This post has been a long time coming. I’ve just realised that it’s been a whole month (and some days) since Valentine’s Day this year. Am I the only one feeling like 2018 is zooming past in a flash?
I’ve been blessed to meet some amazing people in Accra and on this particular day, a group of dear friends and I checked out Bistro 22 for Valentine’s Day lunch. Opened since 2014, Bistro 22 was a refreshing change to the Accra restaurant scene when they began operations.
I always feel when I drive in to their drive way that I’ve escaped Accra and entered into another world. The big glass french doors open up into a modern dining room that’s filled with natural light. The decor is simple but modern and there are touches of elegance throughout the restaurant.
I was a little disappointed to not see a special menu for Valentine’s Day and was half expecting a special Valentine’s touch for the day but they might have saved it for the evening crowd. The fresh flowers on the table were lovely and the colours of the bouquet chosen was probably for the occasion.
We decided it was best to order a couple of starters to share amongst the table rather than large main meals. It turned out to be more than enough food for the four of us and didn’t leave any room for dessert.
Not long after our order was placed, the waitress brought some bread and dips to the table.
When restaurants provide a simple touch such as free breadsticks and dips at the beginning of a meal, it doesn’t just add as a stomach filler for before your orders arrive, but a great taste into what is to come. The fresh breads and dips were as I remembered from my first visit to Bistro 22. Their basil pesto and beetroot hummus were delicious! I wished they bottled these dips up and had them for sale.
Service was prompt and our starters started arriving probably about ten minutes after the breads were brought to the table.
The spinach and artichoke dip was a table favourite. Served warm like a gooey fondue and served with crispy tortilla chips. It was hard to stop at two or three or even four servings of this!
Have you ever had food envy? When another table gets something amazing and you didn’t so you sit there staring at their food wishing you got that instead? Food envy struck hard when I saw the next table order the fried calamari. It was a huge plate and piled high with crispy calamari. Definitely on the order list for the next visit.
Perhaps someone had food envy watching our plates of food too? We got bistro’s flatbread which was a gourmet pizza of sorts. Topped with goat’s cheese, arugula, tomato confit, dried cranberry and a honey balsamic drizzle, it was a perfect mix of sweet and salty flavours.
The halloumi bites arrived next and I was in heaven. Halloumi is probably one of my favourite cheeses and there’s nothing better the chew of that warm squeaky cheese. The flavour pairing of the basil pesto and molasses was spot on. Another combination of sweet and salty that I approve of!
The lemon gamberi took me back to my holiday in Spain a few years ago. Garlicky, lemony and buttery, it was the perfect accompaniment to the leftover bread which we used to mop up the sauce.
Thinking we didn’t have enough and wanting to add a healthy spin to the meal, we ordered a side of sautéed vegetables as well as the beef and mango salad. I’ve typically seen a mango salad paired with chicken as the protein but the beef and mango salad works very well here. Super sweet mango chunks were scattered throughout the fresh leaves with a generous amount of tender beef pieces. The dressing added just the right touch of creaminess to the dish.
The sautéed vegetables didn’t disappoint either. Artichokes, button mushrooms and cherry tomatoes were delicious and a nice treat. In Ghana we are used to the ‘local’ mushrooms which are the oyster mushrooms and button mushrooms are all imported. Artichokes are also not available locally but were very fresh and so tender!
The next time I go I will definitely be making sure there is room for dessert. What’s your favourite dish at the Bistro?