I had noticed a roof top sit out two weeks ago while on my routine jogging session. I related this newfound beauty to my friends and managed to get them to agree on a convenient time to check it out. Saturday evening was the time. The agreed evening came and we all gathered at Coco Café, Jabi.

Meeting at the parking lot, everything seemed normal with all jolly fellows exchanging pleasantries garnished with friendly shades (you know how it goes). Coco Café is flanked by Arewa hospital to its left and graced by a grandiose view of the body of the Jabi Lake water. We could see a pulchritude of lights flickering and this gave us a hunger for the elevator in a bid to get to the very business of the day – food and drinks. However, we were greeted by a faulty elevator which seemed to have failed and left nonfunctional for quite some time, so we had to make use of the stairs.

I noticed this place retained its full Christmas festoon in a way that seemed normal, but wait, something was out of place, it’s the month of February, I wondered to myself, as we made our way to find a suitable table. The aerial view was quite a beauty to behold and the ambience was remarkable, with natural cool breeze, good choice of music playing from mostly the 90s, dim lights and a fair number of members of different races caressing my pupils. One of us quickly placed an order for Shisha and drinks, and in a short while, drinks were served and accompanied by the food menu. We perused the somewhat restrictive menu and settled for Chicken Escalope (I know this as Chicken and Chips) and Greek salad which would take 15 minutes to serve as we were told by the waiter.

We all got engrossed in catching up on one another so much so that we hardly noticed 40 minutes had gone by with no sign of shisha or food. Still waiting and hoping the food was going to come soon, we reveled in the serenity and discussed quite a number of subjects; from politics, music, pop culture to the failing economy of our nation. An hour later, I called the attention of the waiter to the delay and he blamed the time lapse on the poor strength of only a chef who is overwhelmed with an avalanche of orders. This was unbelievably ridiculous! I wondered if the chef also handled Shisha orders and made good to communicate this bewilderment to the waiter.

Not to bore you, my friend’s Shisha came an hour and a few minutes later, and as for the food, it took slightly above 2 hours and at that time, we had lost appetite and could only hope for the best with the salads. Salads came looking appetizing but this was not to last, as I was quick to notice the watery dressing. I ignored all evident discouragements and plunged my cutlery in, but with every bite came more disappointments of unpleasant and unfamiliar sour tastes. This left me utterly disappointed and nonplussed. I tried to get out of my peptic scourge by conferring with my friends who further sunk me in more indigestion with their horrible faces borne from bad tastes.

At last, the Chicken escalope came on a wooden board with a bowl of fries, a serving of coleslaw, chicken and small portions of 3 dressings by the side. The chicken was okay and the fries crunchy as well. I enjoyed the side dressing which was a smooth blend of chili, tomato ketchup & sour cream.

After eating, we requested for our bill which took another long waiting period as though we had not been tortured enough. At this time, we thought it wise to call the attention of the manager who happened to be a foreign national. He gave his attention and we politely demanded an explanation for the present delay to which he gave the unsatisfactory excuse that “we had a huge bill which took time to collate”. This explanation came without an apology and we found his display of ineptitude, unseemly.

The bill came in a handwritten piece of paper, which was a decline from other printed standards within the Abuja metropolis. Again, this was shocking. In retrospect, Coco Café needs to step up to requisite standard, especially in timely service delivery, improve staff strength where necessary and desist from unwarranted self-defense as polite apologies could pacify unsatisfied customers better than orotund Un repentance . Conclusively, on a scale of 0 to 10, Coco Café sits comfortably at a 4; quite displeasing for a place with such a Relaxingly beautiful ambience and a prepossessing view.

Words by Aliyu Gidado

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