>> Amandla | Eat the World NYC

19 February 2019



Rather quietly sometime in the middle of January, the section of Brooklyn that had lost its beloved South African restaurant Madiba just a year prior suddenly woke up to find another one open a few blocks east in Clinton Hill. Amandla gets its name from the days of apartheid in South Africa, where this word that means "power" was used by the resistance, and today still is employed in the ongoing struggle against oppression.

The mood inside this new space is less of struggle and more about chill. A mashup of textures and furniture are leftover from the previous bar that used to live here, while a bright new mural dedicated to South Africa has been commissioned for the front of the restaurant. During my first visit, the paint was literally still drying.

The comfortable bar (and tastefully worn bar stools) are holdovers from the last place and remain a nice choice to sit and enjoy drinks and a meal here. Draft beers for $8 are sometimes poured in pints and other times in 11 ounce glasses, while a few bottles and a decent wine selection are backed up by a full bar that seems to focus on agave-based spirits. There is still an oyster happy hour and oyster bar decor on the walls.

So far the vibe seems to be a relaxed neighborhood feel, although it appears that events will be common on weekends. Amandla is opening their doors to a lot of possibilities.

Ever since my first time being taken skiing as a child, I have been a big fan of bread bowls, and later in life was immediately taken by the first bunny chow I had the joy to eat. This Durban-style curry traditionally is served in a carved out loaf of white bread. Origin stories are still debated, but as can be guessed the large population of Indians in Durban had something to do with the evolution.

The lamb bunny chow ($24, above) can also simply be called "bunny" and is available in vegetable and chicken curries as well. A side of mango chutney can be added to bites as desired. Our version had terrific spicing and was very flavorful, but unfortunately the pieces of lamb were very dry. Much of what gravy does exist gets soaked into the bread, making these bites the true winners of the dish.

Bobotie is another well-known South African dish, usually prepared as a type of casserole with minced meat and egg. Here the chef offers a bobotie sandwich ($12, above and below), with curried ground beef and egg in a thin custard layer. The resulting sandwich is tasty and could be compared to a sloppy joe for people that have positive opinions of sloppy joes.

I had the pleasure of dining this second time with a man who has "Malva Pudding Expert" on his business card and who was super excited to skip straight to dessert. This South African favorite ($10, below) is a dense, sugar-filled dessert which has the texture of cake rather than pudding as it is known here. Taking a spoon to slice through the spongy cake will spring back the gooey insides.

The expert was a little underwhelmed, but it should be said the entire dessert was rapidly cleaned from the plate.

Amandla Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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