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Thursday, 7 October 2010

Shaka Zulu, Camden


You have to admire this new South African-themed pile for its pluck. Hopefully, springing somewhere the size of Lesotho on London, at a time when the bush tom-tom talks of enforced austerity, won’t end, like the Boer War, in defeat for Shaka’s Zulu nation. To bingo bongo beats, we navigate our way to the lounge bar at this ‘unique’ (that’s, for sure) and ‘classy’ (if you say so!) gastroplex that must be seen- once will do - to be believed. Wall-to-wall tribal carvings; ethnic prints; statuesque warriors a go-go:  this overwrought subterranean kingdom feels more Sun City than Camden. Short of Justin and Colin doing  the window displays for Loincloths-R-Us  to coincide with Gay Pride, Johannesburg, could it look more camp/ crap? Forget beads and trinkets here, the intrepid  explorer will need to part with nine and half of your English pounds to sample the Shaka shakers’ finest efforts. Pick of the ‘Zulu cocktails’ is angel face (African Mishale brandy, fig, lemon and apple juice), (Ketel) dawa, a native of Nairobi & vodka and kumquat thirst quencher, sufrica. Closer to home there's Orkney dig. What archaeology on rainswept islands off the north coast of Scotland has to do with Durban is anybody’s guess. Ten by the glass wines include Kloovenburg merlot at £7.50 while Namibia’s Windhoek spearheads the beer selection. In similarly ‘classy’ bars in Cape Town, £10 will get you three Bellinis. If this one lasts, I'll eat my vuvuzela:  but then that's pretty much what I said about the similarly bonkers Gilgamesh next door, so what do I know?.   

The Stables Market, Camden High St NW1 3376 9911 www.shaka-zulu.com/