Bole is a local Nigerian dish usually prepared and sold on the roadside across various streets and parks in the South-West and South-South, the two main regions of the Country where this meal is cherished. In the south-west, where it is actually called ‘boli’, the meal simply comprises of roasted unripe plantain which is usually munched with groundnuts.
However, ‘bole’, as it is called down south in Port Harcourt and environs, is prepared quite differently in this region and it is unarguably one of the most sought after meals. Here, it comprises of either ripe or unripe plantain, roasted of course, and accompanied by a special sauce which is a mixture of red palm oil, fresh pepper, tomatoes, onion, and other spices. All of these is then served with roasted fish, and lovers of the meal can either choose the tail of the fish, head, or the middle area.
This popular roadside meal attracts all and sundry; both the classy and the everyday commuters; male and female; those dressed in suit are seen cursorily adjusting their ties to devour the meal; it is unbelievable the way even revered members of society are seen licking their fingers after the sumptuous delicacy.
The ‘bole moment’ seems to be that in which every other thing is temporarily put on hold, people don’t want to be bothered by anything while relishing that meal they cherish so much. Even visitors to Port Harcourt are caught in the web, they don’t just want to leave the city without personally having their own memorable bole moment!
Evidently, bole has become such a remarkable food brand, and it recently caught the attention of two daring entrepreneurs. As it is with most business ventures, Etinosa Omoriege and Peter Banigo noticed certain lapses in the preparation and service delivery of ‘bole’. Based on that, they decided to delve into the business themselves to effect the necessary solutions they envisioned.
After thorough paper work, with the needed start-up capital being provided by an investor, Etinosa and Peter formally launched their outlet ‘Boleking’ on the 15th of November 2014. ‘Boleking’ is an african themed roadside restaurant that offers a new experience around the cherished meal of ‘bole’. Boleking offers more items on its menu list beyond what you can find at the traditional bole ‘joints’.
On the menu are items like roasted plantain, potatoes, and yam alongside roasted fish and chicken plus a variety of sauces to choose from. Traditionally, bole comes with only one sauce and it has never been offered with roasted chicken. This is completely a whole new bole experience! Also on the menu list are items such as palm wine, natural fruit drinks, ugba sauce [fermented African Oil Bean Seed], and ‘stuffed bole’ – roasted plantain is stuffed with pieces of spiced fish, chicken, vegetables, etc – just think of it as plantain burger and you’ll get the concept!
On why they chose to venture into such a roadside business, the Founder, Etinosa says “one of the reasons we founded Bole King was hygiene; the average roadside Bole seller does not think of hygiene as important. For them, making money is of priority. So flies, dust, etc is not an issue. Bole king has dealt with the issue of hygiene with her clean and comfortable outlet that blends soft music with courteous waiters to satisfy the cravings of customers.”
“Bole king aims at making Bole a world class delicacy. Just as Sharwama [a Middle Eastern delicacy] and Pizza [an Italian food] are relished in virtually every part of the world, we want bole as a Nigerian delicacy to go beyond the boundaries of the south-south region and even Nigeria as a country to other African Countries and the world at large” Etinosa said.
Although Boleking is just about seven months old, it is fast becoming a household name. Residents, Visitors and even Foreigners in Port Harcourt visit the restaurant to experience the bole moment. The Co-Founder, Peter, with a bright smile remarked thus; “even Russians have been to the outlet and enjoyed the meal”.
Located in the heart of Port Harcourt, precisely within D/Line axis, the Boleking building has a traditional thatch hut look from outside but with vintage african furnishing inside. Unlike the traditional Bole joints which are situated under large umbrellas or parasols, Boleking is a restaurant with its own unique structure that creates a cozy ambience for customers to be served their meals.
They cater for outdoor events like weddings, birthdays, housewarmings, child dedications etc. They also deliver to homes, offices, anywhere. Making it easy for customers to still get the Bole King experience even from the comfort of their homes and offices.
Bole king can be described as a daring business that came out of an already existing venture, and yet they are making waves. It has given an African delicacy an appearance that can be acceptable in any part of the world.
As an up-to-date restaurant, Bole King takes customer service very personal and has an existing website [www.boleking.com] where customers can place orders for delivery, view Menu, Pricelist, Opening hours, among other things.
There is also an interactive Facebook Page where customers from around the world make enquiries and get prompt responses. You can visit Bole King at 10 Omoku Street, D/Line, Port Harcourt. You could also reach them via 07089830730 or 08179670902.