restaurants
Shaka Zulu
Stables Market, NW1 8AB
Chalk Farm Road
+44 203 376 9911

Part mega club, part South African themed restaurant, you could be forgiven for thinking you've walked into the set of the Lion King. But don't let the decor fool you into thinking this spot is just Disney-fied, the food here is superb. A must, the crocodile cigars are tender and soft with a light crunch and subtle flavour. A Springbok carpaccio may be scarily red but is wafer thin and beautifully done with a balsamic jelly (nothing scary about how good it tastes). Those wanting the whole experience will go for the Braai, with either a zebra fillet with celeriac mash or the Springbok loin with pickled beets, or perhaps an ostrich with banana shallots. We were prepared to be nervous about this menu - it would be easy for pieces of meat in a spot like this to be over-done or not quite fresh or cliche. Instead, without the airfare, South Africa has come to you. You may never be able to order a regular filet at any other place again. Those who can't stomach the idea of a meat they haven't had before can go for the grilled tiger prawns with a lovely Cape Malay rice or perhaps the scallops with a pea puree - the seafood menu is equally expansive. But we would strongly encourage you to try something new as that's where this spot soars. Even unadventurous eaters will find themselves changing their minds as dates, celebs, bachelorette parties were all around us at dinner and upstairs at the bar. In fact, this sprawling spot is so large, it somehow works for all kinds of occasions.

$$$

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