Africola is the only place in Adelaide you can taste the mythical Mpumalanga Fire – a secret hot sauce brewed by chef and co-owner Duncan Welgemoed (former head chef at Bistro Dom). Most of the words used to describe his restaurant are swear words, followed by a superlative. The visuals follow suit.
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. The repairs gave the duo the opportunity to reinvent and change the focus from South Africa (where Welgemoed was born) to North Africa.
The North African diet is centred on vegetables and pulses with animal protein kept to a minimum, which is reflected in the menu. Choose a selection of share plates or have the kitchen decide and let the evening flow into an emulsion of punchy cocktails, charred vegetables and snacks of pickled turnip and baba ganoush.
Proteins include a spiced lamb Merguez sausage, and charred peri-peri chicken. There’s also grilled octopus, sardines and Goolwa pipis, to reflect the Mediterranean areas of North Africa.
There's an impressive selection of minimal intervention wines, chosen by Welgemoed. The list is kept local to SA, bar two, from his homeland of South Africa. There’s also a magnum from Chile, in case of a really special occasion.