Raw Bistro is South African, family-run restaurant and bar based in Raynes Park. Raw first started business as a deli opposite the train station but in September 2021 it moved round the corner to Worple Road and became a bistro. It is open Monday to Saturday and specialises in steaks.

We visited on a quiet Monday lunchtime. I shared a one of the small plates of grilled squid with my friend. It came with a paprika mayonnaise and the squid was spiced with a Cajun seasoning, it was not too spicy and a great start to the meal. For the main, I ordered the Straight Shooter Burger. For a restaurant that specialises in meat I was pleased to see they had a variety of plant-based options. As well as chicken and beef, there are ‘beyond meat’ burgers with all the trimmings. My beef burger was delicious, well-flavoured and juicy. My friend ordered the steak sandwich with skinny fries. She really enjoyed the ciabatta bread it was served on and the sweet tomato salsa that came in the sandwich.

The service was friendly and attentive and mirrors the warm and unpretentious feeling of the place. Decorated with lots of plants and succulents gives it an open and inviting atmosphere. The décor looks inspired by the South African tropics, with dark navy colours, gold highlights and green features to compliment.

During our meal, I noticed a lot of local employees dropping in for takeaway lunches. They can pick up tea, coffee, baked goods, and even toasties.

I interviewed one of the waiting staff who said that it has been difficult opening a restaurant during the Covid pandemic. “We have been short of staff but have striven to make every customer happy and give exactly 100% to each one.” said Bogdan.

He explained that their most popular dish is the butchers cut steak. "600 grams T-bone, part of it is serloin and the other a fillet seasoned with a mix of flavour we can combine with whatever the customer would like.". 

The bistro gets much busier in the evenings with families from the surrounding streets popping in for dinner. “The pizzas and the smoothies are my favourite thing to have after school” says local resident Georgia, aged 7.

For dedicated meat-eaters and vegans alike, Raw Bistro is a welcome addition to the Raynes Park restaurant scene.