The Mystery Diner is a new series of independent restaurant reviews appearing fortnightly.

Amanzi - the Zulu word for water - really is an African oasis in the middle of Falmouth.

Rustic is an oft-overused word when describing restaurants, but it sums up this little gem perfectly.

Bedecked in wood with some corrugated sheets adding a shanty flavour, the attention to detail is splendid - we even had a porcelain zebra for a pepper mill.

We were greeted with a very cheerful welcome from the owner and immediately felt comfortable, despite the lack of other customers.

It could have been a bit like sharing a park bench with a stranger, but instead we were struck by her friendly face and warm manner.

I opted for a South African sausage served on a bed of chakalaka and sadza chips.

The sausage was very lean and had a lovely nutty quality, while the chakalaka - spiced vegetables to you and I - was essentially a samosa without the shell.

The sazda chips (made from maize) had the winning combination of crunchy-on-the-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside. A marvellous start.

While I devoured my sausage, my partner nibbled on some homemade biltong - indeed, the owner told us they imported a curing machine from South Africa.

Main course was a new experience for me. Ostrich. My best guess was a chicken taste-alike, but it couldn't have been further from it.

For a start it is red meat and, like the sausage, it was very lean, so I was helpfully advised to eat it medium-rare so as not to dry it out.

Presented on a vertically hanging skewer with smoked bacon and apricot, it hovered above some chunky chips and was moistened by spiced butter encased in foil, which melted on to the meat from the top.

The fact that there was no accompanying vegetables or salad mattered not a jot. Why hide the ostrich's light under a bushel? It was tangy, tasty and plentiful.

Giant tiger prawns were my partner's choice - and giant they were. Cooked in a sumptuous garlic butter, her only criticism was that there was a little too much sauce.

We shared a delightfully light and refreshing dessert of Koeksisters, a Cape Dutch pastry, sweetly spiced with a ginger syrup and presented with fresh fruit and sorbet.

Washed down with a punchy South African Chenin blanc, it was a unique and thoroughly rewarding experience.


Drinks selection: A fabulous selection of cocktails appear on a blackboard. The wine choices by the glass are limited, but there are some crackers to choose from by the bottle.

Our cost (two people, without drinks): £63.75

Contact: Amanzi, 38 Arwenack Street, Falmouth mail@amanzirestaurant (01326 312678)

Opening times: Every day, lunch (12-3pm) and dinner (5-9pm)


Atmosphere: 4/5

Décor: 5/5

Food: 5/5

Service: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

In order to ensure objective reviews, the Mystery Diner is carried out on an independent basis without the prior knowledge of the establishment.