Cafe Vergnano 1882: Hypothermia in the Tropics

Cafe Vergnano. I need a moment to recollect my thoughts. Yes, such were the indignities bestowed upon me by this Lagosian establishment that claims to have begun in 1882. Lies! There may be a Cafe Vergnano somewhere in the world that began in 1882 but it is not this one. This one, the one in the Palms shopping mall in Lekki, Lagos is a glorified tea shed. Should anyone ever suggest that you grace the foul establishment with your presence you must decline and proceed to dissuade them from visiting. It is the decent thing to do. You're probably wondering why I, Afam have fallen out of love with Cafe Vergnano and if you aren't then you should be.

I had been to Cafe Vergnano about twice before this unfortunate visit, and I thought it the pinnacle of Lagosian sophistication. It was clean and quiet and the service, sharp. The Cafe I went to a few days ago was nearly unrecognizable. I was attracted to the cafe by the sight of some succulent cakes on display. My mouth watered, I knew then that the internal debate about whether or not I should load my body with several useless calories was lost. I was already making false promises to the pot belly that I would obliterate the damage done by doing an hour on the treadmill the following day, LIES!! The slice of cake that caught my eye was a chocolate one. It looked like perfection. The icing looked wet and the cake, moist. It also had a slab of white chocolate on it's head. I had to have it and no price or good sense could deter me. The cake was a little expensive at 1000 naira, but I believed that this was an infinitesimally small price to pay for the chocolatey goodness that awaited my belly.

I should have known then that I would not enjoy the cake as much as I had imagined because what cake could live up to such high expectations. I had set myself up to fail. The cake I received was far from the cake of my dreams. The satisfaction I derived from chopping it (That's what I did, I chopped that damn cake) could not even provide the thinnest cushion to shield me from the battery of my conscience for indulging myself. The cake was mediocre and dry, but this in itself is infinitely better than a bad slice of cake, so I didn't mind too much.

While I munched on the cake, I ordered a Virgin Mary (we detox just to retox). I finished eating my cake but the Virgin Mary remained elusive. I played a couple of rounds of words with friends, but my Virgin Mary was still on holiday.

Yes mocktails go on holiday too. That's where they are when they're not on the table in front of you.

.After a little while, (about 45 minutes) the waitress came back to tell me that this very reputable establishment lacked the ingredients to make a Virgin Mary. These things happen. I went on to order a Milkshake. Once again the waitress sauntered up to the bar and disappeared for some time. She returned after 20 minutes to tell me that they couldn't do Milkshakes, or Frappes. You're probably thinking- because I was too, what sort of cafe calls itself a cafe and cannot make a milkshake or a frappe. I thought that this was a defining quality of cafes but obviously I was wrong.

By this time I had been sitting for an hour with nothing to entertain me but Words With Friends. Starmix was fighting her impending defeat most fiercely. Why can't the vanquished just stay vanquished. There's really no need to rise again and battle. I decided to try my hand once more, at the gamble that was the Cafe Vergnano menu. This time, I went for the safest bet, a pot of tea. This came speedily, but the magic was lost.

It's the acute realization that there is no more fun to be had in a particular venue. This is when your thoughts involuntarily swivel to the circumstances regarding your departure. I should have known that leaving would not be an easy feat. I had to wait another 45 minutes for my bill and no less than 20 minutes for my change. I said to the waitress who had served me, "I hope you know that your service leaves a lot to be desired." To this she replied, "Pardon?" I tried again, "Your service is truly horrendous." This time she got the right end of the stick and said, "I know sir. I'm sorry" It was a useless apology because try as I might, I will never reclaim those two hours I spent waiting for one thing or the other in that tea shed.

I would have awarded them a full star for their air conditioning but even that had a comma. When attempting to cool the living, you need not go above and beyond the call of duty. That is precisely how people get hypothermia in the tropics.

For doing the mostest to spoil my evening I award Cafe Vergnano half a star. For an accurate definition of mostest please travel to The Saga of the Mostest.

Happy Days,

No comments:

About Us