Gastrology recently attended the launch of polēpolē (pronounced ‘pol-eh-pol-eh’), the newly opened warm and spirited bar and kitchen on Little Collins Street.
Owned and operated by husband and wife team, Dean and Jeanelle Mariani, polēpolē is inspired by the couple’s extensive travels through East Africa. The vibrant energy of Sub-Saharan Africa peeks through in tasteful hints, from the flavoursome fare and cocktail menus, to the exotic décor and dynamic tunes.
A curated menu of signature cocktails offers guests the chance to try some unique and intriguing flavour combinations. We loved the two cocktails we sampled on the night (Ginger Lesson and Mzungu Martini). The Ginger lesson was a fiery cocktail made from gin, house-made ginger syrup, Montenegro and citrus. We loved the heat from the ginger which worked marvellously with the tangy citrus notes. The Mzungu martini on the other hand was an African style espresso martini. We loved the heady rum mixture.
We were also delighted by the distinctive selection of rare and imported African beers on offer.
The menu at polēpolē was constructed by Consulting chef, Andy Mac (Executive Chef at Axil Coffee Roasters) and features a selection of sweet, smoky and spicy dishes designed to share with friends, including Pork, almond and cinnamon cigar with lava salt and pomegranate molasses and Rum and raisin brownie mousse cake with vanilla brulee and chocolate soil.
Our favourite dish from the night was the Harissa lamb ribs. These were expertly prepared and had juicy, succulent flesh. The outstanding ribs were crusted with a flavoursome spice mix and served with delicious red pepper salsa and tahini yoghurt.
The term polēpolē is Swahili for “take it easy” - aptly so given the bar seeks to be a welcoming escape from the stresses of city life.