One of the world’s most luxe magazines, Robb Report, launched in Australia just a year ago but are already reporting on some of the most fabulous occurrences all around the country.
Most recently, they brought their annual Culinary Masters celebration to our sunny shores this year, with chefs Neil Perry, Peter Gilmore, Christine Manfield, Andrew McConnell, Philip Johnson and Duncan Welgemoed coming together to create one-off dining experiences around Australia.
It comes as no surprise that Duncan Welgemoed’s Africola played host to Adelaide’s evening of fine dining and luxury, with guests that evening being treated to a special menu created solely for Robb Report.
As we walked through Africola’s funky double doors, we were greeted with a choice of Pommery Champagne, Four Pillars Gin, Sesión Blanco or Sesión Reposado mixed with a selection of Capi sodas and citrus.
Once featuring a very meat-heavy dining experience, Africola has recently changed their offering to focus on the more complex flavours offered by experimenting with vegetables, breads, pickled goods and unique grilled and smoked meats.
Though it’s undoubtedly one of Adelaide’s top restaurants, we hadn’t had the privilege of dining with Africola yet and were keen to get started.
The meal started with some small morsels that were bursting with adventurous flavours. Lamb Salami was dense and packed with complimentary herbs and spices, the most notable being a hint of aniseed. House Made Pickles were the perfect companion for the De Bertoli La Bohéme Cuvée Blanc we were sipping on. The last little dish though was one that truly blew us away. Delicate sour cream and fish roe were placed atop a crispy, squid-ink infused nori cracker that was a beautiful balance of fresh and salty.
It’s an obvious rule that you should never fill yourself up on bread when out to dinner, but when the bread is this fresh and accompanied by a bowl of White Peas, Preserved Lemon and Chopped Egg, it’s pretty hard to restrain yourself. Next to the table came whole Smoked Sardines that we gently pulled the flesh from the bones using tiny movements with our fork; truly a tender dish. Pickled Bean Salad with Fried Curry Leaves finished off this course, leaving us nibbling away and draining the last of the De Bertoli Yarra Valle Section A5 Chardonnay from our glasses.
Africola’s famous Peri Peri Chicken has a reputation that precedes itself. Brined, then left to marinade before finally being grilled, this chicken is dripping with rich flavour. With this dish opening our main course, how could two vegetable dishes possibly compete?
Charred Celery, Kipflers, Walnut Paste and Cabbage Heart, Salted Plum didn’t give many hints on what to expect next. Out of every dish we’d experienced that night though, the cabbage heart was a clear winner. Swimming in a tangy, creamy sauce with some leaves crispy and some soft and chewy, this is another item that has earned its place on the regular Africola menu.
Finishing off the meal was a sweet and savoury Turkish Delight Parfait, paired with the De Bertoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon.
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Images: Meaghan Coles Photography