Chakalaka, W4 4PH
- 1-4 Barley Mow Passage
Chakalaka was a South African restaurant and bar in Chiswick. As of January 2011, it was closed up with a notice saying that bailiffs had taken possession of the premises, and their original branch in Putney has also since closed. The only remaining branch of Chakalaka is now in South Wimbledon, at 143-145 Haydon Road, SW19 1AN.
The information below is retained for people who want to know what it used to be like.
The premises is split over two levels; the ground floor is the restaurant while upstairs there is a lounge bar doing cocktails. The restaurant area can probably seat 30.
bob and co-workers visited on a Wednesday lunchtime in November 2008. bob had the 25oz rump steak challenge (£25) photo and comfortably ate it in under 25 minutes to get the free t-shirt. The steak was very good (certainly in my top 10 ever); cooked perfectly and obviously hung properly given the lack of blood. Jack was more than happy with his surf 'n' turf (£17), while Magnus really enjoyed his springbok loin (£18) photo.
Kake, bob, Northern Steve, and Richard visited again on a Thursday evening later the same month. We hadn't booked, but there were plenty of tables free when we arrived around 7pm-8pm, and it didn't fill up much more throughout our visit. Kake wasn't overly impressed with the bread we were brought; the flavour was a bit too yeasty and the crumb was fragile, dense, crumbly, and squashy. My starter of marinated ostrich, mozzarella, and tomato salad was fine but not overly exciting, and the meat was fridge-cold.
Things got a lot better with the main course, though. Like my three companions, I went for the 8oz fillet steak (£17), and bob's previous assessment was proved right; it was good meat, cut nice and thick, and cooked just right — they had no problem doing it blue, and they managed to get a good flavour on the surface despite this. The crispy chips and green peppercorn sauce that I chose to go with it were good too. Service was friendly and cheerful, and they even comped us four generous glasses of dessert wine since they didn't have the full half-bottle that we'd asked for.
As of July 2009 they are now doing a loyalty card; every time you spend more than £20 you get a stamp, which eventually leads to money off. They are also doing all you can eat ribs (choice of BBQ sauce or peri-peri sauce) for £14 on weekday lunchtimes. On one visit bob had three racks and they were still offering to bring more. The ribs are pretty good, juicy and succulent. On one of these all-you-can-eat lunches, in July 2009, one of us also had a large mixed salad (£6) which looked fresh and plentiful. Even though we had had all you can eat ribs some of us braved the desserts; as always, the malva pudding (£5) was very good, and people also seemed to enjoy the death by chocolate (also £5).
Kake's verdict: I'd definitely come back. In fact I'd like to come back a couple of times, since not only do I want another one of those steaks, I'd also like to try some of the South African dishes on the menu.
Accessibility: There are no steps to get to the restaurant area, but the bar and toilets are up a flight of stairs.