Contemporary Afro-fusion restaurant Asanka has swiftly become the most highly recommended culinary destination. The restaurant, situated in Rivonia, Johannesburg, offers delicious afro-fusion cuisine without the pretention. It is contemporary with hints of warm and vibrant traditions.
Some of the most delicious recipes from north, east and west Africa have been given an elegant twist by executive chef Rouget Bagley. “I’m always working to create nuanced flavours in the Asanka kitchen – the flavours of the menu constantly evolve and develop giving patrons new taste experiences each time they visit the restaurant,” he says.
The stunningly crafted winter menu offers aromatic African dishes with European and Asian flair. Take for example the Berbere lamb knuckle pansotti – the slow-cooked Berbere gets its vibrant flavour from the famous west African Harissa rub, which has been perfected in the Asanka kitchen, while the handmade melt-in-the-mouth pasta brings authentic Italy to the dish.
Multiple award-winning chef Rouget is renowned for bringing an Asian twist to his menus and at Asanka he combines eastern flavours with African dishes to absolute perfection. This couldn’t be more apparent than in his Pork loin with chili – a prime cut of pork is marinated with habanero chili, commonly used in west African cuisine, and fused with the Asian flavours of soya, ginger and hints of wasabi in the jus.
Since the restaurant’s doors opened earlier this year, Asanka has picked up a reputation for creating spectacular and original desserts like the Poached strawberries with pink peppercorn consommé and hibiscus jelly, which is dissolved for the umami factor.
The extensive selection of wines provides numerous pairing opportunities with the varied dishes. For patrons wanting to enjoy a few post-work drinks, Asanka’s bar offers a welcoming space to relax. Sip cocktails from comfortable couches on the bar’s spacious patio and wait the traffic out, or stay for dinner.
The eclectic yet elegant and modern décor lends itself beautifully to the exquisite Afro-fusion dining experience. The bold and textured shweshwe-inspired wall paper provides a stunning backdrop for the gold and orange retro furniture. The restaurant’s atmosphere is all at once sophisticated and luxurious but with grounded earthy tones and vibrant colours. The beautiful framed prints adorning the walls were all sourced from Kenya and reveal the diversity of cultures from around Africa.
While chef Rouget always strives to push the envelope with creative concepts, conjuring up Africa and the world beyond in every dish he plates, the front-of-house staff turns the overall dining experience at Asanka into a warm African welcome. “Our intention is to provide our patrons with an unforgettable time at our restaurant with great food and fun in a vibrant atmosphere. We want our customers to pop in for sundowners or relax and enjoy a meal before heading home from a busy day at work,” says front-of-house manager Spencer Luphahla.