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Orela: An Upscale Restaurant In Town


Orela: An Upscale Restaurant In Town


Orela2On the busy Awolowo Road, Ikoyi sits a tall yellow coloured building. Visible on its wall is the sign: Flower Stalk but beyond the flower shop is a newly opened Ethiopian restaurant.

The ambience is euphoric as the aroma of Ethiopian herbs and coffee filled the air. It’s just the right setting to have an Ethiopian cuisine of ‘Injera’ with sauce and a chill glass of cocktail drink. ‘Injera’ is the Ethiopian staple bread. All you need do is, tear of pieces of ‘Injera’, dip it into the sauce and scoop a mouthful. Injera is unique to Ethiopia, from its distinct taste and main ingredient the Teff cereal.

Orela restaurant is the brainchild of Alero Okoti-Eboh Jadesinmi who was encouraged to open the restaurant  after many interactions with her Ethiopians business associates. “I do business with  Ethiopians,” she tells me. “I discover that they have this traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony which I admire a lot. I also discover that coffee also comes from Ethiopia called ‘Kaffa’ and that is where coffee came from. And I felt that it was not celebrated enough or made known enough. I believe people should celebrate Africa. People think of Brazil and everywhere also except Africa and I felt I want to promote and celebrate something African.”

Orela is indeed an upscale restaurant for those who can afford the bills with its A-class bar and tasty gourmet dishes in a stylish ambience. Daily, Orela an pure, traditional Ethiopian ‘coffee ceremony’ while on Sundays, you can walk in for a full course Ethiopian meal and other African dishes. The attraction, is the tasty meal and the comforting allure of a serene environment. This culminates into an unforgettable experience with quality live music performance from a Jazz ensemble, the Groovy Jazz Movement, which features first Saturdays of every month.

“We are also a grill house. We will be serving grill steak and chicken with baked potatoes, French fries,” adds Jadesinmi.” There are little snacks like sandwiches, salads, cold and hot drinks. We have a wonderful bar. At the bar we have wonderful cocktail and the usual sprits. We have a good barman who can make you wonderful mixes of drinks. It’s refreshing.

Even to a first visitor, Orela surely registers as just the perfect cosy spot for true Jazz-loving, matured singles and couples with a palate for tasteful gourmet. “It is not just for Ethiopians,” she explains further. “It is for everybody. We have a lot of Chinese and Italian, Indian restaurants so why not Ethiopian. Apart from the coffee, there is what they call ‘Injera’, it is like their bread and you can eat it with different sauces and vegetables. It is very tasty. One of the sauces is quite similar to our own stew except that they use different herbs from what we use. I ate and like it. I believe Nigerians will also appreciate it.”

While at Orela, you can be sure to be served by Ethiopian waiters and waitresses who do not only live what they serve but also understand the intricacies of serving the food in the right way.

Jadesinmi is not just a restaurant owner, she is also the initiator on an NGO called Youth Business Initiative of Nigeria. “We give loans to young people who have good business ideas but they cannot go to the bank to get a loan. They come to us, we access them, and give them not just a loan but a mentor to guide, mentor them and help them through the difficulties of running a business. Most of them will be running their businesses for the first time. They need to be guided and they will pay their loans as they go along. Also they need to be employers of labour.”

Be that as it may, Orela is a great place to be this weekend and in the words of Jadesinmi, “anybody can walk into Orela to have a drink.”  So why not walk in and have a drink?

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