Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Harbour House, Kalk Bay

Harbour House in Kalk Bay remains one of my favourite restaurants, anywhere. Despite its popularity it has maintained the quality of its food with rare disappointments. Its setting is spectacular, with views over the blue of False Bay to the east and and south, and the loveliest tables, on the part known as the upper deck, are beside floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors. These were open when we went, and iodine air wafted through the whole place. Occasionally a fine mist of spray would drift onto our skin from the breakers crashing onto the rocks beneath us.

We could not help thinking of the great whites cruising their False Bay stomping grounds, as a man had been taken just last week at Fish Hoek, the next beach up. It remains a rare occurrence, but it certainly makes an impression, and we saw few people in the water as we drove home later.

We could see the little harbour's breakwater from our table, packed with people fishing hopefully, and seals fishing rather more successfully, straight from their lines. Later, when we walked down there to see if there were fish for sale off the boats, the scene was less picturesque, with a lot of litter being discarded by the breakwater fisherpersons, despite the trash cans in plain sight, and much of it blowing into the quiet water beyond, through which a fat semi-trained seal swam. His unofficial minder throws fish entrails for him to put him through his paces, and then asks for payment for the show. It's quite a good one, but made me extremely conscious of the apparently obvious Tourist stamped on my forehead.

Below, I don't know this little girl, but she spent lunch behind her grandmother's chair, carefully unpacking , inspecting and sampling all her make-up.

My dad's oysters from Luderitz, in Namibia. One was bad (he sniffs them all) and was replaced immediately.

My favourite Greek salad, with the best feta in the country. My feta quest will continue.

Vince's tuna tartare, delicious despite the shape of the ring mould. I wish ring moulds would be abandoned - they're so...90's.

My mom had crayfish, which is what Cape people called spiny rock lobsters. It is usually very expensive and I think after our wonderful Paternoster kreef (the Afrikaans word for crayfish) last year, I find it hard to shell out the money in restaurants. They do not have the claws of their North Atlantic cousins, but the meat is arguably sweeter, and very delicious. The rest of us had kob (kabeljou, a white-fleshed line fish), and mussels. We ate too fast for pictures. All very well cooked and simple.

The de rigueur double espresso, with perfect crema. If you want a single, you must specify.


  1. Dear Marie,
    Found your blog recently via Ikaika and am visiting CT vicariously by reading this. Harbour House is also a favorite of mine when I get to visit CT from the USA. How horrible about the shark attack.

  2. Not a big oyster eater...what does a bad one smell like once sniffed?

    beautiful place

  3. And now I must add to my Africa list:coffee.

  4. Hi Pam - small world! Yes, the poor man...a terrible way to die, I would think. Considering how many sharks are in the bay it remains a rare occurrence. But you won't find me swimming in it.

    Frank - it's never happened to me, but father says, with authority, that they smell like cat shit. Yum.

    Yes, Ms Mow!

  5. Oh dear - I never smell my oysters prior to shovelling them down... but presumably I would catch the whiff of cat poo on the wind! (Note to self - sit downwind of plate when eating oysters!). Isn't SA style Greek salad one of the greatest pleasures of going home? Those decidedly un-chi-chi SLABS of feta just make my heart sing!


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