SEELAN: The destination spot that’s also a home for locals

SEELAN: The destination spot that’s also a home for locals

Mother City Fine Dining

By Bianca Coleman

Every now and then, Capetonians owe it to themselves to go somewhere that reminds them why our beautiful city is a top international tourist destination. The V&A Waterfront is one of those places.

Last week we had lunch at Seelan on a perfect so-called “winter” day; it was warm and sunny – much like the welcome by Papa Joe, who suggested we have a table outside to take advantage of the balmy conditions. From there we had a perfect view of quays four and five, as well as the majestic Cape Wheel, and Table Mountain.

We were treated like royalty, with chef patron Seeland Sundoo coming out to greet us himself, and were assured he would be ensuring the perfection of our meal. It’s easy to see from the menu that Seelan specialises in seafood dishes. “So you’d recommend one of those,” I said, putting words in his mouth. “What about steak?” He assured me those are very good too.

In addition to the main menu, which covers everything from seafood platters to salads and grills, there is a newly-launched lunch menu full of reasonably priced special offers. These include a seafood pizza with a glass of house wine for R120, a burger and beer, bunny chow, a chicken curry, and a soup of the day, among others. A children’s menu is priced at R55-R65.

It was from this menu that I ordered my starter – grilled calamari with chilli (just a hint), ginger, soya, citrus, and herb salad. My friend had the mussels from the standard menu – a very generous portion, prepared with chilli, ginger, coriander, coconut cream and sake. It was the winning dish of the day. Intuitively, no sooner had I suggested she ask for more bread to mop up the delicious sauce, the manager appeared at our side to offer it. “It’s what I would want,” he smiled.

Mussels can also be had in the more traditional and commonplace sauce of garlic, white wine and parsley, and are available in main portion size as well.

We both had steak for our main course. Mine was the 400g T-bone, and my friend had the fillet. Being a bland cut, she added béarnaise sauce. I had the restaurant’s Old Man sauce, which is creamy with mushrooms and a hint of mustard. Both meals were served with roasted vegetables, including potatoes; there are additional side dishes like fries or mixed salad, but I don’t think these are necessary since there is already plenty on the plate.

The service was attentive, and I thought it was very sweet of Papa Joe to place a napkin over the part of the table cloth where I had messed béarnaise sauce while tasting my friend’s dish.

“When I go overseas, I always eat where the locals eat: you get good value for money, good food, consistency and excellent service – you feel at home,” says Seelan. “That’s what I want to do here: create a destination spot that’s also a home for locals.”


* Seelan Restaurant and Bar is at Shop 8C, Quay 5, V & A Waterfront. Open daily 9am until 1pm.

Call 021 421 4906 for more information and for reservations.