Africola is Australia’s most dynamic African-ish restaurant. Once exclusively devoted to the cuisine of chef and co-owner Duncan Welgemoed’s native South Africa, these days it’s a more of a freewheeling culinary journey through the continent, with the same swagger that made Africola such a ground-breaking proposition back when it opened in 2014.
The African diet is centred on vegetables and pulses with animal protein kept to a minimum, which is reflected on the menu here. Head chef Lauren Southwell gives equal treatment to hummus and spiced dahl as she does to the much-Instagrammed crispy chicken tea sandwich and the peri peri chicken served with Africola’s signature Mpumalanga Fire hot sauce.
There's an impressive selection of minimal intervention wines – most are local with a few international exceptions. There's also a tight list of three-ingredient, no-nonsense cocktails, and a good selection of booze-free options.
The interior is elegant and refreshing, with soft features in between bright clutter such as Coke bottles and coloured vinyl chairs. Designed by co-owner James Brown and company Mash Studios, the space is demure in comparison to its former vivid look, which was stripped following a kitchen fire in early 2016.
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