I may not be ice cream to make everyone happy but I sure definitely know how to try. This was a case when my uncle missed his flight to Dubai. Obviously it was Uncle Ess’s fault as I fondly call him. So I turned to him and I said we can’t remain here till tomorrow.
While driving back to town I noticed he wasn’t in a good mood and all efforts to make him smile or laugh proved abortive. Approaching city gate he turned and said Alhaji I’m hungry. I smiled and knew exactly where to take him to. Besides there’s a saying that goes “the way to ones heart is through the stomach”.
Few moments later we were at Calabar Aroma Restaurant seated on N018 Buchana crescent wuse 2, off the ever busy Aminu kano with Emab plaza as the landmark. From the entrance at the gate one is greeted with a green carpet leading to the door. Now one thing I found weird was that the key to the door was sticking at the key hole and the handle was broken. In fact the door didn’t seem like the type that should be at the entrance of a restaurant.
Anyways we opened the door with the key at the door mouth and made our way to our seats. The menu was already on the table so there was no need to ask. We quickly went through the menu and we both settled for pounded yam and afang soup with beef. I deliberately refused asking for the wait time because I’ve come to realise most of these restaurants hardly keep to time. So I just sat there while my uncle was still wearing his frown like a kid denied access to the play ground.
I needed to ease myself so I went to the gents and to my surprise it was dirty with shoes prints on the floor and smelly urine. Someone was in a hurry and forgot to flush after use and the window didn’t have any blind making visual for those outside easy. A staff should be assigned to making sure the convenience is kept clean at all times. I did my business and went back to my seat.
30minutes later large bowls of water and hand wash were brought. This meant our food was about to be served but little did I know it was a cheap tactics as we waited almost 10 minutes before the arrival of the beautiful well shaped pounded yam and a well garnished green afang soup served in a white bowl, giving it that attractive and mouth watery appearance.
Indeed this was calabar aroma. Soft, smooth and easy. That was how the pounded yam passed through my throat. By this time my uncle seemed relaxed and was smiling. Every bite came with a sweet and delicious sensation. This was so far the best afang soup I have had as compared to the overcooked vegetable I had somewhere else.
My uncle enjoyed his meal so much that he ordered for Chinese fried rice as take away. But after a very long wait we were quite displeased to discover we were given Nigerian fried rice and the excuse was that the chef didn’t get the order correctly.
My thoughts and opinion is that convenience should be kept clean at all times. Improve on your services and avoid making customers wait long for their meals. If they weren’t hungry they wouldn’t have bothered coming in. Train your staff to pay attention and take down orders correctly instead of making one eat what he/she didn’t ask for. Remember the meal isn’t free.
From a scale of 0 to 10 Calabar Aroma is dancing etigi at a 6. Am hoping things improves and change. Lest I forget, Calabar Aroma is a 24 hour restaurant and as for my uncle, he became the cheerful and funny man that he is known to be and also left the next day……
Words by Aliyu Gidado