4 East Terrace, Adelaide

Award winning South African dining in the heart of Adelaide

Fire, smoke and ash. Powerful flavours. Pumping music. Energy and excitement. Africola is quirky, unlike anything South Australia has ever seen.

Owners, Duncan Welgemoed and James Brown, have brought the magic and amazing food of northern Africa to Adelaide’s trendy east end. James, a renowned designer from Mash Design, revamped the space last year into a more contemporary version of a ‘shebeen’ – an African inspired bar and eating-house that is bold, colourful, vibrant and unique.

Duncan, the Executive Chef, brings the spirit of Africa to the partnership. The son of a chef, he was born and raised in South Africa, mostly around Johannesburg and Mpumalanga. Moving to the UK at the age of 17, he spent his formative years working in world-class restaurants alongside big names like Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay.

Since moving from Europe to Adelaide in 2010, Duncan has watched the city evolve into a culinary hotspot, supplied by top quality local food producers. When opening Africola in 2014, Duncan was paying homage to his late father and his childhood home. It’s the first venue Duncan has owned and operated, giving him the freedom to express his South African heritage and the melting pot of food in his native land.

The name of the restaurant was inspired by 1974 ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, an historic fight between undefeated world heavyweight boxing champion, George Foreman, and challenger, Muhammad Ali in Zaire. A key sponsor of the fight was the German-owned Afri-Cola, a popular drink that is still sold across middle and southern Africa.

As a South African, Duncan is right at home cooking with fire and ash and carving with axes and machetes. He describes himself as “militantly seasonal” – produce is always local and often foraged nearby. Growing up slaughtering meat to eat, Duncan is very particular about the animals he uses.

The Africola menu is designed to share, allowing diners to try more dishes. Dinner might begin by snacking on their much-instagrammed Tea Sandwich with soft white bread, crispy chicken skin, chilli and hot chicken dripping.

From here, making your selections from the sea, vegetable and meat menus is quite a challenge. All the meats are hard to ignore, cooked over the fire and infused with all that delicious smokiness. However, the Boom Chakalaka (a fiery vegetable relish) has become somewhat of a speciality, Duncan’s Mpumalanga fire sauce, made with his mother’s secret recipe that only he knows, it simply cannot be missed.

With so many mouthwatering dishes, the ‘Feed Me’ menu is a great option. Let the kitchen do the hard yards and choose for you. The drinks list, surfing across both South African and artisan South Australian wines, includes Africola’s very own draft beer, Mafuta, and some signature cocktails. Take a seat at the showpiece bar or settle into dining booths and watch the theatre of the restaurant unfold.

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