Every inch of this two-storey restaurant and cocktail lounge is decked out in African decorations – tribal carvings cover the walls and towering statues standing on the ground floor reach all the way up to the second. It’s a cavernous venue, two wide bars servicing the upstairs and a slightly more restrained environment in the downstairs dining room.

THE GRUB: The food is familiar enough but the different styles, native to South Africa and the sub-Saharan region, give it whole new dimension. A starter of prawns, for example, are served with a curry and ginger sauce; there’s also an ostrich carpaccio and rooibos-smoked salmon.

The mains are a carnivore’s delight – there’s a special braai menu featuring an exquisite springbok loin as well as a delicious boerewors sausage. Or try the spit roast, which varies day-to-day but comes seasoned with an African relish called chakalaka.

BEHIND THE BAR: It’s worth paying a visit to the upstairs cocktail lounge before settling in for dinner. There’s an extensive list to choose from, taking in the classics as well as Shaka Zulu’s own concoctions, the fancier ones maxing out at about £11.
Downstairs, there’s an impressive selection of wines, including plenty of great reds from South Africa, starting at £19 for a bottle.

BILL PLEASE: Starters from £7; mains from £15; or try a tasting platter for £55.

VERDICT: The decor and the sheer size of the venue make Shaka Zulu a unique experience – best enjoyed on a busy weekend when you’re in the mood to party, rather than on a quiet weeknight. The service is knowledgeable and attentive and the best of the cocktails are top-notch. And if you’re after a prime cut of red meat Shaka Zulu will be right up your alley.


Stables Market, Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 8AB 
Tube: Chalk Farm

– Tom Sturrock