If you cannot go to South Africa, let South Africa come to you! And what better way to discover South African culture than through food? We did our research and listed for you the top 5 South African restaurants in London.
28 Osborn Street, London E1 6TD (020 7247 0073) Whitechapel tube (www.junglebraai.com)
Just like the Americans, South Africans are very serious about their barbecue, which they call “braai”, the Afrikaans word for roasted meat. Located in the heart of Brick Lane, Jungle Braai boasts a modern and sharp décor. The menu caters mainly to meat-eaters and includes boerewors, (sausages) and sosaties (marinated mutton on skewers). The signature dish is the Chicken Congo Ciabatta, a mighty name for a toasted cheese ciabatta with grilled chicken and peppers.
Chiswick: 1-Barley Mow Passage, London W4 4PH (020 8995 4745) Chiswick Park tube
Putney: 136 Upper Richmond Road, London SW15 2SP (020 8789 0460) East Putney tube (www.chakalakarestaurant.com)
Vegetarians beware! This chain of South African restaurants is famous for its meat dishes: Boerewors (South African farmer sausages) served with chakalaka, a spicy tomato and onion salsa or Springbok (antelope) Loin with slow roasted vegetables. Portions are big and the more daring can take on the challenge to eat a 25oz Namibian steak in 25 minutes (you’ll get a t-shirt for that.) As you may have guessed, the atmosphere at Chakalaka is warm and cosy, with a bright décor and walls adorned in funky zebra stripes and tribal artefacts.
Cape Town Fish Market
5-6 Argyll Street, London W1F 7TE (020 7437 1143) Oxford Circus tube (www.www.capetownfishmarket.co.uk)
Cape Town Fish Market (CTFM) is part of a chain that first opened in South Africa in 1997. CTFM is a “fusion” restaurant which offers South African recipes such as the bobotie (spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping) and potjies (stew) alongside Japanese dishes teppanyaki and tempura. Diners can create their own seafood platter from the fish display and choose from an extensive list of South African wines. Despite being located in central London, the restaurant manages to keep an authentic feel, with historical photographs of South African fishermen displayed on the walls. The menu include pre and post theatre specials.
43 Buckingham Palace Road London SW1W 0PP (020 7958 7000 ) (www.bbarlondon.com)
This South-African themed bar and restaurant in Victoria deserves a mention if only because of its safari-chic atmosphere: photographs of big game are displayed on the walls, lamp shades are made of leopard skin and chairs are covered with fake crocodile leather. The menu is mostly European, with a splash of South African dishes: Cape Malay Chicken Curry, Springbok Fillet, and Boerewors sausages. The low light, loungy tunes and candles on all tables give an intimate atmosphere that make it a great place for a date. Prince Harry is rumoured to have dined there.
Stables Market, Camden Town, London NW1 (020 376 9911). Camden tube (www.shaka-zulu.com)
A new eating experience is coming to Camden. Shaka Zulu is the new ambitious project from the businessman behind Sound in Leicester Square. We have not seen the venue yet – the launch night has been postponed to June – but the press release gives a rather intriguing picture. African artefacts will decorate the place as is expected but what will separate Shaka Zulu from Bbar for example is the scale of the project: sprawled over 3 floors, the restaurant will also offer live entertainment and the party atmosphere typical of Camden. Whether Shaka Zulu will be African in name only but also in spirit remains to be seen. Bookings are open. Read our preview feature on Shaka Zulu
For those of you who prefer to dine at home, we also have published a typical South African recipe from the chef at restaurant Shaka Zulu. Be sure to come back and tell us what is your favourite South African restaurant in the comments below.