As I was checking out the deals in www.scoopon.com.au I came across this restaurant called “Pink Zulu”, which specialises in African cuisine. After this online encounter, I haven’t really given any further thought about this African restaurant since I have never tried African food before and it did not tickle my fancy.
A few weeks later I came face to face with Pink Zulu by accident. My auntie and I were looking for somewhere to have dinner and have narrowed down our choices to a Chinese restaurant in the city, a fish and chips shack in Fremantle and a cafe in Cottesloe. As we got out of the car in Cottesloe we decided to walk around Napoleon Street first just to see which restaurants were open. Then lo and behold — Pink Zulu was right behind me and that online encounter with this restaurant came flashing back in my mind. I convinced my auntie to give it a try and we were both very happy that we did.
The restaurant looks posh with its pink and black theme and decorations that give you that safari ambiance. I felt very under-dressed in my tank top and shorts and I was almost certain that they wouldnt let us in. But the waitress was very kind to let us know that my “highly inappropriate” outfit was ok; no worries, she said and we took a seat outside as all the tables inside were reserved.
Since we were unfamiliar with African cuisine, we asked the waitress what the best sellers were and she was patient enough to have taken us through the menu. After careful deliberation, we finally settled for 2 entrees to share and a main each plus a dessert to finish. For entrees we had “Zambezi”, which are crumbed crocodile and prawn croquets served in a skewer with pineapples and cucumbers. If you have never tried crocodile meat before I can say now that there is nothing to be afraid of it. There is hardly any crocodile smell and it tasted just like prawns. This dish is best eaten as a whole, as in have a piece of the croquet, pineapple and cucumber per bite. The best thing about this dish was the presentation. I am sucker for elegantly presented food. The other entree we had was the “Moroccan Ras el Hanout” which is loosely similar to pizzas topped with lamb and rockets on an African bread base with molasses and yogurt spread. This came in a rectangular shape cut into 6 pieces. I am not a very big fan of lamb because of its strong smell but this “pizza” was very delicious indeed. The lamb was cooked perfectly and the smell was tolerable. There were also bits of pomegranate, that gives you a sweet surprise when bitten into and pine nuts for that nutty flavour. For mains, my auntie went for the “Snapper Sahara”. The snapper is pan roasted sitting on a bed of potato and shallot bake then topped with olives, lemon and saffron oil. The fish was cooked to perfection and the potato bake is a very good complement to it. I had the ”Beef Potjie”, which is ground beef with apricots, apple and almond topped with an egg topping. This is served in a little pot, which is very much like a witch’s cauldron, with a side of cous cous and heavily spiced sliced eggplant. The beef has a sweet flavour and the egg complements it perfectly with its smoothness. This in itself is enough to make you full but I would advise eating the beef with cous cous though to mellow out the sweetness and spices of the beef.
Halfway throughout our meal the owner, Doulene, originally from Zimbabwe, came to have a chat with us. She was very friendly — told us a little bit about herself and the restaurant and explained to us what was in our dishes. I learnt from her that the restaurant was only 7 months old and business was doing very well. Can’t say I’m surprised since the whole place was fully booked.
When time came for dessert my auntie and I decided to just share one because we were way too full. We chose to have the “Pink Surprise”, a chocolate fondant with molten white chocolate infused with raspberry served with a scoop of African spiced ice cream. I completely forgot that this was a fondant when it came out that I excitedly took a bite and burnt my tongue. Other than that very hot experience, the rest of this dessert experience was divine. The fondant was VERY rich and it goes perfectly well with the molten white chocolate poured over it. The ice cream on the side was topped slivered almonds and chopped rose petals, which gave it a very sweet and fragrant flavour.
Overall, “Pink Zulu” gave me a very good first impression of African cuisine. Average prices for entrees are $16-$20 and all dishes come in 4 pieces as advised by our waitress for the night. “Pizzas” are about $20, mains come in $25-$30 and desserts are $16 on average. This restaurant is fully licensed but since we were driving we had settled for mocktails. I dont even know what the mocktails we had were called. We just told the waitress that my auntie wanted something with strawberries and I wanted something with passionfruit and the bartender just whipped up 2 drinks that were very very very good. Very flavourful and refreshing. We each had a sip of the other person’s drink and ended swapping drinks because I found the strawberry mocktail better while my auntie found my original passionfruit mocktail better.
Needless to say, given the great food, great ambience, knowledgeable and friendly staff, and great first impression, I would definitely consider celebrating my next special occasion at “Pink Zulu”.
My rating: 8/10