Smoke, flame and ash from a fire pit will inform the modern South African-themed menu at Adelaide newcomer Africola. Chef Duncan Welgemoed has drawn on his heritage to create "a serious eating house and shebeen", while his business partner, radical designer James Brown of graphic design studio Mash, has conjured a bold look embracing an informal party vibe.
Welgemoed (who also runs Bistro Dom) has embraced cherished South African favourites cooked by his chef father and mother, as well as culinary influences from South Africa's myriad cultures: Portuguese, Indian, Malaysian, Dutch and several African tribes. "This is food I have cooked my entire life for my family," Welgemoed says. "To do this in a restaurant is something I've been yearning for."
The large fire pit in Africola's kitchen will produce everything from boerewors, the spiral sausage, and potjie to spiced, spit-roasted kid basted in goat's milk. However, Welgemoed is tipping the peri peri chicken, a Johannesburg signature, to be the most popular item thanks to a potent chilli sauce he calls Mpumalanga fire, a Welgemoed family recipe.
The list of South African and artisan South Australian wines is rounded out by Africola's own draft beer called Mafuta. "We're running with a vibe that turned into a concept that's not a rehash," says Welgemoed enthusiastically. "It's going to be out there." Hear hear.
Africola, 4 East Tce, Adelaide, SA, 08 8223 3885.