NOSA: I tried going vegetarian once.
Not in Lagos, obviously.
The attempt lasted about a week or perhaps less. By the end of the week, I was lying to myself that chili with a little beef in it wasn’t really cheating.
FOLLY: I’ve always felt I could be a vegeterian or at least a pesceterian. Red meat or chicken is not my favorite thing in the world, actually chicken is my least favorite thing especially when I think of the birds and feathers – I’m scared of both.
NOSA: If going vegetarian in America was hard, I imagine it’s infinitely harder to do in Lagos. And I’m not even talking going hardcore with it like the vegans do. Just doing the vanilla stuff must be an arduous task. Restaurants in Lagos only offer one, or maybe two, vegetarian options.
FOLLY: And rarely vegan options.
NOSA: That’s if they offer any at all. Before Thrive opened shop, Lagos had only one restaurant with a fully vegetarian menu – Veggie Victory (Freedom Park).
For the limited real estate Thrive is working with, it’s actually quite well put together. From the turf to the vegan propaganda, it’s peak alté. Not even the poser counter-culture alté that we see these days.
NOSA: To start, we ordered the Mushroom Suya.
It’ll sound like I’m stating the obvious here, but the mushrooms were real mushroom-y. Like, I’ve had the Bang Bang Mushrooms at Izanagi and I don’t think they were this mushroom-y.
FOLLY: I think there’s a specific type of mushroom that Thrive uses as permitted by Dr.Sebi’s guidelines . The book is the foundation of Thrive’s menu.
NOSA: At Thrive, there is a particular emphasis on paying attention to what goes in your body. The Mushroom Suya is seasoned, but with none of the stuff that’s bad for you.
FOLLY: I’d have preferred if the mushrooms were sauteed (and allowed to sweat a bit) because they were pretty dry and I think that was a result of the quantity and type of oil used – if I remember correctly it’s grapeseed
NOSA: The Stir Fry Quinoa was lovely, but I couldn’t stop myself from thinking how much lovelier it would be with shrimp. I think this where I struggle with vegetarian plates. They always feel so incomplete, but that is not an indictment on the plates. This one is all me. As a child in Nigeria, you are made to believe that your chicken/meat/whatever is your reward for getting through your plate, but with vegetarian plates, there’s no final reward. It’s the ultimate mindfuck for me.
FOLLY: I agree with Nosa on this one, the quinoa was great and I wasn’t even fussed by the absence of meat – was pretty tasty. I think lemon is banned by Dr. Sebi, but if it wasn’t but a little squeeze would have improved this a bit.
NOSA: The Shawarma, too, was great, but I kept thinking about putting chicken in it. This might sound like me bashing Thrive, but I am not. I’m serious. The food is actually really good.
FOLLY: I disagree with Nosa on this. I binned most of the wrap actually. I found the texture of the soy free tofu very uncomfortable.
NOSA: If you’re vegetarian, you’ll absolutely love it, but if this is your intro to a vegetarian menu, you’ll struggle mightily. Thrive is unabashedly about the vegan life and it makes no pretense. There’s no entry level plate for the meat eaters. It doesn’t attempt to be accessible and rightfully so. Thrive is a restaurant for vegans and not the crowd that wants to give “this vegetarian thing” a shot because they ate too much on holiday.
FOLLY: Aka not for Folly.
NOSA: I might not be back because it clearly isn’t for me
FOLLY: Or me.
NOSA: However,Thrive is excellent for what it is and what it tries to achieve.
Shawarma – N2000
Quinoa Stir Fry – N1500
Mushroom Suya – N1000
Doesn’t really exist. You’re meant to take-out by design