Top 5 South African Restaurants in London (and Chester!)

It is widely accepted that the face of global cuisine has changed dramatically over the last 20 years.  Not that long ago, our concept of global cuisine didn’t stretch beyond an Indian Chicken Tikka Masala, or an Italian Spaghetti Bolognese.

A typical South African braai or barbeque

A typical South African braai or barbeque

However, these dishes are now considered commonplace on the family meal planner, meaning we are looking to alternative countries for food ideas.  In my opinion, South African cuisine is a rich source of inspiration for ingredients and dishes, which are worthy of a place on any dinner table in the U.K.

For those of you fortunate enough to have a bottomless bank account, I would highly recommend hopping on the next plane to Cape Town, and sampling some of the finest food that South Africa has to offer.

south african flagFor the rest of us, if you can’t afford to go to South Africa at the drop of a hat, let South Africa come to you!  The U.K. is now home to a wide range of South African restaurants, all of which will give you an insight into South African cuisine & culture.

Below is a guide to the top 5 South African restaurants in the U.K.

Jungle Braii (28 Osborn Street, London E1 6TD)

In South Africa, ‘braii’ means roasted meat, which is an indication of how seriously South Africans take their barbecue.  Jungle Braai is located in the heart of Brick Lane and boasts a contemporary décor, whilst the menu is predominantly meat-based.  Some of their signature dishes include Zulu Boerewors, a South African beef sausage served with a buttered roll, and the Chicken Congo Ciabatta, a toasted cheese ciabatta filled with grilled chicken and peppers.

South African Braai!

South African Braai!

Jabula (1 South Pier Road, Chester, CH65 4FW)

Jabula is a South African word, meaning happy or joy.  This restaurant is situated in the heart of the North West of England, and serves a wide range of traditional South African dishes.  These dishes include Bobotie, a South African casserole with yellow rice and raisins; Pap en Wors, a sausage filled with a porridge meal filling and an ordinary sausage meat filling; and Vetkoek, a deep-fried dough, which is filled with either cooked mince or spread with syrup, honey, or jam.  Jabula also serves a wide range of popular South African meats, such as Kudu, Springbok and Crocodile.

Shaka Zulu (Stables Market, Camden Town, London NW1)

Shaka Zulu opened to the public in 2010, where it was lucky enough to receive a special royal blessing from HRH Goodwill Zwelithini, the Zulu King.  It holds the accolade of being London’s largest South African restaurant; the lower floor features a display of 20ft high warrior statues.  Shaka Zulu also pride themselves on their authentic ‘braii’ cooking method, featuring South African dishes such as biltong, crocodile cigars, wildebeest, and zebra fillet.

Cape Town Fish Market (Argyll Street, London W1F 7TE)

This chain of restaurants was first opened in South Africa in 1997, and has now set up a highly successful London branch of its restaurant.  Cape Town Fish Market is billed as a ‘fusion’ restaurant, as it serves food from other cuisines such as Japanese tempura and British fish and chips.  Some of the standout South African dishes however, are potjies, a traditional South African spiced-meat stew, and boboties, spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping.

Bbar (43 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0PP)

Bbar is located by Buckingham Palace, and has an ambience that can only be described as ‘safari-chic’.  The restaurant features lamp shades made from leopard skin, faux-crocodile leather chairs, and photographs of big game proudly displayed on the walls.  The menu is classed as pan-european, however, there are some South African inspired dishes, including fillet of Springbok, Boerewors, and Cape Malay Chicken Curry.