Eventually we felt like we needed a culinary change. I was risking to become “that Kelewele guy”, not that there’s any hope for Dupe to not be the Tilapia girl. A short brain storming later we were on our way to Monsoon on Oxford street in Accra. Sitting in the cozy restaurant on the upper floor of the building you notice nothing of the busy hustle on the street below. Actually on the evening we went the place was rather slow with only two other tables taken but we were curious as we were really hungry for Japanese food.
We opted for a fish cakes before sharing a mixed sushi plate, some tempura and a nice bottle of white wine to go along. What shall I say, we were positively surprised. After a bunch of total disasters (Bistro 22, we are looking at you! Bad food even worse service) it was a relieve to just have a great evening where everything works out as hoped for. And to top it off, their ice cream was dreamy and probably actually house-made compared to that FanIce bluff a week before.
This was probably the staff with the most advanced age (long way to say old) but they were probably in our top 3 of friendliest restaurant. Meals were arranged in a nice way instead of thrown on a plate like at some other places. It’s also a restaurant that exists comparatively long time as I’ve been told so I have high hopes for it still being open when we come back.
The Royal Senchi
Eventually it was time to head out of Accra again for a night to enjoy ourselves. The choice for our second trip fell on The Royal Senchi resort in Akosombo. This time we didn’t get lost in contrast to our trip to Ada so we made it in short time.
Fitting for a four star hotel, The Royal Senchi has a gym, WiFi and all those things you would expect but the focus for us was the pool! In my opinion the pool area was the nicest one out of all the hotels we visited and I could have spent days just relaxing on one of their comfy lounge chairs while sampling through the whole menu of cocktails and drinks. Who doesn’t like to melt in the heat with a nice Brandy Alexander to keep you nourished?
One of the points I enjoyed thoroughly was the amount of lizards crawling all over the place. Modupe wasn’t too fond of my interest in my little “friendos” but how could you resist those sleek thingies with their beautiful colors? I even jokingly threatened her that I want one as a pet which just earned me a certain look and more kissing of teeth.
You have the choice between sifting through a comprehensive buffet, which we did for lunch, or ordering à la carte, as we did for dinner. Options were good and the food was fresh. As usually I evaluated the desserts first to decide how much I can eat to leave enough space and I wasn’t disappointed, they had nice little sweet treats for different tastes. The buffet was set up both outside between the pool and bar area as well as inside in the air conditioned dining room, giving you free choice if you want to eat in the heat or not.
The à la carte menu was slightly limited but we still were easily able to pick something. This time the bad luck struck Dupsy with the tilapia she craved being sold out. At most places “sold out” probably meant just simply never stocked in a while but we can easily give them a pass on this, seeing how there was tilapia during lunch time. Service was again rather nice and accommodating, the food was ok but nothing special. I feel like The Royal Senchi could really improve on that point because it is the only thing we found slightly lacking.
Just like the Aqua Safari resort, The Royal Senchi lies on the banks of the Volta river and you have the option to spend some time overlooking it or even go on a boat ride (which we still didn’t do and even if we had we couldn’t mention it because Dupe’s mom had forbidden boat rides. Can’t end up like Castro, can we?). Another interesting option for a short trip out of the resort is to visit the Akosombo dam which is only distanced half an hour by car and even has tours or to go see the close by Adomi bridge.
I can’t really pinpoint why but for me The Royal Senchi was the hotel I enjoyed the most during our Ghana holidays. Maybe it’s because I’m such a pool rat?
The Republic – Bar & Grill & No Aircon
I was forewarned. Every second person I met asked me if Dupsy took me to her favorite place yet. Talk was of course of The Republic Bar & Grill in Osu. What started out as a “in the know” place grew to a heavily frequented staple in the Accra nightlife, very popular also with expats and tourists now.
On multiple occasions we made our way to The Republic, off Oxford Street just close to Frankie’s. They are well known fore their cane liquor cocktails but my personal favorite was their ginger beer. And let me tell you, you will need something refreshing that you can jug down. On every single visit the air conditioning inside was turned off and we never managed to get the staff to turn it on. Better sit outside if you can or at least dress in a rather airy way. One night we headed over after attending a wedding and let me tell you, it was too damn hot. 1 minute after arrival the tie came off, another 5 minutes for the jacket to drop and after maybe 10 minutes inside I had progressed to rolled up sleeves, 4 buttons open which I normally reserve as my “holidays in the Caribbean” look… only 1 button over my “summery Friday at work” look.
In addition to their signature drinks you can also get some finger food at The Republic. From naan bread over fried yam to chicken wings you can fulfill your drunken binge eating desires in a fitting way. As always, if things from the menu are actually available.
