Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Harbour House Restaurant Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay has a wonderful, bustling, working harbour and happily ensconced on a breakwater in the harbour is  Harbour House Restaurant.  There she sits, perched on the edge of the ocean, eyeing all the goings on.   In order to reach this lady of the bay, we made our way up some stairs and into a lovely place that seemed all light and white.

The interior of Harbour House Restaurant is divided into various rooms, terraces and cosy nooks.   Each space has a number and the tables in that area are numbered accordingly.  We sat in the 60's at a table number 61.  Our table was in a corner of a room with floor to ceiling windows.  Waves broke and crashed over the rocks below us and birds wheeled overhead.  I am told that whales can be seen at various time of the year, frolicking and blowing up plumes of spray, sadly not for us that day, but still a vista spectacular and breathtaking.

There is an understated, rather laid back elegance throughout this seaside eaterie.   The tables are dressed with white linen tablecloths, pristine cutlery and big shiny wine glasses eagerly waiting to be filled.   Slices of  homemade ciabatta in a wooden bowl accompanied by a plate with olive oil and balsamic vinegar ready prepared for dipping, was waiting for us at our table.   And oh the delight at the large, soft linen napkins!

A charming young waitress brought menus and described the specials.   We wanted everything.  We decided to order drinks and spend a while perusing the menu.   Eugene ordered a Peroni and I ordered a glass of Brampton Sauvignon Blanc.  The specials were displayed on two separate black boards, one for starters and another for main course choices.

I have come to the conclusion that ordering a meal from a tantalizing menu is an art form and takes a life time of practice.  We dithered and discussed, until finally Eugene decided to have two starters.  He chose 'Harbour House Fish Soup' as his first starter.  He totally adores fish soup and this offering sounded wonderful: " served with fresh line fish and mussels, cheese, croutons and sauce rouille."  Oh wow!  He opted for 'Masala dusted Calamari' as his main course.   I ordered a Tian of Prawns from the black board starter specials and the line fish of the day  as a main course.  It was described as "gurnard with orange beurre blanc, spinach, sage, potatoes and grilled artichokes."   Apart from Eugene's lovely choice of starters, one can also indulge oneself with Champagne Oysters, West Coast Mussels steamed in white wine, a Marinated Seafood Ceviche, or Beef Tataki with Chilli and Sesame.  

On the main course menu you can enjoy Mozambique Style Tiger Prawns, Grilled Crayfish or a fascinating seafood selection.  Dedicated meat eaters can enjoy a Grilled Fillet of Beef or a Rack of Lamb.  There is a menu page 'Salads and Light Meals.'  You can try interesting salads such as the Roasted Butternut and Feta Salad, the Greek Village Salad, a very fulsome House Salad or choose the Potato and Parmesan Gnocchi.   And of course a dessert menu to drive you to distraction......Dark Chocolate Terrine, Classic Creme Brulee, a New York Style Baked Cheese Cake and much more.

There is an air of quiet efficiency amongst the waiting staff.  I was told that they have a very intensive training programme and are required to write tests before they are allowed on the restaurant floor.  The result is a hassle free experience for patrons, no tension, no irritation!

We sipped our drinks and 'people watched' while we waited. Beautiful plates of food were carried past our table to be presented to equally beautiful people. We did not have long to wait for our food.  The first courses arrived looking absolutely splendid.   Eugene adored the fish soup.  It had echoes of a Provençal fish soup, our undying favourite.  The rouille was deliciously spicy and enhanced the dish perfectly.  My Tian of Prawns was a sight to behold.  The vibrant colours of  stacked avocado, eggplant and tomato dressed with oil, a sweet chilli jam and basil mayo provided a backdrop for three plump tempura prawns.  The combination of the tastes was seductive and I mopped up every last bit with the ciabatta. 

Eugene's main course was a triumph.   Lots of deliciously flavoured calamari rings and tentacles garnished with a basil oil and accompanied by a piquant caper sauce tartar.  He loved it.  My gurnard was delicate and unctuous and so fresh, it fairly leapt off the plate.  The food is simply and deliciously prepared to allow for the wonderful freshness of the ingredients. All the portions are very generous and one certainly does not leave Harbour House Restaurant hungry.  We had eaten our fill.

After lunch, we went exploring.   We wandered through the main floor of the restaurant.  It is spacious, airy and light.  Beautiful flower arrangements adorn the room providing a delicate counterpoint to the ruggedness of the sea and mountain views.   This part of the restaurant is often used for private functions.  An elegantly decorated lounge leads off the main floor.  Here one can sit and dream or order a drink from the bar, or enjoy a meal.   The view is an integral part of one's experience at Harbour House, like an extra guest at one's table.   We were intrigued by a lone table for two set up on one of the outside terraces.  This is table number 40 and is especially recommended for very romantic occasions.  A proposal, a wedding anniversary or even a liaison dangereuse; after all it is all very discreet!

There is a full bar at Harbour House with a well chosen wine list.  Exotic cocktails can be enjoyed as well as bubbles or champagne.   Lovely to sip something special and watch the sun set.    The winter view is equally stunning with grey skies, huge, angry seas and sea spray kissing the windows.  A log fire is lit in the centre of the restaurant and the menu reflects the change of season.  

Harbour House Restaurant is open for lunch and dinner every day except Christmas day.
Lunch from  12h00 -16h00
Dinner from 18h00 - 22h00

Address:  Kalk Bay Harbour, Kalk Bay
Tel:           021 788 4133
Fax:          021 788 4136
email:        harbourhouse@icon.co.za
website:    www.harbourhouse.co.za

Booking is Essential

Eugene and I love eating out and we always pay for ourselves whenever and wherever we go.

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