Safari Club is a Kenyan influenced Indian restaurant and bar located fifteen minutes from Woodside Park Underground Station. The fresh and authentic food served here ensures Safari Club stands out from other restaurants located in this area of North London.
The restaurant stands midway along Woodside Park’s busy High Road. While ample seating is laid out in a typical style, Safari Club has the look and feel of a local pub which takes a while to become accustomed to. However the North African statues on display create an interesting feature while exotic plants prevent the restaurant from looking bland.
The staff at Safari Club are friendly and approachable and are extremely knowledgeable about dishes and ingredients. Traditional Indian folk music is played subtly in the background allowing diners to enjoy their food in a relaxing environment.
Food is the main focus of Safari Club and the fusion of Kenyan and Indian cuisine is clear throughout its varied menu. Guests are served a selection of plain and spicy pappadoms with three dips - mild mint, dry tamarind and the hot yet sweet chilli option. A wide range of meat and vegetable starters are available including vegetable samosas made with fresh vegetables that are ground finely till almost a paste. The two samosas are subtly flavoured with peppers and coated in a thin, crispy shell. The lamb chops are a substantial sized starter with four pieces served sizzling from the oven on a large bed of browned onions with a lemon garnish. The chargrilled lamb is slightly blackened and crispy on the outside with a succulent pink centre.
The Nairobi Curry is a house specialty that is cooked to taste. Made with tender chicken pieces the peppers, cumin and curry powder ensure this dish is deceptively hot, although the coriander mixed into the dish adds a refreshing cooling element. The chicken pieces are plentiful and one portion of the fluffy pilau rice which accompanies the dish will be enough for two. More traditional dishes are available at Safari Club such as lamb, prawn and chicken masalas. The clever use of seasoning and spices work extremely well here and staff will create dishes from scratch to suit diner’s taste buds. The lamb masala is a mild to medium hot dish made with thick pieces of succulent lamb, onions, peppers and shredded tomatoes. This creamy curry is sweet with hints of coconut and almonds.
Dessert options include traditional kulfi and British ice cream options. While savory dishes are the specialty here the homemade strawberry cheesecake is exceptional, with a crispy gingerbread base, a soft bright white centre topped with fresh strawberries - the perfect dessert to share.
Safari Club offers a full range of wines, spirits, fruity house cocktails and continental and Indian lagers. The wine menu, while not extensive, has a fair selection including the South African Kumala house wine. This light bodied red has a strong hint of berries with an undertone of vanilla which works exceptionally well with the strong, spicy dishes created here.
The Last Word
The food at the Safari Club restaurant is fresh and the mixture of cultural influences ensures the food is not bland or typically Anglo-Indian. A fun, informal atmosphere combined with great value make Safari Club a good starting point for a weekend night out or for some midweek indulgence with friends.