From the super-size njera sharing platters to fresh biltong and dark unctuous knysna hot chocolate, the African continent boasts an incredible spread of spice, flavour and texture. We check out the inspired entrepreneurs that have brought the authentic saveurs of this beautiful continent to the UK. If you’ve not got the time to travel around Africa, here’s our edible map of the 10 best African restaurants in the UK.
Offering great food, great beer and a great price, Addis is the only place to eat the Ethiopian delicacy, njera. Located a stone’s throw away from Kings Cross station in London, Addis is popular spot. Everything about this cosy restaurant is enticing, from the sunset-coloured walls to the aroma of freshly brewed Ethiopian coffee. Be sure to try the chickpea shiro and doro wat all helped down with good helpings of delicious Ethiopian beer.
This family-run Eritrean restaurant is sure to charm the socks right off your feet. With friendly and attentive staff that love to share little snippets of Eritrean culture, history and food that tastes of clever spicing, this restaurant offers a unique dining experience. Named after the traditional hand-woven serving table, food is served in a central platter, an indulgent spread of lentils with garlic and turmeric, broad beans doused in cumin and chilli and succulent lamb covered in a chocolatey stew. Like its sister Ethiopian cuisine, meat and veg dishes are eaten with the soft, spongey njera. A visit to Mosob is certainly not complete without trying the traditional coffee ceremony.
Inspired by the famous Gatundu’s chip shop in Kenya, Poussin Plaice turns the simplicity of fast-food into a tantalizing feast. Based on the traditional Kenyan Indian BBQ, foods range from fiery poussin chips to the popular chicken tikka. Favoured by the locals is the classic combination of chips and kachumbari, a refreshing Kenyan salsa of carrots, coriander, lime and onions. Be sure to sample Kenyan favourites of roasted chilli garlic cassava, Swahili Mandazi doughnuts and the special Vimto drink.
Located in the heart of central London, Momo’s is the city’s most sophisticated Moroccan offering. The inside is striking and tasteful showcasing the finesse of Moroccan crafts and metalworks. The outside is decorated with small circular gold tables, low chairs and a beautiful crowd. The restaurant is always heaving with queues stretching round the cobbled London streets. Be sure to try their signature dish, Couscous Momo featuring melt-in-the-mouth lamb, golden semolina and the lightest of couscous.
In picturesque Bath is Tagine Zhor, a Moroccan establishment dedicated to traditional Fez foods ‘as grandmother used to make them’. Proud owner, Mostafa Benjelloun has created the perfect venue to showcase the recipes his grandmother carefully passed on to him. The tagine with chicken and confit lemons or duck, pine nuts and apricots are both winning combinations. Be sure to take some time to browse the downstairs bazaar shop on your way out.
Souk Kitchen is Bristol’s very own North African and Persian inspired culinary gem. Located on Clifton’s Apsley Road, this popular brunch spot has attracted the locals with their Arabian take on breakfast. For a sweet start, sticky medjool dates are paired with greek yoghurt and orange blossom. For a savoury one, the nation-wide favourite Shakshouka, a dish of eggs drowned in sweet tomatoes, roasted peppers and spices is mopped up with warm flatbread. Everything about this place is à la mode and we can see why Bristol can’t seem to get enough of the Souk Kitchen.
Dishes here are inspired by jollof, or one-pot cooking method characteristic of West African cuisine. Popular on the Jollof Café menu is the Kilimanjaro soup, a potent broth that fires up the tastebuds. For diners looking for a healthy dining option, Jollof Café offers a range of gluten-free or ‘glutton free’ (as described on their menu) breakfasts made with the finest African cornmeal and healthy lunchtime stews and salads ideal for on-the-go visitors and working people.
Located in London’s trendy Soho district, Bunny Chow has finally brought Durban’s 40s take-away breakthrough to the UK. Essentially, a bunny chow is a loaf hollowed out and stuffed with anything from an English breakfast to pulled pork to a spicy meat curry. They are practical, cheap and damn tasty. This award-winning eatery who have taken Durban’s culinary ingenuity and triumphed in giving it a new welcome home within Soho’s eclectic food scene. They don’t take reservations, so expect long queues during evenings and weekends.
Put some South African love and sentiment into an eccentric Edinburgh café and you’ll get The Caffeine Drip. Diners can play on the hanging African hide drum whilst enjoying knysna, South African hot chocolate made with melted dark chocolate. The interiors are made from recycled wood, the milkshakes are served in jars and the walls are mismatched in bright colours. If you want great coffee shaken up with some South African beats and stirred with a bit of eco-friendly spirit, a trip to Edinburgh cannot go without a visit to The Caffeine Drip.
Indaba, a Zulu term for meeting, brings together the vibrant cuisines of South Africa, Spain and Venezuela in tapas-style dishes. Britain’s love of small dishes and massive spreads is perfectly echoed in this family-run restaurant. Serving bites of Boerewors and local haggis doused in pine nuts with South African lager and Spanish draught beer, it’s not surprising that Indaba’s tables are well-sought after by the Scottish locals. Finish your meal with a few scoops of ice-cream drunk in South African Amarula liquer made from the same marula fruit enjoyed by Africa’s wild elephants.