives in some of the dishes(Chef Jeff’s mother is from Greece), I was very pleased with the dishes. The prices are a very good value for money. It ranges from Ghc 27.00 to 120.00. I will give the ambience, food and location a 5 out of 5. It is a good place to wind down or pregame before a night out. It is also a great spot for hosting small events and meetings.
Make this restaurant your next must try! And check out my mini vlog.
Find the restaurant on Instagram, @wood_gh