Nah Nah Bah – Burgers in Lagos
When we discovered that a bar in Lagos was allegedly “one of the 50 most amazing burger joints in the world,” it was only polite that Food and Wine Portugal went and checked it out!
The Algarve is disappointingly short on good burgers, which is a shame, as a decent burger is often just what you want after a warm day on the beach and swimming in the sea. Choices are usually limited to junk-food offerings–from McDonalds, Burger King, or the Portuguese Burger Ranch, or beach-front “dirty burgers,” where the low price isn’t enough to balance out the revulsion when you find a crunchy bit in the meat.
Up until now, good burgers in Portugal have only really been those we have made ourselves. So we were excited to check out Nah Nah Bah in Lagos.
Let’s start with the important bit. The burger itself. Well, it was certainly very good – stacked high and filled with cheese, pineapple, bacon, and all sorts of other things. The meat pattie seemed homemade and was cooked slightly pink, just as it should be. Served alongside were a home-made cross between chips and potato crisps, which were very tasty, if a tad stingy in serving size—and this is coming from someone who never finishes a portion of chips.
My wife strayed from the burger section of the menu and tried a “rasta pasta,” a prawn pasta dish with peppers in a curry-flavoured sauce. I can testify that it was very flavourful, as I
sampled it myself, but the wife did comment that it was slightly lacking in balance, with not enough in the way of prawns or peppers. What she said exactly was “when I order a prawn dish, I don’t like to have to cut each prawn in half so I don’t run out.”
So, with the burger box ticked, how was the rest of the Nah Nah Bah experience. Well……it must be said that it suffers a bit from “victim of own success” syndrome. Our waitress was polite, but with a visible lack of sincerity, and a request for an extra minute to choose from the menu was met with a raised eyebrow and a scowl.
This slightly cliquey atmosphere is seen the world over in places with a “trendy” reputation. Service was competent, but delivered by people who perhaps see themselves as just a little bit too cool and attractive to show much in the way of smiles and enthusiasm. A song by “The Streets” springs to mind: “you’re fit but, oh gosh, don’t you know it.”
The thing that really bothered us though, was that Nah Nah Bah seems to barely acknowledge the fact it is in Portugal, beyond an “obrigado” written on the tips jar. The menu outside the door is in English only, as are the cocktail menus on the tables. This is clearly not a problem to them, as they are doing a roaring trade amongst the “too-cool-to-smile” transatlantic travellers packing the tables. One day though, an exchange rate change may result in a drop in these kind of travellers to the area and the establishment may find itself wishing it had done a bit more to show respect to its host country.
All in all, Nah Nah Bah is a perfectly good place to find a very good burger. However, it takes more than a dated hip-hop CD, a surprisingly pedestrian cocktail menu and “witty” mentions of “jizz” on the food menu to create a cutting-edge establishment that I’m going to tell all my friends about. I may well be back for a burger though.