The day's catch dictates the menu at this contempo cool Cape Town eatery
Much thought has gone into adding local flavour to the sustainable seafood on offer at SeaBreeze Fish and Shell, writes Kit Heathcock
It may not have harbour views and seagulls stealing your chips, but there’s a metaphorical tang of salt to newcomer SeaBreeze Fish and Shell at the top of Bree Street.
The elegant blue and white double frontage with a long table outside on the pavement sets the scene for the freshest catch of the day, with an overlay of urban cool.
Inside you’re torn between perching at the oyster bar for a glass of MCC with a choice of oysters (the differences of taste, texture and minerality between Knysna and Saldanha Bay oysters is an education in itself), visiting the sunny rum bar for a creative cocktail, or sitting down and launching straight into the mouth-watering menu of the day.
Owners Ruth and Alex Grahame, from Scotland, where they owned a successful seafood restaurant called Hornblowers, have enjoyed applying their 100% local and sustainable ethos to the seafood landscape here in Cape Town.
“It’s a challenge here getting the variety of sustainable fish that we used to,” says Ruth. “It’s about what’s landed in Cape Town and Hout Bay each day; we only use fresh food, not frozen and bring in local flavours.”
Hake, kingklip, yellowtail, tuna and angelfish are the backbone of the menu which is printed daily to reflect what’s come just off the boats.
A beautiful starter of hake ceviche reveals a well-judged balance between simplicity and creativity: citrus-cured hake rolled around a sliver of fresh ginger, fresh herbs, the zest and zing softened by a cream cheese base with spots of squid ink mayo and some sweet potato crisps for contrasting crunch.
Much thought has gone into adding local flavour and imaginative vegetable accompaniments – my kingklip, firm and tender, rested on a bed of braaied corn, the smokiness picked up by a ring of brinjal puree dotted with pesto, and pretty plating adding elegance to the perfectly cooked fish.
The seared angelfish comes with chakalaka vegetables, Saldanha mussels with a Cape Malay sauce.
The restaurant is not too fancy to offer good old-fashioned hake and chips, light and crispy batter and gorgeous double-cooked chips, which you can also order as a side with other mains when chip-envy strikes.