By Meg Hill
African-inspired CBD bar polépolé (meaning relax, slowdown and take it easy, in Swahili) presents a new two-level dining space wrapped in safari-style canvas: an exquisite full-service dining experience downstairs and a fun and energetic themed bar, Glamp, upstairs!
Behind the red door (located above Lorna Jane at 267 Little Collins St), is an inner-city African themed dining oasis decorated with beautiful African artworks throughout. Walk up to the next floor and you’re met by the stunning Glamp cocktail and function space, featuring two indoor tents similar to what one might experience on a real African safari.
Through extensive travels in Eastern Africa, owners Dean and Jeanelle Mariani fell in love with the vibrant cuisine and rich culture of Tanzania and Kenya, where the adoration was poured out on both the décor and curated dishes.
“The ethos behind polépolé was to blend our love of African flavours with Melbourne’s stylish food and wine culture – the result has been something incredibly unique in Melbourne’s thriving restaurant scene,” Dean said.
Mixing modern Australian cuisine and traditional African recipes and ingredients, guests at polépolé (pronounced pol-eh pol-eh) are instantly drawn to the exquisite flavours of each thoughtfully-crafted dish on the menu – hand-crafted from spices sourced around Australia and throughout Africa.
Head chef Felipe Bley has led the venue’s new chapter, evolving from a bar serving delicious, African-inspired snacks to the double offering it is today – with two lively and cohesive venues in one – offering everything from after-work drinks to unique restaurant dining and events.
Chef Felipe will be busy smoking many of his meats in-house, including the wildly popular smoked goat curry. With each dish designed for sharing, polépolé provides the perfect opportunity to take yourself on a culinary safari through the plains of East Africa, across the Nullabor and back to Little Collins!
By bringing a fusion experience, the polépolé team has been able to get creative and be inspired by places and ingredients.
For the more adventurous diners, polépolé also offers a rotating special menu featuring African-inspired game dishes scarcely available outside of the Serengeti.
Each week an exciting star dish graces the specials board – featuring unique ingredients such as fresh crocodile, roasted ostrich and char-grilled wild boar, to name a few.
The attention to detail doesn’t stop at the delicious food. Dean and Jeanelle have sourced 12 of the best native African beers to match the the menu, along with the crafty cocktail list.
To finish off the night right, diners can wander up to the wonderland venue Glamp Bar upstairs. The oasis of the city is the perfect spot for a post dinner cocktail or as simple as an after-work drinks. The Glamp Bar truly is like nothing else in Melbourne and is an experience not to be missed.
polépolé is open Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm to late.