Randomness Guide to London - Differences between Version 10 and Version 9 of Chakalaka, W4 4PH

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A South African restaurant and bar in Chiswick, opened at the start of November 2008. The original branch is in Putney.

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 some co-workers visited on a Wednesday lunchtime shortly after its initial opening. 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. Coke was £2.20 a bottle, and a small bottle of still water was £2.

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 (some time between 7pm and 8pm, I think) and it didn't fill up much more throughout our visit.

Kake wasn't overly impressed with the bread that arrived shortly after we sat down - it reminded me rather of home-made bread made by someone who isn't very good at making bread yet; the flavour was a bit too yeasty and the crumb was fragile, dense, crumbly, and squashy. Though it may have been some special South African style of bread that I'm not familiar with, I suppose. 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, 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.

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 the other South African dishes on the menu.

On weekday lunchtimes they are currently doing all you can eat ribs for £13.95. You can have either bbq sauce or peri-peri sauce. On one visit bob had 3 racks and they were still asking if I wanted more. The ribs are pretty good. Juicy and succulent.

Accessibility: There are no steps to get to the restaurant area, but the bar and toilets are up a flight of stairs.

See also:

Last visited by bob and co-workers on 03 December 2008. Opening times taken from the Chakalaka website, November 2008.

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