Peduase Valley Resort
Last on the list but first in Modupe’s choice was our trip to Peduase Valley Resort, located in Peduase close to Aburi, which is mainly know for the Peduase Presidential Lodge. That was three times Peduase in one sentence and I’m sorry. The Presidential Lodge was built as a retreat by Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, and still serves the government to host their guests.
Straight out of the gate we can say that this was the nicest and most spacious room. Just like at The Royal Senchi we got the possibility to enjoy a nice, hot bath which is really neat and a great pleasure even in the heat (or cold, if you mismanage the air conditioning). The room was the biggest out of the three hotels we stayed at and, just like the two before, came with a neat little balcony and this time great view onto the pool area.
Dupsy exploited the spa offering and was charmed, one of the best pedicures she ever received. The pool area is also really nice with an infinity pool style segment and comfortable sun chairs. After a little disaccord with the pool boy (which was hard to resolve because he was relying more on Pidgin than English), who insisted we need to pay for using the pool even though we’re hotel guests, we could enjoy a relaxed afternoon basking in the sun, drinking ice cold cocktails and calming our minds reading a good book.
The food offering at Peduase Valley Resort was another highlight. For dinner we opted to give their local buffet a try and were not disappointed. From jollof over kelewele to banku, multiple soups to fried fish and beef filet, there was an extensive choice on offer to satisfy any guest. Modupe even approved of their pepper. As usually the wine we picked wasn’t available but we got directly two other wines with comparable profiles as choice, by now also not really a surprise to me anymore.
After a good night of sleep we opted to have lunch at the hotel before heading home, trying the à la carte this time. Let me directly say that you will want to try the smoothie with mint, it was refreshing and nourishing. it was finally time to still my upcoming pizza cravings and, to my surprise, it was really rather good. All in all we were convinced by the meals offered at Peduase Valley Resort.
Considering the overall package of the stay, this is absolutely a place to come back to. By now we slightly regretted having spent a night at Aqua Safari instead of having a two night stay in either Peduase or Akosombo.
Between all the fancy stuff you sometimes spend too much money on, don’t we all get this craving for something simple but solid? In Osu there’s a jewel of restaurant that probably fits most people’s idea of “hole in the wall” place and it’s named Chez Clarisse. As the french name probably already makes you guess we’re not talking about Ghanaian food here but, surprise, Ivorian. Behold, the food in Côte d’Ivoire is not dramatically different than in many other West African countries but it is a nice option never the less.
Chez Clarisse is a rather rustic restaurant, instead of air conditioning there are fans so chose your table wisely. Don’t let that fool you, if you want a great meal you have come to the exactly right place! The menu goes right to the point of why you want to come; the grilled tilapia is hard to beat and the chicken kebabs will make your mouth water the instant you lay eyes on them. You get the choice of both complimentary red and green pepper, up to your tolerance to pick. The food is served in nice bowls and plates and you just feel welcome and at the right place.
Prices are super low so for once you won’t feel like you are getting ripped off for good food. It’s about what you get and not about how fancy the restaurant pretends to be, therefore Chez Clarisse made it to one of the top spots of places we went to eat out at. The food was savory with good portion sizes, just the right side of spicy and simply bliss inducing. This proofs once more that you don’t need menus thick as a book, fancy location or upscale decorations. Just make sure you come to a good time as the place will fill up quickly during lunch and dinner time.
Stuck in your head even when back
As with many holidays, we heard some amazing tunes during this trip. Can you relate to that feeling when a specific song directly associates with a moment in your memory? There were many of these! If you want to enjoy a bit of the vibe, listen in on the following songs and of course consider buying their music to support the artists! Songs are chosen by Pipo according to Ghana Xmas mood and how much they ran on the radio and parties. Don’t like them? Bad luck.
The clear king was Runtown with “Mad over you”. We overcame the upset of a Nigerian singer occupying waakye and shito within a heartbeat as we got fully hooked on this song. Things song made everything else a bit of an “also ran” situation. Listen loud and on repeat!
Not quite as new but still blowing up the radio was “Pana” by Tekno. This is the runner up of the hearts because I kinda like the video a lot, too. On the other hand I don’t see why he threatens the girl to drive around in his Porsche on these pothole streets!?
Third place was actually a struggle. Was it Patoranking with Sarkodie? Save bet would always be something by Mr. Eazi. After some discussing with Dupsy we both settled that we’d probably pick Maleek Berry. “Kontrol” is a catchy song and we heard it a lot but it was a lot harder to choose than the clear cut two before.
Just like our holidays, this little story from our Ghana trip comes to an end. We thought you might enjoy the outsider’s view instead of having our Ghana experienced Modupe write about the vacation. We left Accra with a smiling and a crying eye. Via Brussels we traveled back from 32°C into freezing -8°C and less than 24 hours deadline until the office life started again. On the other hand we cherish consistently paved roads.
Will we come back? You bet! When? We will see!