My Rating: 4.2/5
Family Friendly: Yes (but tight for pushchairs/wheelchairs)
Address: 355 Ladypool Road, Sparkbrook, Birmingham. B12 8LA (Next door to Sweet, opposite Chaiwalla)
Parking: None- limited on street parking. Ladypool road is busy, plan to park and walk.
Payment: Cash and Cards accepted
I went to Afrikana’s opening night having won their Instagram competition to win a complimentary meal for two. I must stress although I didn’t pay for the meal this is an unbiased review and in no way influenced by Afrikana or anyone who works there.
Afrikana is a restaurant offering a Afro-Caribbean cuisine with an emphasis on chicken, peri peri chicken to be exact. Already established franchises can be found in Walsall and Shrewsbury. It’s located on what is now (finally!) the one way section of Ladypool Road, for many of you familiar with the area it’s near Truburger, Toros and Fargos. Head that way, park considerately on a side street and enjoy the stroll to the restaurant.
As we approached on the restaurant we could hear the live band playing outside the restaurant, a nice touch for opening night. We were greeted by a couple of members of staff and we were taken to a table for 2 deep inside the restaurant. Our seating was cramped and for me it was way too close to the couple to my left, my husband’s seat was squashed in as there was someone right behind him. The worst was the table, what is worse in a newly opened restaurant than a wobbly table?
I mentioned this to Muhammad, our waiter who had introduced himself, and he spoke to a manager and we were grateful to be moved straight to a booth. Much more comfortable, much more spacious. Fantastic.
Menus in hand we started to make our choices from the provided selection, settling on the lamb chops and tiger prawns to start with. To me the starter section seemed fairly generic, although they had an Afrikana twist in terms of sauces and flavours, but I was expecting more specific unique starters than those presented. In fact I was surprised not to find Mogo chips on the extras menu, you’ve got multiple types of fries but no Mogo chips! Yikes.
The tiger prawns were served with salad and a mayonnaise based sauce, they were really succulently juicy and smothered in a sauce containing sliced peppers. I was happy the prawns weren’t dried out as they often are, these were fantastic.
Tiger Prawn starter
The lamb chops were great and cooked as medium, a single starter consisted of 4 chops served on a (rather large) bed of salad leaves. Combined with the provided Afrikana sauce this was a good starter.
Lamb Chops starter
There was quite a selection to choose from for mains – from chicken, burgers & wraps, speciality range, sharing meals and even a good variety of vegetarian meals to choose from. We couldn’t decide what to chose and eventually ended choosing what we normally wouldn’t have. Although we loved what we had chosen, I wish I had chosen chicken instead! I could see into the kitchen as all meals were coming out to be served and the chicken platters looked absolutely amazing! I’ll have to visit again soon to try one.
I had the chilli with rice as my main – as you can see in the picture it was served in a rounded pot on a large plate together with some yoghurt and some flat bread. I did ask if you should eat from the pot or empty it out onto your plate and I was told either way is perfectly fine. If you do keep it in the pot it will definitely stay warmer for longer.
I liked the chilli a lot as it’s not something I find on menus very often and it was a joy to eat, the taste was consistent and the spices were balanced very well.
We Goat your back
A deliciously slow cooked, fall off the bone goat curry with Afrikana rice served with a side salad, olives and flat bread. Although it doesn’t seem like a lot of rice and meat is provided it works like a black hole, the deeper you go the more there seems to be. The meat was flavoured with Afrikana sauce and it was in chunky pieces, piping hot below the surface and was easy to bite into without much effort. The rice was again Afrikana style and was quite peppery in taste but went well with the meat.
We goat your back
None on offer. Plenty of dessert options at Sweet next door, you’ve also got Icestone Gelato and Heavenly Desserts literally 1 minute away.
Surprisingly just bottomless soft drinks available, nothing else on offer. This might be because we were there at opening night so the drinks situation may change over time. Tap water served.
There is disabled access from the street but seemingly no separate disabled toilet. It is cramped inside with booths and tables/chairs in close proximity so a wheelchair user may have issues manoeuvring in.
There are a large number of booths which can probably sit a maximum of 5 comfortably and an area towards the back right side with tables and chairs. The chairs are very comfortable, the kind you can sit in for many hours.
There’s a single toilet for males and a single one for females. That’s it. No other facilities.
The venue plays themed music over a sound system and it is quite loud, it was sometimes difficult to heat each other.
My 4.2 rating for Afriakana is based mainly on 3 criteria, but I factor in additional observances such as cleanliness, location etc.