Thirty thousand words in my vocabulary, 25,000 from English plus another five thousand in Afrikaans. Yet I am at a loss for words here. I have eaten at five star hotels in Cape Town, but also in exotic places such as the Pacific, for instance. Tonight, I am trying to recall a meal that was better presented, or that had tasted better, in a better setting than today’s lunch at Harbourview Restaurant.
With a lovely view over the Simon’s Town Naval Base and its fleet of sleek corvettes and other men-of-war, as well as various civilian yachts, dinghies and speed boats, the laid-back setting adds to a homely atmosphere. Having brought various friends, including several visitors from Deutschland here in the past, Harbourview Restaurant already established itself as a safe, reliable venue. In the past, my wife and I mostly drank soft drinks, or the gourmet coffee from Peacocks, together with delectable cake from an appetising display. Before, we also had fish & chips there, which was great at the time.
Guests can be seated inside our out on the lovely veranda.
Today, we were met with a cheerful vibe among staff and a festive hum from many guests enjoying a scrumptious Sunday lunch. At some point, there even was singing coming from a table some distance away from us. Two tour coaches arrived and staff were quite busy for a while, yet managed to attend to other guests in a most friendly manner.
We also took a peek at what others had ordered and I think that more than one visit would be justified. My wife never eats olives but she stole three of mine from the lovely, fresh Greek salad. I can just mention that this salad has the integrity to stand on its own legs, not really needing the olive oil or balsamic vinegar treatment. It was made up of a cheerful selection of vegetables and herbs, as well as the Calamata olives and Danish feta. For once, I nit-picked in a restaurant, but only to sample each ingredient on its own. The freshness is almost unbelievable and I was tempted to search for a veggie garden outside, but only found ample parking on the harbour side.
The main course consisted of a seafood order for my wife while I went hunting in Africa. The Missus had a Fried Hake & Calamari with Chips. French fries. It comes garnished with a fresh tossed salad although it is a good portion of delectable freshness, not just garnishing. Somebody back in the kitchen must have been performing some magic rituals on the fish, as I have never tasted hake that fresh, or tender, or succulent, or flaky. I think it is safe to say that I have been caught red-handed, fishing in my darlingmost wificle’s food plate. I am not exaggerating; we as a couple have done our bit of fisheries-crawling and not even the freshly speared parrot fish from the tropical reefs can better this hake. If you want your taste buds to be overwhelmed, this is it. The generous portions of fried potato chips and tartar sauce were appreciated but deemed as an option to resist. The fries, golden brown and at that ideal spot between golden brown and ultimately crispy, were really nice but would have infringed upon real estate required for the dessert to follow.
As I am a supporter of anything Banting-ish, or in the direction of #LCHF as described by Toortsie in her Banting books, the choice of a Three Game Medallion as suggested by Noelene proved to be just perfect. Once again, garnishing was in the form of a sizable tossed salad and the lavish portion of said golden brown fries. I am not supposed to touch it but half of it got the better half of me. Now to the meatier issues. Impala, kudu and warthog accepted the invitation and joined me for lunch. Impala can be tough, sometimes, but not at this address. It was tender beyond belief and, like the kudu and warthog, very succulent and tasty. The chef was smart enough to properly cook the wild game, leaving me at no risk of taking in boarders. I have noted this with appreciation as too many chefs simply want to be fashionable instead of considering the future bodily welfare of guests. I think that cooking it to a proper well done is just a sign of good training and of understanding the nature of wild game. Tasty it was, as mentioned before, yet this deserves a second mention. This is what a true South African family restaurant serves: properly cooked meat with a slight basting that doesn’t kill off the taste. A more or less perfect balance.
There are Banting options on the menu, though. I chose to transgress, digress and took my egress from living overtly healthy.
Dessert. Apple Crumble with Ice Cream for the Lady and yours truly ordered a traditional Afrikaner Malva Pudding. This is a dessert of Cape Dutch ancestry and as South African as Braavleis, Boerewors or Biltong. Not to leave Boerbeskuit out of this sophistication. This is now where prejudice and bias may be playing a role but the rather lovely apple crumble just disappeared in the fog of time. Good as it was, with more apple than crumble, sticky inside and crumbly where needed, it simply is overshadowed by the vastly superior Malva Pudding. It came served with a much welcomed toffee syrup, not required yet just adding a touch of different taste. This elevated the already mouth-watering Malva Pudding into a league of its own.
As mentioned, the well-known Peacock’s Gourmet Coffee is served, in my book the second best coffee money can buy in South Africa. (The best is made by a personal friend who was trained by the old Mr Peacock!) Peacock’s is a coffee (and tea) brand that is as safe as houses. When you dine out and see the Peacock’s logo, rest assured: good coffee is on its way, from the bean to the cup.
As teetotalers, we did not make use of the excellent bar facility but I did notice that good beers, a selection of really good local wines as well as various cocktails are served.
There also is a take-away counter. This is for those who want to take their food to the beaches nearby, or at elsewhere.
Thank you so much for a most memorable feast at Harbourview Restaurant!