Make like Rafiki, go to Afrika
One of the newest joints in Wellington, Afrika is officially a restaurant, but owner Barika Darboe says it has become so much more than that. It’s known to stay open until 2 or 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, where it turns into a very funky dance club. Barika happily refers to these evenings as “funky times” (I like this guy) and says it’s largely due to the live music they pump out every weekend.
It’s very refreshing to see this place is genuinely African. The interior and atmosphere is warm and cosy and is decorated with tribal masks, cave style paintings and colourful flags. Even though it’s not a live music night when I visit, traditional African music still pumps through the sound system making my seat vibrate slightly.
Now, let’s talk about the food, cos I know that’s what ya’ll really wanna read about. The food is from all over Africa, with a particular emphasis on the Gambia area. And let me just tell you, it is so-o-o-o-o-o good!
Not known for my efficient ordering skills, I really struggled with this one. What to get?! Spicy goat curry? Yassa chicken wings? Beef stew in a groundnut sauce? (What are groundnuts you ask? Not sure, but they taste kinda like peanuts).
In the end I settled on the lamb stew served with orgali. Orgali is sort of like polenta, it’s ground maize flour that has a texture similar to mashed potato, and it is awesome for soaking up delicious stew juices.
It was the sort of meal where you want to go straight home afterwards and get into your PJs to really luxuriate in that stuffed-full-of-good-food feeling, and I did do just that. But not before engaging in some of Afrika’s in-house entertainment… board games! There are shelves full of games and one whole table is a giant scrabble board that we had a good go on, before I put down a questionable word and “ruined it”.
All in all, a really superb place to hang out, listen to music, eat good, rich food and muck about with board games in a cosy, Lion King-esque environment. You might see me there next Saturday night, getting funky on the dance floor.