Zulu: Excellent Service, Interesting Dishes & a Promising Start for Cairo’s First South African Restaurant
When we heard that the very first South African restaurant would be opening its doors in Maadi this month, we got super excited and made reservations for the venue’s opening night. Zulu is apparently run by a South African couple based in Egypt, who want to bring their traditional cuisine to the Cairene market, which has definitely become a lot more adventurous and experimental.
Disclaimer: we know nothing about South African cuisine, so we won’t feign to be experts. All we know is good food.
Located on Street 100, close to the Maadi Corniche, Zulu is in the same spot as the Tipsy Teapot, the Cairo Cellar and Le Petit Swiss Chalet, all of which were favorites for many Maadi residents, but sadly didn’t stand the test of time. The venue’s interior is painted with bright blues, reds and browns, with the South African flag hung in corners between African masks and other African props, while South African singer, Miriam Makeba, was played on repeat throughout our meal.
For starters, we ordered the chips and cheese and onion dips (30LE), the peri peri chicken liver (40LE) and the zucchini fritters (35LE), and we shared tipsy teapots of Limeys (120LE, gin, sprite and lemon) and South African (120LE, Rooibos ice tea, apple juice and rum). The cheese onion dip was tasty, but we wish the chips were homemade rather than out of a pocket. The fritters were served piping hot and smothered in yoghurt, and we congratulated ourselves for eating healthy – because it’s zucchini, albeit deep fried zucchini. As for the peri peri, we loved how spicy and seasoned it was, and we enjoyed mixing the liver with the cornbread served on the side, but we’re not huge fans of pink liver; we like ours well-cooked but then we didn’t specify that to the waiter, so it could be our fault.
For mains, we ordered the 200g ostrich burger (100LE); a massive, juicy patty served with cranberry balsamic glaze, chunky potato wedges and a vegetable skewer; a bunny chow with chicken curry (80LE), which is basically hollowed out toast bread stuffed with curry, and we had the 400g lamb chops (160LE), which came with wedges and vegetable skewers.
The chops were super tasty and clearly grilled on a barbeque because of their smoky taste; we loved the whole dish but would have preferred a stronger sauce than the plain yoghurt one that we dipped our wedges into. The ostrich burger was also a big winner at the table, and we all agreed that we’d come back for the burger and chops.
Moderately priced, the menu meant that we each paid 300LE for an assortment of appetisers, two drinks and a main course, which is pretty decent compared to the crazy dining prices these days. That, combined with the excellent, attentive and super polite service, gives Zulu a promising start, and we hope it will outlast the curse of its predecessors.