I took a guy I didn’t like there once. We got out of the Uber that took us from Double Four restaurant, where we had dinner – an overpriced Pasta dish soaked in melted Cheese for me and a safe meal of Fries and Chicken for him, and walked into our new location. Double Four had been a little too rigid, and the price range was clearly not meant to keep the young and restless within their walls for more than two hours at a stretch.
We walked into Food Shack at about 9pm and were immediately drawn to the enchanting lights that offered colourful illumination. The table was decorated only with a small intriguing flower pot with fake roses and the usual spices, but the moment my glass of Mojito and the food we ordered met the table, it transformed into a picturesque canvass worthy of a picture. Before that night ended, I had moved my verdict from “no way” to “what if?”
I found out about Food Shack with my friends. We had discovered this place on a Wednesday. At the time, Wednesdays meant discounts on certain drinks, making the location a constantly recurring name on our lips. My friends and I will sit on the wooden tables and chairs and order for plates and bottles. Then we will rotate with other folks on who connected to the Bluetooth speakers and decide what song worked for the atmosphere.
During the day, Food Shack could pass as an interior decoration outfit – or a simple take-out restaurant at the very least. This is because it is nestled in a luxury furniture shop in the heart of Victoria Island. However, at night, it awakens into a cozy outdoor / indoor bar where friends or lovers come together to connect to the speakers to dance, eat Chicken wings, or drink beer.
Because of how affordable and calming the place is on whatever day of the week, it is one of the first few places I share with my friends or Instagram followers when they ask for places to go for a calm Lagos night out. It was also the first place I mentioned to an ex-boyfriend of mine who had a certain lady friend of his based in Europe that he wanted to take out on an affordable but memorable ‘date.’
According to him, they had been chatting for a while. Even though she was five years older than he was, there was a bond they shared which made them great friends. Now, even though this boyfriend of mine had mentioned her name as part of a long list of girls he believed had a thing for him, I didn’t panic. I had learnt very early with humans that a person who wants to stay will stay. However, trying to hold an individual who had his or her eyes on the fish market was as futile as catching a cloud and pinning it down.
If for anything, I basked in the façade of pure honesty it offered. The acceptance of our individual flaws and longings, as well as the communal dysfunction we shared. However, more often than not, shit hit the fan faster than I’d expect because chaos can never be mistaken for normalcy.
“Take her to Food Shack. The vibe is good, you can control the music, and you don’t get to spend too much.”
He laughed at the weirdness of it all: asking his girlfriend where to take another woman. In turn, I didn’t mind the false perception that I was indeed a woman who had little care for jealousy.
History has it that their date at Food Shack was so good, they saw stars in each other’s eyes and fell in love – or an infatuation I could never contend with. The ambience was so calming – blue and red lights dancing in a cosmic display and providing lucid warmth in contrast with the cool Lagos night breeze – that time passed and they ended up in each other’s arms.
Now every time I visit Food Shack, I remember a love that was thankfully lost.
Strange things happen in Lagos but therein lies the beauty. May our stories live forever and may we find peace and laughter in turmoil, bending bullets and arrows into beautiful love letters.