Visitors to Lagos’s buzzing old town, who crave something different from the usual Algarve offering of fresh fish served with veg that evokes memories of primary school (over-boiled spuds, dissolved broccoli), are in for a treat. A top-notch gourmet burger, or maybe a pulled-pork taco, might hit the spot like never before. Such treats are nothing new in big cities, of course, but when Selmo and Abigail Ribeiro started up Nah Nah Bah in Lagos in 2005 – while they were still in their early 20s – such fare was a radical departure in these parts.
Vibrant plates of food – superb burgers zinging with jalapeño, lime juice and a riot of other bright flavours – are accompanied by an upbeat, selective soundtrack: Selmo’s personal choice of funk (Renegades Of Jazz), reggae (Black Uhuru) and hip hop (Mace) playlists. Fans of melancholy Portuguese fado music may quail, but upbeat music and food are invigorating after a day in the surf. Meanwhile, the chips, hand cut, lightly fried and tossed in garlic aioli and herbs, were so good I laughed.
Selmo hovers around – part-chef, part-waiter, part-DJ, part-PR man. He’s got a hostel, too: the, ahem, Rising Cock that seems to be pulling in a young, surfy, quite often Aussie crowd. But if he was thinking Nah Nah Bah would attract only the bronzed and youthful, he was wrong – I was there, for starters, and Carole King, too (well, the dim lighting had played tricks with my eyes as it turned out).
The yellow-and-green decor matches the ethos: tropical and energised. There’s no outdoor seating so everyone crams together inside. Maximum use is made of the space: the open kitchen, with its chefs working in a blur of motion and flame, is part of the experience. The place is loud but young kids seem fine with it, while their parents play “name that tune”.
Travel website Matador Network lists Nah Nah Bah as one of its 50 “most amazing burger joints in the world”. Do believe the hype.