Should you ever find yourself in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State in Nigeria, I can recommend a Chinese restaurant there which is well worth not going to. Should you have a craving for Chinese food (like I did), don’t go to the Sweet Tomatoes restaurant on Azikoro Road – go instead to a supermarket, buy a bottle of soy sauce, and take it to either the Creek Motel or the Mona Lisa Hotel, where you can enjoy the buffet. Sprinkle the soy sauce on your food and hey presto! It’s Chinese!
The wonderfully-named Sweet Tomatoes used to be the Royal Chinese Restaurant, run by Chinese people, who have left, the name was changed, and everything went to pot. We expected as much when, after taking our order, the guy gets on the phone and we hear “you’ve got to get back here, we’ve got customers”.
Twice the staff confirmed that everything on the menu was available, but of course when I ordered the prawns, they had none. So I ordered the fish, which looked suspiciously like shredded beef when it arrived. The waiter was unable to confirm what it was, after all, he’s only the guy that carries the food from the counter to the table.
Did I tell you about the décor? There wasn’t any, it was a black hole as far as ambience was concerned.
The manager (no, sorry, that’s far too official-sounding, let’s call him…….oh, I don’t know, the guy that……well, the guy that didn’t know what was available, didn’t listen when we ordered, and didn’t offer any drinks….what’s the word? Nope, it’s gone). So, this guy in a green tee shirt told me I had ordered the shredded beef. To a chorus of “no he didn’t” from my ever-supportive companion, I asked green-tee-shirt-man which bit of the order “stir-fried fish with ginger and spring onions” sounded like “shredded beef”. Take this away, I commanded, and bring me what I ordered. Green-tee-shirt-man gets on the phone, and then comes up with the startling news that they had no fish.
When I asked for the bill he brought back the shredded beef, now stone cold. Well “bill starts with a “B”, and beef starts with a “B”……
The beer was warm, the glass was cracked, - oh, what’s the point? Just don’t go there, OK? And don’t forget my TTT (Trevor’s Travellers’ Tip) about the soy sauce.
Happy Travels! Trevor