HARBOUR HOUSE: Fabulous seafood menu honed over a decade writes Bianca Coleman in this week’s edition of The Next 48hOURS.
On a beautiful sunny day, the upstairs deck at Harbour House V&A Waterfront is one of the most perfect spots in Cape Town to hang out with a glass of bubbles and some sushi.
Downstairs, which is more formal, is just as good; both offer lovely views over Victoria Basin and Quay Five and their constant boat traffic ferrying pleasure-seeking visitors in and out of the bay.
The restaurant – like its counterpart in Kalk Bay – has always been known for its sophisticated menu of fabulous seafood. “The heart of the menu has been honed over the past decade and although many of the most popular dishes have been tweaked, the core of the menu has stayed the same,” explains Grant Kennedy, executive chef for the Harbour House restaurants. “The limelight is always on fresh fish, of course, but around that we work hard to source great seasonal vegetables that we can incorporate onto the plate.”
A little while back, Harbour House V&A introduced a “small plates” menu, which we found out are anything but small.
Only these dishes and sushi are served up on the deck, but since that’s exactly why were there it wasn’t a problem. It happened to be one of those beautiful sunny days so nabbing a couch upon which to recline with said bubbles was just the thing for a long, lazy Friday lunch, catching up with a wonderful friend.
I love her dearly but we were not of like minds; she’d had sushi the previous day so said she’d rather just order the tapas. Still not a problem; I just didn’t understand why eating sushi two days in a row (or two meals in a row, for that matter) made a difference. Each to their own.
“Sushi has always been popular upstairs, but the new menu adds a more European flair to the offering, with a range of French-inspired small plates,” says Kennedy.
So Sam ordered the endive salad which pairs pears (sorry, couldn’t resist) with honey-candied walnuts, goat’s cheese, and crouton crumbs with a sherry vinegar dressing; crispy herbs with lemon and truffle aioli; and the frittura mista – more crispy prawns, calamari and fish with zucchini, herbs, lemon salt and aioli. Personally, I am not convinced truffle is the right thing for seafood, as its pungent flavour overpowers the delicate flavours of the fish. Other than that, however, the three so-called small plates made a more than adequate feast for Sam.
Me, I stuck to the sushi because I can eat it all day, every day. Salmon roses are a must on any platter, to which I added salmon rainbow rolls. Simple to be sure, but with a bottle of Pierre Jourdan Belle Rose, it could not have been better.
The wine list upstairs is not huge but perhaps if you ask nicely, they’ll show you the one from downstairs. To be truly glamourous, a classic cocktail is the way to go.
The excellent service must be noted; I’ve been to this restaurant several times and it’s been of a consistently high standard.
* Harbour House V&A Waterfront is on the ground floor of Quay Four (the name of the area, not just that restaurant) at the V&A Waterfront.
For reservations, call 021 418 4744/021 418 4748; send an email to email@example.com.
Open daily for lunch, 12m to 4pm; and dinner from 6pm to 10pm.