jiko-animal kingdom

had my birthday dinner on Saturday night at Jiko at the Disney Animal Kingdom Resort.  We headed over a little early to take a look around.  As with most Disney resorts there is lots to see and the Animal Kingdom Lodge is not the exception.  They have thoughtfully laid the resort out around a fringe of the ‘savanna’ at the edge of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve.  Animals (the grazing non-eating each other varieties) roam somewhat freely within feet of the hotel adding ambiance and to the fascination.  Fire pit, chairs and a giant pool-oasis in the desert (or swamp in this case).  There are African artifacts sprinkled in cases throughout the lounge including masks from quite a few countries.

The deep scents of spices fill the public space calling you to eat.  We chose Jiko for it’s African inspired dishes.  They have an extensive South African wine list and the decor is intereting with a lighting system running from sunrise to sunset every half hour and lighting masquerading as birds hanging from the low ceilings and off of the walls.  Looking out at a watery streamlet in a shady grove it feels like an oasis.

Everything we ate was heavily spiced with peri-peri, sambal and chutney.  Z started with roasted wild boar with mealie pap, truffle oil and micro cilantro and I chose a taste of Africa including four dips each distinctly flavor and textured.  For supper I had the vegetarian option of bunny chow curried vegetables in a perfectly round na’an pocket with lentil and chickpea felafel with sauteed spinach and yoghurt sauce and Z a Peri-Peri chicken with herb roasted potato, mango sambal and onion jus.  We passed on dessert but they brought us a light mousse cake for my birthday and two Madagascar chocolate cookies that were the perfect last bite.  Everything was deeply flavored and as vibrant as an African sunset – at least the ones I imagine.

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