Harbour House Restaurant : Kalk Bay
Kalk Bay is one of the most popular of the seaside suburbs of Cape Town’s southern peninsula, and attracts both locals and visitors who fill its streets on weekends. This charming fishing village is not only a browsers paradise but has many restaurants and cafes offering food to suit a wide variety of palates and budgets. Some of these have enviable reputations, built over long periods of time, while others seem to come and go. The working fishing harbour may not seem to be the most salubrious of locations for fine dining but the Harbour House restaurant is hands down the best restaurant in Kalk Bay. The restaurant is perched on the rocks right next to the sea, and has large floor-to-ceiling windows to enable diners to enjoy lovely views across False Bay to Simonstown and to the Hottentots Holland mountains on the other side of the bay, or the waves crashing on the rocks below. During the spring months diners may, from the elevated dining room, be lucky enough to spot whales which migrate annually to our shore to mate and calf.
Lunch time diners get the best of the views, but enjoying dinner here has its own charm at any time of the year. The restaurant décor is light and airy with white painted chairs and white table linen all softly lit with many tiny down lighters. The lights of the restaurants ( 2 others below) are enough to spotlight the waves which may come crashing up as high as the windows like some sort of iridescent sparkler. If you book well before the time you may get a window table on request but it is a very popular restaurant.
We, a party of 3, enjoyed dinner on a cold and somewhat stormy spring evening recently and were lucky to book the last available table. I appreciated the honesty of the person taking the booking informing us that it would not be the best in the restaurant, but we were not unhappy with our seating. In the centre of the dining area was a open hearth with a cozy fire burning , keeping the chill at bay. Before even browsing the menu, one could not suppress a delightful sense of anticipation of a special night to come. The evening’s specials as well as the regular menu offered many tempting choices of seafood but we decided instead to take advantage of the set menu special which offered three courses for R 170 in order to enjoy a variety of the kitchens offerings. During the low season months the set menu changes each month and offers really good value for money. Best of all is that, unlike so many fine dining establishments, the portions are generous.
Two of us had the Steak Tartare; raw chopped beef fillet, drizzled with sauce Marie Rose; topped with a puree of parsley, caper and shallot and a fresh quail egg , served with garlic ciabatta croutons. Our daughter, who travels extensively, pronounced it better than anything that she had
enjoyed in Europe. My Asian wife eagerly ordered the soft shell crab; masala dusted and deep-fried, garnished with fresh green asparagus spears and served on a Russian potato salad and pronounced it delicious. For the mains, the ladies each had Trio of Venison ; medallions of Kudu, Ostrich and Springbok on an orange and honey jus, with a pretty layered tian of roasted butternut, creamed spinach and celeriac mash, garnished with white onion puree and strips of deep fried leeks. Both enjoyed the venison , but our daughter found one of the medallions to have a less pleasant aftertaste, and was disappointed that the waitron was not able to identify which meat was which nor get anyone from the kitchen to help.
I had the line fish which was so superb that I was filled with an amazing sense of fulfilment on eating it. Fresh Kob was served with potato Gnocchi and baby fennel; tiny kernels of sweet corn, green beans and oven roasted bella rosa tomatoes with a crispy dice of chorizo and black olive salsa. A grand finish was provided by a choice Italianate desserts; Panna Cotta in a berry soup or Tiramasu, served with red wine poached pear, unusual vanilla mascarpone ice cream garnished with coffee syrup.
Our service was good, but not up to the standard of either the food or the restaurant. Not being able to provide information on the dishes being served and being absent rather than discreet should not be expected. Although we lingered over dessert and the restaurant had pretty much emptied, we tried so long to get the attention of our waitron that we decided to forgo coffee in favour of settling the bill.
We recommend this great resaurant: If you want to enjoy creative fish and seafood served in a great scenic location pay a visit to the Harbour House restaurant in Kalk Bay soon.
By : Horizon Cottages- conveniently located for all Cape Town attractions.