By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Feb 10, 2002 at 4:53 AM

The African Hut, 1107 N. Old World Third St., is a charming, inexpensive little restaurant with a full bar stocked with African beer and wine. A thatched roof, leopard skin wallpaper, wild animal portraits and an eclectic montage of African artifacts mesh well with the vibrant music to provide an African retreat right in the heart of downtown.

Familiar ingredients provide a point of reference but don't inhibit a little culinary exploration.

Best bets are the Akara, a delicious hand crafted fritter of black-eyed peas and the Zanzi fries made from yams as appetizers. The majority of entrees are slow simmered stews made with a choice of collard greens, okra, peanuts, melon seeds or dried mushrooms that are all served over rice.

The Jollof or "king's rice" is a good choice. Loaded with chicken, tomatoes and vegetables, it is a very good casserole. Samples are provided to help the indecisive.

Desserts include one very good sweet potato pie and Mindy (a double-decker ice cream sundae smothered with fresh apples, simmered in molasses and Grand Mariner).

The bold flavors of Africa have added yet another flavor to downtown Milwaukee's Old World Third Street. Owned and operated by Yinka and Moji Adedokun, their modest little café is a perfect showcase of the flavors they left behind in Nigeria to begin a new life here in Milwaukee.

The African Hut, (414) 765-1110, is open Mon.-Thurs. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.