*Update – Zebra’s is no longer open.*
I was very excited to be invited to experience some good old African hospitality at Zebra’s African Steakhouse in Bicton. We arranged a date and only later did I realise it was on our 3 year ‘Perthaversary’ which made the day even more special for us!
The restaurant is really easy to find, just off the Canning Highway and with massive black and white striped signage on the wall. There is plenty of parking available off street and on street which is a bonus in Perth! Upon entering the restaurant we were immediately transported back to Africa – there is an outdoor bar area which had a blazing fire warming up the cool autumn evening with plenty of seating options.
The bar itself is set up like a game drive vehicle which adds to the character of the place immensely. Off the outdoor area is the main restaurant and a separate indoor bar area which has a big screen TV for the rugby (plus another screen in the outdoor area).
The restaurant is authentically decorated with all sorts of safari-style memorabilia and accessories like potjie pots, metal animal sculptures and the obligatory animal skins and horns (vegetarians look away now).
I love the ‘Zoo Loos’ and felt like I was in the bush in South Africa within moments of being seated.
We were warmly greeted by the manager Jane and seated at our table which already had the menus and wine list on it. The wine lists includes both Australian and South African wines, including a couple of my favourites. Being a chilly evening we opted for a red – the Leopards Leap Pinotage Shiraz which was lovely.
After a read through the menu, we settled on our choices.
We made a bold start to the evening and shared the crocodile starter. Having never tried crocodile before, we found that people are right, it tastes like chicken! Although it does have a slightly chewier texture. They use the tail of the crocodile which is considered the fillet, and it came with a very spicy soy dip. The menu said it also included a red cabbage slaw which I liked the sound of but it came with some salad and chargrilled peppers and onion instead.
For mains, Mr C went for rump steak which came with a side salad, onion rings and a huge bowl of fries. The steak was well cooked and good quality meat.
I’m not a massive meat eater, I tend to opt for vegetarian dishes or seafood. I didn’t fancy the veg filo parcel so I went for the prawn dish as it’s not something I cook at home very often. It came with biltong, avocado and while the menu said cumin toasted flatbread, which sounded delicious, it was just a couple of toasted bread rolls. The prawns were well cooked and the sauce was super spicy so I didn’t have too much of it as I’m not a big chilli fan. I was warned that the prawns were whole, so would need peeling, but as it comes with a finger bowl, it’s not an issue unless you don’t like getting your fingers dirty!
I loved the sound of the sadza chips so I had to order them as a side dish and I was so glad I did. They were delicious! So crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy in the centre, almost like the perfect roast potato but a sadza version. Yum!
As I have a separate dessert stomach, there was room for a sneaky Dom Pedro and Mr C was sold as soon as he read ‘Coffee’ on the coffee cappuccino crunch ice cream with home made honeycomb, chocolate filled wafer and crushed coffee beans. They were both good and made a great end to the meal.
We sat down with the owner Jerrald Swindells after dinner to find out more about the history of the restaurant, and boy was it colourful! Jerrald moved to Perth over 30 years ago and started the restaurant shortly after. Originally from Zimbabwe, his hospitality experience working in various Southern Sun hotels, including managing hotels at the top level, gave him a great grounding for setting up his own restaurant.
Zebras started out in Attadale but Jerrald wanted to stop renting premises and own so ended up buying the current site in Bicton after 14 years. It has a very interesting history so be sure to ask him about it when you visit. According to his family, he always had it in him to become a restaurateur, serving fairy bread to the family from the age of 5!
He is also the president of the Shamboks Golden Oldies rugby club which plays against other over 35s teams in WA. He told us that they are the only rugby club team other than the official Springbok teams that is allowed to use the Springbok logo on their jerseys.
Jerrald also started the popular chain of South African restaurants in Perth, Hippo Creek which he sold a few years ago.
Zebras African Steakhouse is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 5pm until late for dinner and drinks. It seats 150 inside and around 50 outside and it has a great atmosphere for any sporting events being screened like the Super Rugby and TriNations (or whatever it’s called these days!). They cater for functions as well so if you’re looking for an event venue in the area speak to them about your function needs.
They serve their own beers – Kariba wheat beer and Billabong Bulawayo pilsner, which has recently won the best pilsner in Australia out of more than 600 entrants. They have a special on Wednesdays – called Woza Wednesday – which includes a sirloin steak and a middy of their tap beer or glass of house wine for just $25.
This weekend (8 May) they are hosting a special Mothers Day lunch event so if your mom is feeling homesick and wants to experience some good old fashioned African food and atmosphere, this is the place to take her.
Have you been to Zebras African Steakhouse? What did you think? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.
*Disclosure: I was invited to dine at Zebra’s African Steakhouse but was not financially compensated. All opinions are my own.