South Africa has had a long relationship with the UK, but in the ’90s there was an especially huge influx of expats. They would gather in places like the Springbok Bar in Covent Garden: one of the only places to sell boerewors rolls, our version of a hot dog, and show the SA sports (a day late, as the cassette tapes had to be flown in from Cape Town).
Since then, these places have made way for more sophisticated South African restaurants, serving the 60,000 Saffers living in the capital today. You’ll find lots of us in Putney, Wimbledon and Clapham Junction, maybe because of all the green space in south-west London. After all, outdoor sports and braaing (South African barbecue) are our lifeblood. Braai events held throughout the summer bring Saffers of all backgrounds together, especially our Heritage Day every September 24: a celebration of the diversity of modern South Africa. Etienne Pansegrauw
Did you know? South Africa has one of the longest wine routes in the world. Route 62 stretches from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth: a little more than the distance from London to Edinburgh.
Etienne’s favourite South African spots in London
The first Snoggy’s butchers opened in 2003, and has been making the Big Smoke’s best biltong (dry cured beef) and boerewors (beef sausage) ever since.
My restaurant Hammer & Tongs brings the best of braai from South Africa to London. We cook exceptional meat over a real wood grill, and you’ll find a cocktail bar in the basement.
Overlooking the Thames near St Paul’s, High Timber has nailed South African fine dining. A great spot for a special occasion.
Started by a South African husband and wife team, Roxie now has four branches in south-west London, where they make some of the best slow-cooked baby ribs in town. Head down on a Tuesday for the ‘Rack Attack’: only a tenner for a full rack and fries.
July 18 2018 is the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth, making it a momentous year for South Africans everywhere. Keep an eye out for celebrations in London next summer.
The best of South African London, according to you
‘Vivat Bacchus in Farringdon! The wine is heavenly, the meats and biltong lovely, and they do lots of tasting events (with food).’ @Winellennial via Twitter
‘The Slug at Wimbledon, just outside Wimbledon station, for watching ruggers or downing Springbok shots. We call it Wimbledurban!’ Tracy-lee S via Facebook