The rhythm of the jungle echoed across Harbour Street on Thursday night for the VIP opening of the city’s first South African-themed restaurant.
Though it does not officially open to the public until next Wednesday, Char Char Bar and Grill made its entry with style into the rapidly changing dining culture in Wollongong.
It is one of two new eateries and bars being opened in Harbour Street by Sydney restaurant owner George Geagea and Wollongong businessman Charlie Daoud.
The other is Chargoal, which was doing a roaring trade itself while guests were arriving on the red carpet at Char Char Bar and Grill, which boasts South African wine and beer.
Both are located on street level under the Western Grandstand with large, covered alfresco dining areas and inside dining.
The food at both venues is cooked on charcoal.
They are each themed on years of vision by Mr Geagea, who was keen to bring something new to Wollongong and help create a dining and bar strip near the foreshore.
He has even brought in some South African-sourced secret ingredients.
At Char Char Bar and Grill, manager Tony Maia said he was keen to add to the dining experience in Wollongong.
‘‘I have always wanted to bring that quality we are used to in Sydney here,’’ he said.